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Welcome to our extensive antique jewelry glossary with around 1,500 jewelry related entries.If you feel you are missing an explanation, feel free to let us know and we will add it.
An internal fault or imperfection in a gemstone, as distinguished from a blemish, which is a marring of the surface. Flaws may be due to the inclusion of a foreign material, to a small crack or cleavage, or to a liquid-filled cavity.
A flaw usually detracts from the value of a gemstone (especially in a diamond), but less so in a emerald which is almost invariably has some minute inclusion. In some stones a technical flaw does not detract but adds to the character of the stone, e.g. the inclusions that cause the asterism in a ruby or sapphire, the dendritic inclusions in a moss agate, and the structure of an opal.
A stone is said to be 'clean' or 'flawless' if no flaws are noticeable under a jeweller's lens that magnifies ten times (or 'VVSI' if 'very very slightly imperfect'). Some flaws can be concealed by the manner in which the stone is set.
From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson