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Why Do Diamonds Get Cloudy?

Why Do Diamonds Get Cloudy?

There are no diamonds without imperfections; all of them have flaws to some degree. Some have noticeable flaws, while other diamonds have more hidden blemishes. 

But cloudy diamonds are the ones that look lifeless and dull. The question of the day is: Why do diamonds get cloudy?

Cloudy appearance usually comes from inclusions – and sometimes these inclusions create problems. But that’s not always the case. Now, you may be asking: What are these problems? Is it something to look for when buying a diamond?

In this article, we’ve covered everything you need to know about your diamonds getting cloudy, so without further ado, let’s dive in.

What Does “Cloudy Diamond” Mean?

A diamond that is considered cloudy has inclusions that make it look hazy – either in some areas or throughout the entire diamond. 

For example, several more minor inclusions clustered together can result in the cloudy or dull appearance of the diamond.

Without looking at a particular diamond, it’s not easy to determine what exactly causes the cloudiness. The nature and degree of the inclusions impact how clear or cloudy a diamond looks. 

That is especially true for diamonds of lower grade clarity.

It’s not just cloud inclusions – those made up of three or more crystal inclusions – that can make a diamond appear cloudy, though. Other variants of inclusions, like feathers and twinning wisps, can make a diamond look hazy, too.

What Is A Feather Inclusion In A Diamond?

An internal inclusion that features a fracture with the appearance of a feather is what is known as a feather inclusion. Feather inclusions can appear dark or white, like most inclusions. The location and size of the feather influence how problematic it will be for the diamond’s appearance.

Large Feathers

Big feathers can have a negative impact on the durability and appearance of a diamond. 

For instance, a large feather can hinder the colored and white light’s path, influencing the diamond’s fire and brilliance. Even more so, when a large feather is located in the girdle of a diamond, it can make it more prone to damage. 

When it comes to large inclusions, the most affected shape is the princess cut.

Small Feathers

These are also known as hairline feathers. These feathers are shallow fractures that look like scratches at first glance – and they are usually harmless.

These smaller feathers are called “feathers” in certifications as there isn’t a difference between small and large feathers on lab reports. You would have to inspect the diamond on your own to determine the actual impact and size of the feathers. 

Do Inclusions Affect A Diamond’s Brilliance?

Yes, inclusions can impact a diamond’s brilliance – as in, how well white light reflects back to your eyes off the diamond’s table. 

When an inclusion obstructs light, the light might exit out of the bottom or from the sides of the diamond. As a result, the diamond will appear dull and cloudy.

The factor that affects a diamond’s brilliance more than any other is the cut quality. Diamond clarity and color play a role in a diamond’s brilliance – but not as much as its cut.

Lower Clarity Grades Diamonds

If the diamond is less than one carat, the GIA’s certificate typically doesn’t come with a clarity plot. As such, you won’t know how big the cloud is or where its location is. 

You’ll need to observe the diamond to review its clarity.

If the diamonds have a clarity grade of SI1 or lower, pay attention. If the certificate says, “clarity grade based on clouds that aren’t shown,” that means there’s a big cloud covering a large portion of the diamond.

In this case, there are typically numerous minor spots and tiny clouds that cause the lower clarity grade. Each individual inclusion is small – but together, they make for a cloudy diamond.

Diamonds With Fluorescence

Fluorescence can actually improve a diamond’s color – but sometimes, it can cause a hazy effect. 

Make sure to watch for diamonds with strong fluorescence in color grades D through I and medium fluorescence in color grades D through G. Often, but not always, these levels of fluorescence lead to milky or hazy appearance.

It’s crucial to know that cloudiness can’t be seen on a screen or under store lights, though. 

If you’re purchasing a diamond in person, be sure to check that particular diamond in daylight first. If you decide to buy online, it’s advised to avoid fluorescence combinations to reduce the risk of a cloudy appearance.

Generally, these are the thing you should know about the diamond’s fluorescence and cloudiness:

  • Faint blue fluorescent diamonds never appear cloudy
  • Medium blue fluorescent diamonds rarely look cloudy
  • Strong and very strong blue fluorescent diamonds typically appear cloudy

If a diamond has strong or very strong blue fluorescence, it’s very likely to appear oily and hazy on colors D through I. This haziness leads to the diamond looking less transparent. 

We recommend that you buy fluorescent diamonds only from a reputable vendor to ensure they’re of high quality. If you’re shopping in person, feel free to ask the jeweler to show you the diamond under UV light as well as daylight.

Learn More: Can Ultraviolet (UV) Light Destroy A Diamond?

Are Cloudy Diamonds Bad?

Cloudy diamonds aren’t always necessarily bad; it depends on the level of the cloudiness. 

It can still be a gorgeous stone if the cloudiness doesn’t cover a huge portion of the gem. And even if there are several smaller clouds around the edges, it won’t take that much away from the diamond’s beauty.

Besides the inclusions that cause a diamond to be cloudy, there’s also a possibility that the problem comes from the cleanliness of the gemstone. 

For example, your diamond ring can look cloudy from oils, residue soap, and grime, all resulting from normal wear.

That is why it’s crucial to know how to clean a diamond ring. 

