Exterior Diamond Flaws
Most diamonds are not quite perfect. They have some kind of imperfection. Flaws that are on the surface of the stone are known as exterior flaws.
Scratches are very fine lines found on the exterior of the stone. They are typically present during the diamond’s formation or caused during the process of cutting the diamond. Minor scratches can actually be removed through a thorough polish by professionals.
A blemish is a discoloration or other flaw on the surface of the diamond. These too may occur naturally, but are more likely caused during the process of cutting and polishing a diamond.
Extra facets are cuts made in the diamond because of a blemish. When the diamond is cut to remove a blemish, it creates an extra facet. This affects the shine of the diamond because the extra facet obstructs the light which is able to enter the other facets. Skilled diamond cutters sometimes add facets to amplify the shine of the diamond.
A break or chip in a diamond which is not parallel to the cleavage plane is called a breakage or a fracture.
Fingerprints are actually little networks of liquid-filled tubes that appear as human fingerprints. They are much more common on other stones, like rubies, than they are on diamonds. Fingerprints are formed when a stone re-crystallizes in order to heal a fracture.
Small holes, which appear to look like pits, are sometimes present on the diamond’s surface. It is rare for pits to be visible to the naked eye, but if pits are on the table facet of a diamond, they may reduce the diamond’s clarity.
During the cutting and polishing process, diamonds can get chipped, making tiny nicks visible in the stone. The chipping process can be a necessary component of adding more facets, but jewelers should avoid adding too many facets because the chips and nicks will reduce the brilliance of the diamond.
Naturals refer to an original surface of the diamond which has not been cut or polished and is deliberately left as it is. Experienced diamond cutters retain naturals in order to keep as much natural weight of the diamond as possible. Naturals are usually left on only at the girdle of the diamond. If left in the proper place, the natural is not even visible.
Diamonds are made from carbon. When a diamond is being formed, the crystallize may be incomplete, which causes small dots of black carbon. If the black spots are too big they will be visible and affect the clarity of the diamond.
The breaking off of a small piece of diamond towards the surface is called chipping. This should not be confused with diamond chips, which refers to tiny slivers of diamonds. Minor environmental impacts, such as downward impacts caused when a stone is being set or is being worn, may cause chips on the diamond. Since chips are caused usually when the diamond is worn, it is suggested that a little space be left between the base of the diamond and the head of the prongs of the ring. This creates a cushion that will protect the diamond from potential chipping. Larger chips are known as cavities.
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