Twinning Wisps Inclusions, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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April 25

If the clarity characteristic "Twinning Wisps" appears on a diamond grading report, it indicates included inter-growth within the diamond crystal structure.

In that case, portions of the diamond crystal twist together to create a twinning plane. Consequently, the effect of inter-growth somewhat resembles cotton candy under 10x magnification.

Commonly, formations of twinning wisps contain various inclusions. For example, diamond crystals, feathers (minute fractures), and clouds of pinpoint size diamond crystals are common.

Twinning Wisps Diamond Inclusions Blue Nile GIA Excellent Cut.

Twinning Wisps Inclusions at 35X Blue Nile.

Diamond crystals within the inter-growth may appear light or dark, as shown in this Blue Nile diamond. Consequently, this photograph shows the diamond under 35x magnification.

How Do Twinning Wisps Look?

Blue Nile Side stone, Solitaire and Halo Settings.

Pick Your Favorite Blue Nile Setting.

At higher degrees of magnification, twinning wisps often look like white or black stripes. Twinning wisps might also look like streaks of cotton candy running throughout the diamond.

This type of inclusion is not necessarily good or bad. However, twinning wisps can make a diamond look cloudy if the concentration of the inclusions is dense.

With this in mind, I suggest carefully evaluating diamonds that contain these twisted crystal planes to determine whether they affect visual performance.

Of course, the inclusions are more apparent at 35x magnification in the photograph above than they'll seem in a ring.

Identifying Twinning Wisps on GIA Plotting Diagram:

Twinning Wisps Inclusions GIA Plotting Diagram.

Twinning Wisps on Blue Nile Plot.

Knowing whether a diamond contains twinning wisps is as easy as looking at the plotting diagram and key to symbols. Twinning wisp inclusions

This plotting diagram indicates the location of the twinning wisps inclusions using red squiggly lines. In this case, they extend outward from the center of the table facet towards the diamond's girdle edge.

The extent of the inter-growth is readily apparent in the clarity photograph above. Consequently, the diamond appears to be more heavily included than the plotting diagram implies.

In that case, the lab did not plot the full extent of the inclusions. However, the comment "additional twinning wisps are not shown" indicates their presence.

Locating Twinning Wisps on AGS Lab Report:

Twinning WispsAGS Report.

Twinning Wisps AGS DQD.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. So, focus on the plotting diagram for this James Allen True Hearts diamond.

The twinning wisps are the squiggly red lines you see traipsing across the middle of the plotting diagram. In this case, they're right in the middle of the table facet.

They also extend outwards towards the edges in the relative five and nine o'clock positions. Inter-growth is also visible within the crown facets, as shown on the plotting diagram.

There are also twinning wisps under the upper girdle facet in the two o'clock position. And under the kite-shaped bezel facet in the four o'clock region.

The Extent of Inter-growth Varies:

The plotting diagram above also reveals a twinning wisp under the bezel facet line and upper girdle facets at nine o'clock. The only non-twinning wisp inclusions are the crystals under the upper girdle facet in the 10 o'clock region.

Cushion Outline Halo Setting by James Allen.

Cushion Outline Halo by James Allen.

That might lead you to believe that this James Allen True Hearts diamond is heavily laden with twinning wisps. That is an accurate assessment from one perspective.

However, the question is whether that inter-growth is having an impact. The clarity characteristics are more evident, as shown here under 35X magnification.

However, your bride will be looking at the diamond set in a ring on her hand. Such as this cushion halo setting from James Allen, and the inclusions won't be as visible at arm's length.

What do Twinning Wisp Inclusions Look Like?

Knowing what twinning wisps look like will make it easier for you to see them. Here is a screenshot of the James Allen True Hearts diamond. The red arrows which I added to the image on the right identify the inter-growth within this diamond:

Twinning Wisps Inclusions.

In this case, the twinning wisps are rather ghost-like and not easy to see. In contrast, the inter-growth within other diamonds might be more visible.

Especially if the diamond crystals trapped within the twisted crystal planes are darker in color. Remember that inclusions within diamonds can be light or dark in color and tone.

Consequently, inclusions such as diamond crystals and twinning wisps often appear dark in clarity photographs. However, they might appear light or translucent when viewed through a 10x diamond grading loupe.

Are Twinning Wisps Light or Dark?

Solitaire Engagement Ring and Diamond Anniversary Band.