If your diamond doesn’t sparkle like it used to, it’s probably time for detailed cleaning. You can clean it yourself – but you can also schedule an appointment at your jeweler as they can do it much more thoroughly.

Learn More: Diamond Care: How To Take Care Of Your Diamonds

Diamond Ring Settings

Clouds generally aren’t as noticeable – and the appropriate ring setting may even cover them. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ring settings:

  • Prong setting
  • Bezel setting
  • Tension setting
  • Channel setting
  • The Tiffany setting
  • Halo setting
  • Bar setting
  • Flush setting
  • Cluster setting
  • Three-stone setting
  • Eternity band

Your diamond ring setting is the basis of your entire ring design. 

Choosing a ring setting largely depends on personal preference and style. Some work better for active people who work with their hands, and other designs are more elaborate with high-set gemstones. 

You should consider how often your ring will be cleaned and maintained, as there are settings that require more maintenance than others.

Cloudy Diamond Price

Prices of cloudy diamonds are usually lower than diamonds that aren’t cloudy. Why? Well, because a clear diamond will be more eye-catching, cloudy diamonds are priced lower. 

In our eyes, the lower price of a cloudy diamond isn’t worth it. You’re better off trying to find the lowest clarity grade that offers an eye-clean and transparent diamond. You can save hundreds if not thousands by selecting a lower grade over higher clarity grade. 

What Are Eye-Clean Diamonds?

Eye-clean diamonds are gemstones that don’t have any inclusions or blemishes visible to the naked eye. They have imperfections if you look at them under magnification – but not when you look at them without a jeweler’s loupe.

Related Read: What Does LC Mean In Diamond?

To see if a particular diamond is eye-clean, you need to look at it under HD photography or videography. 

When buying in bricks and mortar stores, observe the diamond away from the bright sales lights. Ideally, you should inspect the diamond in natural daylight.

There’s no specific clarity grade that guarantees you an eye-clean diamond. For example, a VS2 doesn’t necessarily mean it’s eye clean – however, in many cases, it is. 

That’s why it’s crucial to evaluate a diamond’s clarity by yourself. The color, size, and number of inclusions all influence the visibility of any imperfections at the eye level.

How Does One Fix A Cloudy Diamond?

If inclusions make the diamond cloudy, we have bad news – there’s no way of fixing the internal structure. If a diamond is cloudy because it’s covered with grime, oils, and residue, though, then you can most certainly clean it to remove haziness.

A clean diamond will always have more brilliance and fire due to the light reaching the diamond and reflecting off of its table.

Read Also: Do Diamonds Absorb Oil?

How To Keep Your Diamond Ring Shiny?

Caring for your diamond ring isn’t rocket science – but it is very important. 

Everyday wear can lead to your prongs being loose or bent. Prevent any gemstones from accidentally falling out by making sure the prongs are securely holding your beautiful diamond. 

Almost every jeweler will check this for free, even if you didn’t purchase your ring at their store.

Dirt, residue, and oil can lodge themselves into your diamond. If you don’t clean your diamond regularly, your ring will end up looking dull. 

Even the slightest film can change how light reflects off of the diamond. You’ll want to clean your diamond ring several times a year if you hope to keep it shiny.

You can have your diamond ring cleaned at a jeweler’s – or you can do it yourself easily at home by following these steps:

  1. Fill a bowl with lukewarm water. Add one full drop of dish detergent. Stir the dish detergent and water with a spoon. 
  2. Put your diamond ring in soapy water for around ten minutes to break down oils and grime.
  3. Remove your diamond ring and clean it with a soft toothbrush. Be sure to gently brush each side – especially the edges and the back of your diamond ring.
  4. Put your diamond ring back in the bowl with detergent and water. Continue gently brushing to wash off any loosened grime and dirt.
  5. Rinse your diamond ring with running clean water. Don’t forget to plug the drain!
  6. Use a lint-free cloth to dry your diamond ring. If you let it air dry, you will notice water stains on your diamond.

It’s vital to keep in mind that using bleach and other abrasive chemicals when cleaning your ring can damage it, so avoid using these substances. 

Another excellent piece of advice regarding keeping your ring shiny and taking care of it is to take it off during hand-heavy activities, such as gardening, moving furniture, lifting weights, etc. 

Not only will you increase the longevity of your diamond ring, but you will reduce the risk of losing it.

We also recommend you keep a ring dish near your kitchen sink. That way, you can remove your diamond ring before you wash the dishes. By removing your ring, you aren’t exposing it to harsh chemicals – and you won’t be able to knock it against a hard surface. 

We like to say: The less wear and tear on your diamond ring, the better.

Conclusion

If you noticed your diamond is looking a bit hazy and you’re wondering, “Why do diamonds get cloudy?” we’re here to explain to you the reason behind it:

A cloudy diamond usually means that it has inclusions that make your diamond appear hazy. Multiple tiny inclusions can result in your diamond looking dull and foggy. 

But inclusions aren’t the only ones to blame for your diamond’s cloudy appearance. 

Your diamond might look hazy and dull due to not being cleaned in a long time. If that’s the case, be sure to take it to a jeweler for cleaning – or you can do it at home yourself!

In the end, you will want to avoid noticeably cloudy diamonds when looking to buy one as it takes away from its brilliance and sparkle. Instead, aim for an eye-clean and transparent-looking gemstone.  

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