What Is Surface Graining On A Diamond?

by Ultimate Jewelry Guide
What Is Surface Graining On A Diamond?

Diamonds are one of the most popular gemstones in the world. They come in various colors but are typically white, yellow, or brown. To determine whether or not a diamond is of good quality, jewelers will inspect it for surface graining.

But what is surface graining on a diamond? This is a question that many people have but don’t know where to find the answer. This blog post will discuss what surface graining is and how it affects diamonds. Stay tuned for more information!

What Is Surface Graining?

Surface graining on a diamond is like the wood grain on your kitchen table. Wood grains are visibly noticeable and can be felt by touch. The same goes for surface graining on a diamond; it’s a natural occurrence that adds character to every stone. Grains can only be seen under high magnification with specific lighting. Because of their small size, they are not visible to the naked eye.

How Does Surface Graining Occur?

Surface graining typically occurs as a diamond grows and develops in the earth. During this time, the grain boundaries form and are essentially the boundaries between the crystal lattices. Sometimes, these grain boundaries are visible to the naked eye and can be seen as cloudy or hazy on the diamond’s surface.

What Causes Surface Graining?

The most common cause of surface graining is a difference in the rate at which different parts of the diamond are growing. When other parts of the diamond grow at different rates, it can create these grain boundaries. As mentioned above, some of these grain boundaries can be visible to the naked eye, creating weakness in the diamond.

Different Types Of Surface Graining

Throughout the growth of a diamond, different ways of surface graining can occur. Below are the most common types of surface graining:

Spiral grain

Spiral grain is the most common type of surface graining caused by the preferential growth of diamond crystals in a specific direction. This type of grain can be found on almost all diamonds, regardless of their clarity or cut grade.

Radial grain

Radial grain is less common than spiral grain, and it occurs when diamond crystals grow perpendicular to the octahedral face of the rough diamond.


Cross-grain is the rarest type of surface graining and occurs when diamond crystals grow in a crisscross pattern. This type of grain is most common in fancy-shaped diamonds.

Is Surface Graining On A Diamond Bad?

Most people believe that surface graining is a sign of poor quality, while others see it as simply an aesthetic characteristic of a diamond. So, is it bad? The short answer is no!

Surface graining won’t affect a diamond’s brilliance, fire, and sparkle in any way. It only slightly affects the clarity grade of the diamond and its appearance under magnification by a jeweler. You won’t even notice the surface graining if you don’t remove your ring often enough to examine it under a loupe.

How To Tell If Your Diamond Has Surface Graining?

Detecting surface graining can be difficult because it is a very subtle imperfection. However, there are some things you can look for: 

  • Look at the diamond under a loupe or microscope. If you see lines or boundaries running through the diamond, they are likely caused by graining.
  • Turn the diamond over and look at the bottom. If you see lines or boundaries running through the diamond, they are likely caused by graining.
  • If possible, compare your diamond to a controlled diamond of similar size, cut, and clarity. Graining is much easier to spot when you have a comparison.

How Does Surface Graining Affect A Diamond’s Clarity?

One factor that determines a diamond’s clarity is its surface graining. This is because availability of surface graining can lead to inclusions, which are small defects inside the diamond. The severity of these inclusions will affect the diamond’s grade.

Organizations like GIA determine a diamond’s clarity using different grading systems. For instance, they use the GIA Clarity Grading Scale to grade surface graining on diamonds from FL (flawless) to I (included). Many surface graining on a diamond would prevent it from being recognized as flawless (FL).

How Does Surface Graining Affect a Diamond’s Price?

Four characteristics determine the price of a diamond: color, cut, carat weight, and clarity. While each character plays a role in determining the stone’s value, flaws that affect the clarity or brilliance of a diamond tend to have more severe consequences on its price.

One such flaw is surface graining. Surface graining negatively affects the appearance of a diamond, making it less sparkly. As a result, diamonds with surface graining tend to have a lower price tag than those without the flaw. However, while surface graining can impact the value of a diamond, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the stone is flawed or damaged. 

Surface Graining Vs. Internal Graining

There are two types of graining in diamonds, surface graining, and internal graining. We outlined the major difference between the two types to understand the difference.

Position of the graining

Surface Graining is the presence of fine lines that run along a diamond’s facets. These tiny, hazy white lines will appear on the crown or pavilion when viewed from a face-up position.

On the other hand, Internal Graining is a network of tiny, crystal-like inclusions found inside the diamond. They can be seen with a microscope and often look like a spider’s web.

Should You Purchase A Diamond With Surface Graining?

Yes! A diamond with surface graining does not disqualify it from being a beautiful and valuable gemstone. Some people even consider surface graining a desirable characteristic in specific diamonds.

The diamond’s quality is not affected by the presence of surface graining! This means the diamond is as durable and valuable as any other diamond. So don’t let the appearance of surface graining scare you away from purchasing your dream diamond!


Surface graining is a natural characteristic of diamonds and should not be viewed as flawed. So if you come across a diamond with surface graining, don’t hesitate to make it your own! The quality and beauty of the diamond are still intact despite this unique feature.

You may also like

Leave a Comment