Home » Diamonds » What to Know About a Bearded Girdle on a Diamond

What to Know About a Bearded Girdle on a Diamond

We’re reader-supported. Posts may contain links that provide a commission at no cost to you. Learn how we make money.

Bearded Girdle in a Diamond

Diamond inclusions are a key consideration in choosing the right diamond for you.

They often impact its clarity, brilliance, and structure, so it’s important to know the details of each type of inclusion and how it affects a diamond’s overall quality and price.

One example is a bearded girdle, which is sometimes only visible through a microscope but in other cases can be seen with the naked eye.

In this article, you’ll learn all about bearded girdle inclusions, including how they impact a diamond’s performance, if they can be removed, and how they compare to other types of inclusions.

What is a Bearded Girdle on a Diamond?

Bearded girdles on diamonds are hair-like, fuzzy white lines that begin on the surface and penetrate into the diamond. These feathers extend from the girdle around the stone. It’s most often caused during the polishing and cutting process, where too much pressure is applied on the diamond.

There are fewer bearded diamonds on the market today because cutting technology has improved. It relies less on manual operation of the cutting machine and more on automated processes, so mistakes that result in bearding happen less often.

In rare cases, they can appear after years of wear and tear, but the majority of bearded girdles, also called girdle fringes, are formed when the cutting goes awry.

How Do Bearded Girdles Affect a Diamond?

The reason inclusions reduce the quality of a diamond is they have the potential to influence its appearance, durability, and brilliance, and this is true of bearded girdles.

In severe cases, they can be seen with the naked, meaning it won’t be considered eye-clean. If a diamond has a very thick or extremely thick girdle, the bearding may be more noticeable. This is a dealbreaker for many buyers who are only accepting of inclusions that require magnification to be seen.

Engagement Ring

Additionally, any inclusion that leaves the diamond susceptible to further damage is problematic. If the bearded girdle results in large feathers extending into the stone, it can hurt the overall structure. Were hit to be hit against a hard surface or dropped, it’s vulnerable to chipping.

This is especially true if the diamond has an extremely thin or very thin girdle.

Brilliance is less of an issue with bearded girdles. Although all inclusions can limit the light performance of a diamond, bearded girdles won’t diminish brilliance in the same way as other inclusions or a poor cut.

Bearded Girdles on Grading Reports

Retailers often have their diamonds graded by reliable organizations such as the AGS or GIA, who are known for consistent standards accepted by most in the industry. As a consumer buying a high-value diamond, you should always choose one that’s been certified by a credible institution.

They provide grading reports that judge the diamond on a number of characteristics, including its fluorescence, color, carat weight, and more. You can often learn whether a diamond has a bearded girdle in the comments of the “Additional Grading Information” section.

Comments on GIA Report

If the diamond has a bearded girdle, the phrase “bearding” will likely appear in this section.

Most other types of inclusions are plotted on the clarity characteristics plot of a grading report, but bearded girdles aren’t an inclusion in this traditional sense. It’s often considered an aspect of the diamond’s polishing, so it’s noted elsewhere on the report, apart from other inclusions.

Can They be Removed?

The decision about removing bearding from a diamond balances concerns related to clarity and carat weight. Diamonds with more carat weight sell for a higher price, so manufacturers are hesitant to remove part of the diamond, even if it’s to remove inclusions.

In the case of bearded girdles, they can be removed, but it requires recutting the diamond. Minor amounts of bearding cause few issues with the diamond’s performance, so it’s left there.

Heavier amounts of bearding that can be seen with the naked eye are often removed by additional polishing or re-cutting the diamond. This lowers the final selling price of the diamond because of the lower carat weight but results in an eye-clean diamond that won’t turn away as many buyers.

Does a Bearded Girdle Impact Price?

Any time an inclusion is present in a diamond, it lowers its price, and this is true of bearded girdles.

There isn’t an exact amount the price of a diamond drops because of a bearded girdle. 

Instead, the seller takes into account how much it impacts the appearance, durability, and brilliance.

For example, a flawless one-carat diamond, with no inclusions or bearding, can sell from $10,000-$20,000, depending on its exact color and cut grade. The presence of even a few small inclusions, giving it a VVS1 grade, drops that range from $6,000-$10,000.

That’s a price decrease of up to 70 percent on the basis of inclusions. For diamonds with even more inclusions, graded SI1, they can sell for $4,000-$6,000.

Diamond with Inclusions

If a diamond has bearding and no other flaws, the difference between its price and a flawless diamond would likely be closer to 10-20 percent, but this situation is unusual. A diamond with a bearded girdle likely contains other inclusions, which would further reduce the price.

How do Bearded Girdles Compare to Other Diamond Inclusions?

Bearded girdles aren’t as common compared to other diamond inclusions, and they have less of an impact on its overall quality and performance. The most significant downside with bearding is the potential for it to be seen with the naked eye, so if it’s only visible with magnification, it likely won’t cause problems.

Cavity

Other diamond inclusions do affect a diamond’s appearance, and these are ones you should avoid.

For example, dark crystals can get lodged inside the diamond during its formation and are often visible to the naked eye. Cavity inclusions are susceptible to larger breaks over time or can fill with dirt and grime.

These inclusions diminish the aesthetic of a diamond and may result in large parts of it breaking off, so they lower its value more compared to a minor inclusion such as bearding.

Should You Buy a Bearded Diamond?

Bearded Girdle Infographic

A diamond with a bearded girdle can still be the right purchase because it’s an inclusion that has minimal influence on its long-term durability, appearance, and light performance.

Retailers sell few bearded diamonds because the inclusion isn’t as common, but if you do come across one, you should keep it in consideration.

Examine it in-person or through high-resolution photos online to learn if it’s still eye-clean.

Take into account the diamond’s clarity and polish grade. If its polish is graded “very good” and the clarity is an SI1 or above, you shouldn’t worry about the impact of a bearded girdle. 

There may be instances where it causes problems with girdles at each end of the thickness spectrum, but by purchasing a certified diamond from a trusted retailer, you can be confident in its quality.

Devon Tyler

Devon Tyler

Devon Tyler is the founder of TeachJewelry.com.

He earned an Applied Jewelry Professional Diploma from the Gemological Institute of America and now brings you essential information about diamonds, settings, and more.

Devon has consulted with leading jewelry brands, and his work has been cited in Diamond Nexus and other industry publications.

He's also a member of the International Gem Society.

Devon enjoys discussing jewelry with readers, so contact him with any questions at tyler.devon@teachjewelry.com.

Learn More About Devon