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Darkfield Illuminated Microscopic Pictures

Some content on this page are contributed by Good Old Gold, with thanks.

Most microscopic pictures you view on this site were taken using "darkfield illumination", to enable you to see the inclusions clearer.

What is Darkfield Illumination?

Darkfield illumination means that the diamond is placed at the top of a cylindrical source of high intensity light with the bottom of the "well" being covered by a flat black baffle. The light is concentrated onto the pavilion facets which in turn "lights up" the inclusions on the interior of the stone. For the critical analysis of diamonds this is is a very useful tool for determining a diamond's clarity grade because it enables us to see the inclusions so much clearer.

Example of Darkfield Illumination

Below, is an example of a darkfield illuminated diamond under a microscope. The darkfield illumination is lighting up the tiny feather at 3:00 which helps us identify this VS1 clarity diamond.


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Darkfield Illumination vs Overhead Lighting

We must bear in mind that darkfield illumination accentuates the flaws of a diamond to ease clarity grading. In most cases, it is difficult to see the flaws using overhead lighting, unless the flaws are really bad. Below, we have a picture of a diamond in darkfield illumination as well as overhead lighting to illustrate this point.



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