James Allen Engagement Rings.

The appearance of inclusions is subject to change depending on the position of the light source. In most cases, the light source is behind the diamond, so inclusions appear darker.

Consequently, back-lighting the diamond makes locating and identifying inclusions for grading purposes easier. However, it is similar to photographing somebody with the sun setting behind them.

Under those circumstances, the subject will appear dark unless the photographer uses a flash to illuminate their features. The same technique cannot be used with diamonds because it would produce sparkle.

In that case, it can be challenging to determine whether inclusions are light or dark. However, the dealer can loupe the diamond if it's in their physical possession.

Should I Buy a Diamond with Twinning Wisps?

Brian Gavin Signature Diamond

The Brian Gavin Signature diamond shown here contains twinning wisps. contains minor twinning wisps. It's an excellent example of acceptable inter-growth within a diamond.

Notice how minimal the twinning wisps appear in the 35x magnification clarity photograph. In that case, they'll be challenging to see at 10x and practically impossible with the naked eye.

Click on the link above to see the diamond grading report. Then, you will see that the inclusions are not extensive on the plotting diagram either.

SI-1 Clarity Diamond with Twinning Wisps:

Designer Engagement Rings from Brian Gavin.

Pick Your Favorite Style Brian Gavin.

The SI-1 clarity diamond above is at the higher end of the spectrum. Thus, it's a great example of a diamond with twinning wisps that I might buy myself.

Keep in mind that each diamond clarity grade represents a range or spectrum of inclusion. That means that some SI-1 clarity diamonds will look better or worse than others.

Some SI-1 clarity diamonds might be on the higher end of the spectrum towards VS-2 clarity. In contrast, other SI-1 clarity diamonds will be on the low end of the spectrum towards SI-2 clarity.

Other SI-1 clarity diamonds will be in the middle of the range and be textbook examples. The same principle applies to twinning wisps, and some will be more extensive and visible than others.

Video of Twinning Wisps Inclusions:

Video Twinning Wisps Inclusions.

Take the video for this Brian Gavin Signature diamond for a spin. Click your mouse's left button over the video frame. Then, hold it down while you drag the diamond left or right.

Twinning wisps within diamonds vary from stone to stone. Thus, the visibility differs depending on the depth and location within the diamond.

Therefore, it's helpful to have a video to examine the extent of the inclusions facet-to-facet. I also like looking at a diamond with twinning wisps under different light sources.

The Difference Lighting Makes:

Twinning Wisps Inclusions SI-1 Clarity Diamond.

HD Video Twinning Wisps BGD.

One of the reasons I like Brian Gavin Diamonds is that they provide videos under several different lighting types.

The initial video shows the diamond under standard diffused lighting. In contrast, the brilliance video shows the diamond under a brighter light source that enhances its brilliance.

The sparkle video is my favorite because it shows how the diamond dances and sparkles under brighter lighting. However, the speckled platform reflects up into the diamond and makes it seem more included.

In reality, you're only seeing reflections of the platform reflecting throughout the diamond. The diamond's sparkle factor is so spectacular; it reflects everything around it, including the speckled platform beneath it.

Should You Accept Twinning Wisp Inclusions?

Hand engraved milgrain vintage halo style engagement ring Blue Nile.

Vintage Style Halo Setting by Blue Nile.

I prefer that twinning wisps be transparent if present. Substantial twinning wisps with dark crystals are easier to see without magnification.

Larger clusters of twinning wisps might also affect the diamond's visual performance. I've seen instances where extensive twinning wisps make the diamond look cloudy or milky.

Other times, the twinning wisps are of no consequence and do not affect the diamond's visual properties. For example, when the twinning wisps contain translucent crystals instead of dark.

In that case, I might accept the diamond because twinning wisps have no impact. Under the right circumstances, such inter-growth can be challenging to see without magnification.

For example, the twinning wisps within the SI1 clarity diamond above are smaller and of no consequence. Read this tutorial on Diamond Clarity Characteristics to learn more about diamond inclusions.

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Let Us Evaluate the Inclusions:

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About the Author

Dive deep into the glittering world of diamonds with Todd Gray, the CEO of Gray Matter Development, LLC. Todd has 35+ years of experience as a diamond buyer and trade consultant. He ghostwrites content for several online vendors and is an avid Freediver, currently exploring the Cenotes of Yucatan, Mexico. Dive into brilliance with Todd Gray!