The term "Twinning Wisps” on a diamond grading report indicates the presence of inter-growth within the diamond crystal.
The clarity characteristic twinning wisp means that portions of the diamond crystal have twisted together within a twinning plane.
A formation of twinning wisps within a diamond usually contains various inclusions, such as diamond crystals, feathers (minute fractures), and clouds of pinpoint size diamond crystals.
The diamond crystals trapped within the inter-growth may be light or dark in color, as shown in this photograph at 35X magnification courtesy of Blue Nile.
How Do They Look?
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:
The twinning wisps inclusions are indicated on the GIA diamond grading report's plotting diagram by the red squiggly lines extending 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. As a matter of fact, the diamond appears to be more heavily included than indicated on the plotting diagram.
In that case, the lab did not attempt to plot the full extent of the inclusions. However, they did indicate that additional twinning wisps are not shown under the comments section.
Locating Twinning Wisps on AGS Lab Report:
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, right? With that in mind, focus your attention on the plotting diagram for this 1.198 carat, G-color, SI-1 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond.
The squiggly red lines you see traipsing across the middle of the plotting diagram are the twinning wisps. Yes, those red lines, right in the middle of the table facet, extend outwards towards the edges in the relative five and nine o'clock positions.
As a matter of fact, there is more inter-growth within the crown facets in the plotting diagram above. 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:
Also, another twinning wisp crosses under the facet line for the bezel and upper girdle facets in the nine o'clock region. The only inclusions within this diamond that are not twinning wisps are the diamond crystals under the upper girdle facet in the 10 o'clock area.
All of which might lead you to believe that this James Allen True Hearts diamond is heavily laden with twinning wisps. I suppose that is an accurate statement from one perspective. However, the question is whether that inter-growth is having an impact.
Obviously, the clarity characteristics are going to be more evident under 35X magnification. However, your bride will be looking at the diamond in a ring on her hand. For example, she might like this cushion halo setting from James Allen.
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 1.198 carat, G-color, SI-1 clarity, James Allen True Hearts diamond. The red arrows which I added to the image on the right identifies the inter-growth within this diamond:
The twinning wisps within this diamond are rather ghost-like and are not that easy to see. While 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.
Inclusions within diamonds can be light or dark in color and tone. Diamond inclusions such as diamond crystals and twinning wisps can often appear dark in a clarity photograph. Whereas they might appear light or translucent when viewed through a 10x diamond grading loupe.
Are Twinning Wisps Light or Dark?
The inclusions within diamonds can appear darker in diamond clarity photographs because they are backlit so that the inclusions' location and extent can be identified.
This is a lot like taking a photograph of somebody with the sun setting behind them. In that case, the photograph's subject will appear dark unless a flash is used to provide a light source from the other side.
The problem is that this usually makes it difficult to see the inclusions within the diamond because of all the sparkle that it creates. It can be challenging to ascertain whether the inclusions within a diamond are light or dark in appearance.
Thus, I generally only consider diamonds containing twinning wisps from diamond dealers who carry physical inventory. Consequently, all it takes is a phone call to get them to walk over to the vault, pull the diamond and take a real good look at it for me.
Should I Buy a Diamond with Twinning Wisps?
This 1.092 carat, E-color, SI-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature diamond contains twinning wisps. This is an excellent example of the type of inter-growth within a diamond that is acceptable.
If you look at the clarity photograph to the left, you will see that the twinning wisps are minimal and difficult to see.
Click on the link above to see the diamond grading report, and you will see that the inclusions are not extensive on the plotting diagram.
SI-1 Clarity Diamond with Twinning Wisps:
Long story short, the SI-1 clarity diamond above is at the higher end of the spectrum. Thus, it's a great example of the type of SI-1 clarity diamond with twinning wisps that I would buy myself.
Keep in mind that each diamond clarity grade represents a range or spectrum of inclusion. This means that some SI-1 clarity diamonds are going to look better or worse than others.
Some SI-1 clarity diamonds will be on the higher end of the spectrum towards VS-2 clarity. While 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 right in the middle of the range and are textbook SI-1 clarity diamonds. The same principle applies to twinning wisps within diamonds. Some will be more extensive and visible than others, but you can trust Brian Gavin to give a fair assessment.
Video of Twinning Wisps Inclusions:
Be sure to take the video for this 1.092 carat, E-color, SI-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature diamond for a spin. Click down your mouse's left button over the video frame and hold it down while you drag the diamond left or right.
Twinning wisps within diamonds vary from stone to stone, and the visibility will differ depending on the depth and location within the diamond.
Thus, I find it helpful to have a video to examine the extent of the inclusions facet-to-facet. I also like being able to look at a diamond with twinning wisps under different light sources.
The Difference Lighting Makes:
One of the reasons why I like Brian Gavin Diamonds is because they provide videos of the diamonds as seen under several different lighting types
The initial video shows the diamond under standard diffused lighting. While the brilliance video shows the diamond under a brighter light source, it enhances its brilliance.
The sparkle video is my favorite because it shows how the diamond will dance and sparkle under more luminous light sources. One thing to keep in mind is that the speckled platform reflects up into the diamond and makes it seem more included.
When in reality, you're only seeing reflections of the platform reflecting throughout the diamond. The diamond's sparkle factor is so spectacular that it reflects everything around it, including the speckled platform which sits beneath it.
Should You Buy Diamonds with Twinning Wisp Inclusions:
My personal preference for diamonds containing twinning wisps is that they are more transparent in appearance. Larger formations of twinning wisps with diamond crystals that are dark in appearance might be easier to see without magnification.
It's also worth mentioning that larger clusters of twinning wisps might affect the diamond's visual performance. I've seen instances where twinning wisps within diamonds make the diamond appear to be cloudy or milky.
While there have been other times when the twinning wisps have been of no consequence and not had any effect on the diamond's visual properties.
In my experience, the presence of twinning wisps containing diamond crystals that are primarily translucent does not affect the diamond's visual performance.
In that case, I might not reject the diamond solely because it contains twinning wisps. Under the right circumstances, such inter-growth can be challenging to see without magnification.
In that event, the twinning wisps within that SI-1 clarity diamond are smaller in nature and appear to be of no consequence. Read this tutorial on Diamond Clarity Characteristics to discover more about diamond inclusions.
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