To start with What are Cloudy Diamonds?-Cloudy diamonds are diamonds with a hazy effect. All diamonds have imperfections. Some contain noticeable flaws, while other blemishes are more hidden. And just like all types of inclusions, sometimes clouds create a problem, but not always. Know what to look for and how to differentiate between good and bad cloudy diamonds.
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What are Cloudy Diamonds?
A cloudy diamond has inclusions that make it appear hazy in some parts or all of the diamond. For instance, multiple smaller inclusions clustered together can cause the diamond to look foggy or dull.
Without looking at a particular diamond, it’s hard to know what the cloudiness is caused by. The nature and severity of the inclusions impact how cloudy or clear a diamond looks, especially for lower graded clarity diamonds.
It’s not solely cloud inclusions—those made up of three or more crystal inclusions—that can make a diamond appear hazy. It can be other types of inclusions like feathers and twinning wisps that can cloud the diamond.
In general, there are two main scenarios where a diamond looks cloudy.
Lower Clarity Grade Diamonds Under 1 Carat
If the diamond is less than 1 carat, a certificate from the GIA or AGS usually doesn’t come with a clarity plot (a clarity plot is a map of all the diamond’s imperfections). Without a clarity plot, you won’t know how large the cloud is or where it’s located on the diamond. You’ll need to look at the diamond yourself to review its clarity.
If the diamond is an SI1 clarity grade or lower, be sure to pay particular attention. If the report says “clarity grade based on clouds that aren’t shown,” that means there’s a large cloud covering a big portion of the diamond. This is a red flag. In these cases, there are usually a number of smaller spots and tiny clouds that warrant the lower clarity grade. Each individual inclusion is small, but together they make for a hazy diamond.
Certain Diamonds With Fluorescence
Fluorescence can improve a diamond’s color but sometimes causes a cloudy effect. Particularly, be on the watch for diamonds with strong/very strong fluorescence in D-I color grades and medium fluorescence on D-G color grades. Very often—but not always—these levels of fluorescence cause a hazy or milky look.
It’s important to know that cloudiness is not visible on a screen or under store lights. If you’re buying a diamond in person, always view the diamond in daylight first. If you’re buying online, it’s better to avoid these fluorescence combinations altogether to lower the risk.
In general, here’s what to know about diamond fluorescence and cloudiness:
- Slight/Faint Blue Fluorescent diamonds never appear hazy
- Medium Blue Fluorescent diamonds rarely appear hazy
- Strong/Very Strong Blue Fluorescent diamonds usually appear hazy
If a diamond has strong or very strong blue fluorescence, it’ll most likely look hazy or oily on D-I colors. This cloudiness causes the diamond to look less transparent.
Expert Buying Tip
Cloudy diamonds aren’t always bad, depending on the severity of the cloudiness. If the cloudiness doesn’t take up a large portion of the diamond—specifically the table—then it can still be a beautiful stone. Or if there are a few small clouds on the edges, it won’t take away from the diamond’s beauty. They usually aren’t as noticeable and may even be covered by the ring setting. But a large cloud, on the other hand, can affect the transparency and beauty of a diamond.
Besides the inclusions that can cause a diamond to be hazy, it’s also possible that the problem stems from the cleanliness of the stone. For instance, with normal wear, your diamond can look cloudy from grime, soap residue and oils. That’s why it’s important to know how to clean a diamond . If your diamond doesn’t sparkle as much as it used to, it’s probably due for a cleaning. You can clean the diamond yourself or schedule an appointment at your jeweler.