The indented natural is a mysterious name among diamond clarity characteristics you would encounter when checking a grading report. You would be curious how it formed, differs from similar imperfections, and, most importantly, how it impacts a diamond's beauty and price.
Never mind, we will explain in detail with images. We'll also give you tips about buying a diamond with indented naturals, plus tricks to save money. Let's dive in!
What is the indented natural in a diamond?
Before a diamond was cut and polished to the finished gem, it was a raw material with a rough, hazy and at least not-completely-transparent surface.
The existence of indented naturals in a diamond is the result of balancing between maintaining the best possible proportions and clarity and acquiring maximum carat weight by diamond cutters.
Simply put, they are one type of inclusion and are parts of the original rough stone's surface that dip below the surface of the finished, polished diamond.🔍 They are marked with red and green angular lines in the plot of grading reports, as shown below.
Indented naturals are usually found at the girdle, attributing to the fact that a polished diamond is cut from an octahedral rough stone with a pursuit of maximum weight and size, in which case assigning the rough surface over the planned girdle is the only possible means. They could either entirely or partially cover the girdle thickness. In some cases, they could creep slightly into the crown or pavilion.💡
How do they impact a diamond's beauty and price?
When observed from above, indented naturals might look white or a little foggy, or you cannot even spot them, depending on their location and size. But another crucial impact indented naturals have on a diamond is roundness and symmetry, not just the color.
Diamonds are sold per carat weight, so cutters may sometimes sacrifice the aesthetic appeal in exchange for weight retention. Sizable indented naturals would induce the tuning down of the stone's roundness and associated symmetries. Furthermore, a deep indented natural would not only be more noticeable but cause durability issues for the diamond.
You should also be aware that indented naturals are prone to collect dirt and oil, turning these inclusions dark or gray and partly interfering with the light play. That is to say, indented naturals can impact a diamond's beauty both directly and indirectly.
You would wonder how these inclusions affect the price of a diamond. Well, it's impractical to find and compare two diamonds with all the same qualities except for the absence or presence of indented naturals.
⚠️In most cases, they are not evident and not the determining factor for the diamond's overall clarity grade and final price. Other clarity characteristics close to the table facet will otherwise capture most of your attention as they would generally play a more prominent role in these aspects.
Indented Natural vs. Similar characteristics
Natural, chip and cavity are similar characteristics to the indented natural. All of them have many similarities in their appearance, but their impacts on a diamond differ.
Indented natural vs. Natural
The primary difference between them is that the indented natural is an inclusion while the natural is a blemish which refers to the surface of the original rough stone left on the surface of the finished, polished stone.
Naturals could also have growth patterns on them. You can find naturals on possibly any location of a diamond, but the girdle and the area around the girdle but close to the pavilion are the two most common places. Sometimes, naturals can appear in pairs on opposite sides of the stone.
Naturals have less tendency to collect dirt and oil and lead to durability risks as indented naturals.
Indented natural vs. Chip
Chips are small and shallow openings on the surface of a diamond. They are formed on a finished, polished stone and result from daily wear and tear and accidental knocks, especially against the weak cleavage planes of the stone.
Since chips result from breaking off tiny portions of a diamond crystal, they tend to have a clearer surface with more pronounced ridges and canyons than indented naturals. Without proper care, the chipped crystal planes would suffer further damage.
Unlike indented naturals, chips can also be found near the culet or junctions between facets besides the girdle. Try your best to avoid those located near the girdle.
Indented natural vs. Cavity
Cavities are openings that larger and deeper than the chips just discussed. They are created when crystal inclusions get dislodged during the polishing process, or part of feather inclusions get damaged, leaving the angular openings. In contrast, intended naturals are created intentionally by diamond cutters to gain the maximum potential weight.🌟
Cavities are easy to accumulate dirt and oil as well. You should be careful about the maintenance of cavities since they are very fragile.
Can they be fixed or removed?
It's absolutely feasible to fix or remove indented naturals on a diamond by recutting the gem. However, most diamond cutters would rather retain them skillfully for the sake of higher weight only if they do not result in severe off-shape and asymmetry to the stone.
The removal of indented naturals means a decrease in the carat weight. 👉🏻Even a slight reduction in weight could induce a dramatic price drop, especially when the carat weight is around the magic digits like 1 carat and 2 carats. This circumstance explains why the price of a diamond without indented naturals and even with a higher clarity grade cannot complete that of a diamond of several points (100 points = 1 carat) heavier but with non-ideal clarity.
Believe it or not, indented naturals that dip only the lower part of the girdle and close to the pavilion are simply unnecessary to remove, as you can hardly figure them out from above, even under magnification.
Buying a diamond with indented naturals
Don't feel upset to own a diamond with indented naturals.
We all try to inspect every single clarity characteristic to confirm that the overall clarity aligns with the desired grade. But if your budget is not at the top of your concerns, you can definitely upgrade the clarity grade to ensure what you get is a more perfect diamond. However, most of us are average buyers, and I recommend putting "eye-clean or not" as our eventual criterion to evaluate the clarity of the stone.👍🏻
Certain settings innately pair well with these diamonds. Suppose the indented naturals are a bit noticeable (e.g. creeping slightly into the crown), and you are in favor of the vintage appeal of bezel settings. In that case, you can protect these stones from potential damage and collection of dirt and oil through the setting's metal strip wrapping around the edge of the stone. Worry about the hindering of too much metal to the light into the stone? Semi-bezel settings are a great alternative to hide indented naturals on demand while protecting the girdle, allowing more light for better light play.
Likewise, some solitaire prong settings are ideal for hiding indented naturals, except those with thin prongs such as pointed or claw prongs.
By consideration with the setting for these diamonds, the impact of indented naturals could be small, and you are able to have more room to balance the clarity issue and then save money.🤘🏻🎸