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Inclusions are an important consideration in finding the right diamond.
Unless you’re opting for a rare flawless diamond, you’ll have to decide which types of inclusions are in or on your diamond and how much they’ll impact its appearance and light performance.
One type of inclusion present in many diamonds is a pinpoint.
These internal crystals are often invisible to the naked eye but can still affect a diamond’s overall quality.
Let’s explore more about pinpoint inclusions, including how they’re shown on grading reports, their influence on a diamond’s price, if they can be removed, and how they compare to other inclusions.
What is a Pinpoint Inclusion in a Diamond?
A pinpoint inclusion in a diamond is a small black or white crystal that appears as a dot under 10x magnification. It’s one of the most common inclusions, but it rarely has a significant impact on the diamond unless several are clustered together.
When several pinpoints are near each other, the group is called a cloud inclusion.
Inclusions can prevent light from properly entering and exiting a diamond, but the size and color of most pinpoints don’t diminish its light performance.
Many diamond buyers are also concerned about how inclusions affect durability. Internal and external imperfections in a diamond can pose risk for further damage, but embedded pinpoints are the least likely to cause structural issues.
Pinpoints on Diamond Grading Reports
The GIA, AGS, and other diamond certifying organizations grade diamonds so buyers can know its quality across many areas including cut, color, carat, and clarity. Pinpoint inclusions are part of the clarity category and recognized on the report’s clarity characteristics plot.
For example, let’s view the GIA report for this one-carat diamond from Blue Nile. It’s graded a VVS1 clarity, so although it earned a high grade for having minimal inclusions, it does feature a few small ones.
The grading report shows three instances of pinpoints scattered across the diamond, though mainly near the girdle.
There are so few pinpoints, and each one is small, that they’re barely noticeable on the report.
The clarity plot, combined with the high-resolution photo of the diamond, gives the buyer confidence these pinpoints will have no noticeable impact on its appearance or brilliance.
This is especially true because there are no clusters of pinpoints showing on the report.
In other cases, the pinpoints are so negligible they won’t appear on the clarity plot. Instead, the grader will write a comment in the “Additional Grading Information” section that reads “Pinpoints not shown.”
Even if pinpoints don’t appear on the clarity plot or in the comments section, there could still be pinpoints in the diamond. In many cases, a cloud inclusion is made up of multiple pinpoints clustered together, so the plot may be labeled with this type of inclusion.
How do Pinpoints Affect Price?
The presence of inclusions in a diamond affect its price, but the extent of this impact is dependent on the type, size, and number of inclusions.
Individual pinpoint inclusions have a lesser impact on price compared to other types of inclusions.
The best way to understand how much you can save buying a diamond with pinpoints versus one without is to compare the prices of flawless (FL) and internally flawless (IF) diamonds to ones with pinpoints, where all other qualities are equal.
For example, this 1.5-carat diamond is internally flawless and costs $21,128.
This diamond has all the same color, cut, and carat but is flawless. Its price is $17,715.
This diamond has those same qualities, except its graded VVS1 clarity because of several pinpoint inclusions scattered throughout it. Its price is $15,872.
This comparison shows the presence of pinpoint inclusions can lower the price of a diamond from 10-35 percent, depending on how many pinpoints there are and how they impact its overall appeal.
The differences in price would be even more pronounced as you compare FL and IF diamonds with ones that feature several types of inclusions, including individual pinpoints and clusters that form clouds.
Can Pinpoints be Removed?
Diamond manufacturers choose not to removed pinpoint inclusions because they have minimal impact on the diamond’s overall appearance and light return.
They’re the inclusion that has the least impact on the diamond, so any attempt to remove them would likely do more damage than it’s worth.
One common way to improve the clarity of a diamond is through laser drilling holes to improve the appearance of inclusions or remove them.
While this may enhance the appearance of a diamond with significant, noticeable inclusions, this method would diminish the overall quality if done only to remove a pinpoint.
Additionally, many clarity-enhancement methods focus on removing dark inclusions, and because most pinpoints are white, this also makes it unnecessary.
How do Pinpoints Compare to Other Inclusions?
If you’re considering a diamond to purchase, pinpoints likely aren’t the only type of inclusion that will be present.
Those inclusions are a distinct type of flaw compared to pinpoints, but others have a closer relationship.
For example, twinning wisps are formed by a string or series of pinpoints or clouds.
Although twinning wisps are its own type of inclusion, it features pinpoints. So if you’re reading a diamond’s report, and the clarity plot includes twinning wisps, that could be a sign pinpoints are present.
Crystals are another common inclusion. It’s a mineral lodged inside the diamond that can be colorless, red, green, or black. They’re close relatives to pinpoints because both are small crystals.
In the case of a white or black crystal only visible through magnification, it may be labeled a pinpoint.
Cloud inclusions are generally three or more pinpoints close together.
When separated from each other, pinpoints are nearly invisible, but when they’re knit closely together, it can create a hazy or milky appearance. This can result in poor light performance because it prevents the diamond from transmitting the full amount of light it collects.
Should You Buy a Diamond with Pinpoint Inclusions?
You shouldn’t discard a diamond because it has inclusions. Almost every diamond on the market has them, and they’re the inclusion that has the least impact.
It’s helpful to review the grading report to know where they’re located and whether they form larger inclusions such as twinning wisps or clouds, but if there are a few individual ones throughout the diamond, it can still be the right purchase.
You should instead focus your attention on other characteristics of a diamond, such as its carat, cut, and color and then determine if the other types of inclusions would negatively impact its value too much.
By understanding pinpoints and other inclusions as you begin your search, you’ll know how to factor these qualities into your final purchasing decision.