Why Do Diamonds Look Cloudy, Hazy, or Milky?

Oct 13, 2022

Have you ever wondered why some of your diamonds begin to have a cloudy, milky, or hazy appearance? When you've invested money into jewelry featuring stunning diamonds, you expect them to shine and glisten for years to come. But what happens when they no longer look as good as they did when you first purchased them? Before you can figure out what to do about cloudy, hazy diamonds, it's vital to know what causes them to look that way in the first place.

The Causes of Cloudy Diamonds
cloudy diamond comparison

Looking at the picture above, you may notice the diamond on the left doesn't have a transparent appearance nor shine as bright as one would expect it to. So, what could cause this diamond to look that way? One or more of the following issues could cause the diamond to have a milky, cloudy appearance instead of a clear one.

The Inclusions

Some diamonds have inclusions that occur during the development phase. In addition, during the process of turning carbon into a stunning diamond, it undergoes an incredible amount of pressure and high heat, which has the potential to cause some hardly noticeable flaws.

While these flaws aren't usually noticeable when first purchasing the diamond, they tend to become more apparent over time, ultimately causing dissatisfaction with the overall look of the diamond. The problem with inclusions is that they can take away from the transparent appearance of a diamond so that it no longer has that special glass-like glow.

Some inclusions are worse than others, so be mindful of that when you're planning to purchase new diamonds. For example, pinpoint inclusions are relatively standard in diamonds. These inclusions are noticeable but not as much as diamond cavities, which are far more prominent and even more likely to appear hazy and cloudy in the future.

Diamond Clarity Grade

Poor Clarity Grade: Every diamond has a clarity grade and the Diamond Clarity Chart determines how flawless a diamond is based on different factors, including the number of imperfections it might have. A diamond with virtually no imperfections is considered Internally Flawless and will not turn milky or cloudy despite constant use and regular wear and tear. On the other hand, a diamond with a cluster of imperfections can lead to a cloudy, hazy look that some find much less aesthetically pleasing.

Diamond Fluorescence
diamond fluoresence

Some diamonds are brighter than others and have different fluorescence grades. Some have zero fluorescence, while other diamonds have faint, medium, strong, and very strong fluorescence. While this may not seem like a big deal, a diamond with strong or very strong fluorescence is more likely to appear cloudy, which many would like to avoid when purchasing diamond jewelry, including rings, necklaces, and earrings.

The Cut Grade
cut grade

Diamonds also have a cut grade, some offering better clarity than others. A diamond with the ideal cut will sparkle and shine, practically glistening off the skin when worn on the body. However, the diamond is less likely to shine if it doesn't have a good cut. As a result of a poor cut, the diamond will have much more of a dull appearance that can make it appear hazy, taking away from that shine that people often want when investing in diamond jewelry.

Dirt and Grime

While a diamond may look cloudy and milky because of inclusions, strong fluorescence, or even a poor cut grade, those aren't the only reasons it may have appeared to lose its stunning shine. For example, you may have the perfect cut diamond with no fluorescence, and zero inclusions yet have still noticed that it looks milky. In that case, it's likely due to dirt and grime that have accumulated on your jewelry over the past several months or years.

How long has it been since you've properly cleaned your jewelry? If you can't recall the last time you've used a special jewelry cleaning solution on your diamond, it's the perfect time to give it a detailed cleaning or take it to the jewelry shop. Or you can read our previous post How to Care for Your Diamonds to Keep Them Sparkling?

If you're taking the do-it-yourself approach to clean the diamond, be sure to choose gentle yet effective products explicitly designed for diamond cleaning to avoid causing damage to such a valuable piece. Once you've completed the cleaning process, you should notice that the diamond no longer has that hazy or milky look and instead shines as bright as it did on the day you purchased or received such a stunning piece.

When you want to keep your diamond piece in the best condition possible, it helps to schedule cleaning maintenance. You can bring the jewelry to a professional jeweler who will handle your diamonds with care while removing any residue to leave them sparkling like new all over again.

How to Keep Your Engagement Ring From Looking Dull?

If you know that your engagement ring has high-quality diamonds on it that start to look hazy after a while, consider taking the following steps to keep such an important ring from looking dull and lifeless:

  • Wear protective gloves when washing the dishes and cleaning around the home. If not, remove your ring and place it in a safe space until you've finished cleaning to keep dirt and grime from getting on it.
  • Clean your ring at home at least once a week. You can buy the supplies needed to do a quick yet efficient cleaning to remove any potential dirt or grime from your diamond.
  • Take your diamond engagement ring to the jewelers every so often for deep cleaning. The jewelers have the tools needed to quickly and carefully eliminate dirt and grime before polishing it and leaving it looking like new again.

If you have a diamond that looks cloudy or hazy, it could have that appearance for quite a few reasons. The good news is that it's completely fixable if it's caused by dirt and grime. With that in mind, consider different factors when selecting diamond jewelry. From clarity to cut grade, you'll want to choose a high-quality diamond that will continue to shine bright and look its best for years to come.

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