Tips For Buying Diamonds: External Diamond Blemishes

Diamonds often have external flaws that can be treated to preserve the life of your diamond.

When purchasing a diamond, it is important to know the various ways it can blemish. External diamond blemishes are typically less serious than their internal counterparts. However, some external blemishes can shorten the lifespan of your diamond if they are left untreated.


Scratches are surface lines that develop on the diamond as a result of daily wear. They can also be caused by the diamond coming into contact with other stones on your hand or in a jewelry box. Scratches do not impact the diamonds structure; therefore, scratches do not impact the diamond’s long-term durability. Diamond scratches can be polished away by your jeweler, but the diamond will have to be removed from its setting.


Nicks are characterized by the appearance of surface chips that develop along the diamond. In these areas, the parts of the diamond have been chipped away. Nicks are caused by abrasions that develop after long-term wear. They typically occur on the diamond’s girdle and in areas such as the facet junctions. Unlike scratches, nicks can weaken the diamond over time. Severe nicks may ultimately cause it to break. Small nicks can be treated through polishing and the creation of additional facets along the diamond.


Unpolished areas on the diamond’s surface are called naturals. When the diamond is being cut, unpolished areas are left near the girdle to help the manufacturer create a bigger carat size. Since naturals have always been present on your diamond, it poses no threat to its structure.


Small or tiny white dots that appear on a diamond are called pits. These white dots – or cavities, are holes in the diamond’s facet. If pits are visible, they will negatively affect your diamond’s grade. Shallow pits can often be polished away.


Clusters of fuzzy or white areas on or near a diamond’s facet junction are called abrasions. They cause diamonds to rub against one another if the stones are handled carelessly.  Abrasions are minor and can be polished away.