If you hold a gemstone in your hand, it’s sparkling beauty and depth are entrancing. Put one under magnification? Well, that’s a whole new dimension of awe as inner crevices, inclusions and minerals dance to life. Gemstone inclusions are just one more way that nature shows us that beauty is often hidden within. But what exactly are gemstone inclusions?
Gemstone inclusions are crystal, gas or liquid particles or fractures inside a gemstone. How do they get there? These smaller minerals grow inside of the gemstone over time. Let's elaborate:
Imagine stumbling on a location that’s home to a plethora of diamonds. We're talking miles upon miles of glittering diamonds in one area. Let's also say that the region is in West Africa.
Here you are in the heart of thousands of diamonds, and you notice something else thriving: palm bushes. These plants are Pandanus candelabrum, and they grow in parts of the world where diamonds abound.
What connects diamonds to this exotic plant? Let’s find out!
Pandanus candelabrum plants grow in soil that contains high levels of kimberlite, an igneous rock that grows diamonds.
At some point, diamonds begin forming in the soil beneath these Pandanus candelabrum plants. How? Pieces of the palm leaves fall off of the main stalk and become embedded in the soil.
As diamonds form, these traces of palm leaves get trapped inside the material. As the precious diamond molds and takes shape, speckles of Pandanus candelabrum leaves are visible. See where we are heading with this?
Essentially: diamonds are the gemstone and the Pandanus candelabrum particles are the inclusions.
The definition of a gemstone inclusion is quite simple. Still, the more you learn about gemstone inclusions, the more complex things get and more questions arise including:
Why are gemstone inclusions important?
How can you tell what material a gemstone inclusion is?
The answers to these questions are also trapped beneath the surface, so let’s dive in!
Gemstone inclusions are fascinating, but they serve an important purpose: revealing where gemstones originated--like the example we illustrated--and important information about the various types of gemstones that exist.
Inclusions are one of the most decisive factors for valuing a gemstone. A gemstone valuation calculates the value of a gemstone. How is this process enacted? Gemologists examine several factors, including clarity, cut, weight and more. Let's explore valuation in greater depth.
A decent part of a gemstone valuation will depend on how well you can see through a gem under bright lighting. Some gemstone inclusions won’t lower the value of a gem, while others will decrease the value. Why? Because inclusions can either make or break the value of a gem. Inclusions increase the value of well-cherished gemstones like sapphires.
That’s because a sapphire’s inclusions make the gem unique. The opposite is true with gemstones that are less rare and as a result, less valuable.
Let’s circle back to diamonds, which are one of the most common gemstones in the world. While most diamonds maintain an expensive price point, there’s also no shortage of affordable diamonds. What makes the difference?
An emerald cut diamond with a gemstone inclusion will have a lower value than a round brilliant diamond. Emerald cut diamonds are budget-friendly diamonds, while heart-shaped cuts and round brilliant diamonds fall on the high-end scale. This ultimately means that a diamond’s cut will dictate its value, among other factors.
When a gemstone is less expensive to begin with, a gemstone inclusion will cause the value of the gemstone to drop. In contrast, gems that are already expensive will become even pricier if the gemstone contains inclusions that add to the novelty and beauty of the gem.
So, how do you identify the specific cut of a gemstone? And how do you figure out whether a gemstone inclusion increases the value or lowers it?
The good news is that you don’t have to be a gemstone expert to identify cuts. All you need is a little magnification and you’re on your way!
With the help of a magnifying lens, you can see details that the naked eye cannot view. You’re able to tap into the fascinating world of gemstone inclusions. Here are some tips for distinguishing gemstone inclusions:
Use a dark-field microscopic lens, which has lighting that will enable you to see even the slightest and most minuscule gemstone inclusions.
A microscope will help you uncover the cut of your particular gemstone, but the most beneficial aspect of using a microscope is that you can fully grasp the size of the gemstone inclusion.
Once you have an idea of how much space an inclusion occupies, you can determine the value of the gemstone.
Our number one tip when evaluating gemstones is to take your time. Even the most skilled researchers make mistakes, so it is natural to miscalculate the size of an inclusion.
Consider the gemstone: Do they have a crystal structure or non-crystalline structure? Crystal inclusions can help you classify that the gemstone is garnet. Yet, if there are bubbles present in the inclusion, you’ll discern that this gemstone is fake.
As you’ve gathered, gemstone inclusions are helpful for valuing gemstones. The information researchers garner from gemstone inclusions determines the unique story of each gemstone. We can gather what a gemstone has experienced and where it came from by looking at inclusions.
On the most basic level, gemstone inclusions are fascinating to look at, but they also reveal the history of gemstones, which is truly invaluable.
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