“The purer, the more valuable". This saying certainly holds true for diamonds, however not so much for coloured gemstones. Part of their characteristics, beauty and individuality is due to their inclusions – small crystals, particles, colour zones, healing fissures or fluid inclusions that make each stone truly unique. Intricate patterns that remind us of nature's beauty can be found deep within. These inner worlds fascinate us not only because of their inherent beauty, but also because, like fingerprints, they contain information about the gemstone's identity. As Eduard Josef Gübelin discovered, inclusions, rather than being blemishes in the stone, can inform the trained eye about the stone's origin, its age and can even give hints about possible alterations of the stone by treatment.
Inclusions in the form of liquids, gases or solid materials are trapped at any time inside the evolving mineral. Under some special circumstances, mostly due to a change in pressure or temperature, they can also form or infiltrate the mineral after it has formed. Other characteristic inclusions emerge even later during various treatments and thus help gemmologists identify such alterations of the stone. Solid inclusions are divided into three different kinds. Protogenetic inclusions are minerals that have formed before the host crystal. They are trapped during the long process of the gemstone’s crystallisation. Often, different minerals form under the same conditions and at the same time. They can be found included in one another and are therefore syngenetic inclusions. Due to different circumstances, like changes in the environment of a gemstone, some solid inclusions even form after the host crystal. These epigenetic inclusions mostly form within fractures of the host mineral and tend therefore to consist of flat crystals that are visually distinct from the rather well-formed syngenetic inclusions.
Diving into a stone's depths reveals its true and unique beauty. Inclusions form various patterns which remind us of nature, its unlimited strength and delicate allure alike. While wandering within the inner world of a precious gemstone, we experience a whole universe of forms and colours that conjure up images of humbling beauty and inspire our designers to mirror them in jewels that recall nature's unlimited wonders.
Discover more about gemstones from the most coveted regions of the earth and experience their unique inner worlds that make each stone a marvel of nature.
The so-called "three-phase inclusions", as seen below, consist of gas bubbles, liquids and crystalline structures which were all trapped within the growing gemstone. These inclusions are typical in emeralds from Colombia. They often begin as purely fluid inclusions of a salty liquid during the birth of the host mineral. When the crystal cools down to near-surface temperature, minerals and gases separate from the fluid thus forming these intricate patterns.
Rutile is a mineral which is largely made of titanium dioxide. It commonly appears as inclusions within rubies and sapphires in the form of small needles. Rutile needles are responsible for some of the most sought-after optical phenomena in gemstones, like the asterism or star effect, and the cats-eye effect. Short, fine rutile needles which occur in zones, patches or clouds, are called silk. This special kind of inclusion is typical in rubies from Burma, the most coveted region for this gemstone. The intricate inclusions scatter the light and cause a soft glimmer which, in combination with the slightly fluorescent property of the stone, makes the Burmese ruby highly sought after.
Various inclusions in
Delicate inclusions, such as pargasite needles, fine dust clouds and crossing dust-tracks can help identify the origin of a sapphire. Although these inclusions can appear in stones from Kashmir, Sri Lanka or Madagascar, precise observations can reveal subtle differences in their pattern and help identifying the gemstone’s origin. This picture shows a precious pargasite crystal inclusion in a magnificent sapphire from Kashmir.
Gübelin's talented designers follow the philosophy of appreciating outer as well as inner beauty. This is why they are inspired by these inner worlds, these intricate patterns and exquisite forms, to create jewellery which recalls the uniqueness of a gemstone's inner beauty while celebrating its external appearance.
Discover our collections and masterpieces and dive into the depths of nature's most precious treasures, the inner world of gemstones.