Can a diamond become discolored from well water?

I see and hear of this occasionally, it even happened to me once when we cleaned a 1.00 ct F color Princess cut with the last few rusty bursts of dirty steam from an aging steam cleaner.

The F color diamond suddenly looked like a J/K color with no obvious dirt or minerals showing on the diamond.

My theory is that the iron (rust) has an affinity for the diamond and sticks to the surface and/or in the hollowed out area of the prongs that are designed to protect the corner of the princess cut diamond. With even a trace of dirt or minerals contacting the princess cut diamond, the diamond will look noticeably tinted.

Here is what I do to remedy this problem, I use alternating baths in a pickle solution (heated acid bath) and heated ultrasonic along with a steam cleaner to help steam out any particles etc. This process takes patience, as it takes much more time and repeated cycles of the process than an ordinary cleaning.

As a home solution, you could maybe try some more soaking in vinegar or even a CLR (calcium,lime rust) type cleaner as long as it does not have any chlorine in it (bad for gold)

6 thoughts on “Can a diamond become discolored from well water?”

  1. I have very expensive jewelry. I have a men’s 7 diamond cluster and my wife has a past present & future princess cut ring. Hers appraises for 5790.99 mine appraises for 2665.45. We moved and our once beautiful diamonds look like cheep costume jewelry. I’ve been to 5 jeweler and no one can seem to get the rust off the back of the stones. They are not small diamonds so I understand that the larger the surface is the harder the problem becomes. I’ve bought ultrasonic machines, ultrasonic cleaners. I’m devastated and at a loss. Please if you can help me.

  2. Ahlyssa,

    I would recommend leaving your rings with your jeweler. Have them soak in the pickle pot for 2 to 3 days. This should do it. Once cleaned, make an effort to have this deep cleaning performed twice a year for about an hour or two.

  3. We have really rusty well water in our home. My engagement ring and wedding rings look like the rust has settled and I’m having a very hard time trying to clean them at home. I’ve tried cleaning solution from my jeweler and baking soda/vinegar cleaning solution. My jeweler can get most of it out, but not all of it. I go to a small town jeweler, so I’m not sure how up to date his cleaning systems are. What do you suggest? It looks like my beautiful clear diamonds are now yellow diamonds.

  4. left earrings for months in jewelry cleaner, as a result stones are discolored. What can I do to remove this discoloration?

  5. Kim,

    As long as it’s gold, an ultrasonic cleaning and/or electro-cleaning should dissolve the discoloration. If that doesn’t work a polishing and/or magnetic pin tumble should take care of it. I would take it to a local jeweler and have him try these steps in the order mentioned.

  6. Just found my wedding ring in the washer drain after two years. We have a filtered well and it all looks discolored. Any hope on this one?

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