When you think of diamonds, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Is it engagement rings or fine jewelry? If so, it's probably because diamonds are the hardest gemstone on the planet, making them suitable for daily wear and tear. A diamond's durability is part of its appeal, but can you smash a diamond?
Not that you would want to, but it helps to know how much weight and pressure a diamond can endure. After all, you intend to wear your diamond ring daily.
Between encounters with the counter, soapy hot water baths, and catching on clothing threads, diamonds take a bit of a beating.
Most often, they're beautifully resilient. If that's the case, can a diamond be broken?
In this article, we're exploring exactly that topic. Your diamond can endure a lot, but knowing its breaking point will help you devote the maintenance required for it to last a lifetime.
Diamonds are indeed incredibly durable, but they aren't indestructible. When we measure a diamond's ability to withstand impact, we look at three key features of the stone:
Most diamonds are gem-quality and highly durable. Like all good things in life, they have vulnerable spots. Most of them won't outright shatter, but they can crack and fracture, especially on the cleavage lines, cracks in the diamond compromising its stability.
Generally, cleavage lines are invisible to the naked eye, and only detectable under microscopic inspection.
They can be a cause for concern because if an object strikes at the exact cleavage line, it can crack or chip.
You'll naturally want to avoid an object striking your finger that hard. Not only will it compromise your diamond, but it can cause some severe pain or injury to your hand.
Unfortunately, accidents happen, and although it's not easy to shatter a diamond or smash it, it's not unheard of.
If that's the case...
For us to answer that question, we first need to look at how diamonds form.
Diamond atoms grow in the earth's mantle, 1800 miles beneath the surface we walk on. Can you imagine the amount of pressure down there? It's immense and perfectly conducive to pressurizing these tiny atoms into diamond deposits.
Did we mention it's insanely hot down there? Like, 1832° Fahrenheit, to be exact. These conditions zap the diamond atom like a baking pie, and gradually, throughout millions of years, a diamond grows.
As you can imagine, this intricate process creates supernatural durability in diamonds unseen in any other gemstones — or industrial materials for that matter! In fact, there are only six natural substances harder than diamonds.
When it comes to choosing your engagement ring, you can see why diamonds are prime candidates. You want the ring you wear forever to last a lifetime, and even longer if you pass it down as a family heirloom.
If diamonds are so durable, can anything break them? Let's find out!
You might be wondering, how much force does it take to break a diamond? More importantly, what is capable of exerting enough power to do so? With this information, you can avoid impact with these objects or remove your ring before using them.
Diamonds are incredibly durable, but they are also brittle. With enough brunt force and a hard object, you can smash a diamond, or at the very least, crack it. If you hit a diamond with a regular hammer, it'd likely dent into the surface you lay the diamond atop — even thick steel!
You'd likely even see a dent in the head of the hammer, also. That's some serious resistance! However, if you face a diamond flat on the counter with the culet (point) up, the isolated force will penetrate through the culet and shatter the diamond.
In general, your diamond will be harder than most metal surfaces like steel or titanium. Most metals won't crack or smash a diamond, but they may scratch it. While a steel hammer can shatter a diamond, it won't easily cause scratches.
That's because diamonds are durable, but they have low tenacity. Meaning, brute force at a soft point can completely shatter or smash a diamond. However, if you rub a piece of metal against a diamond, there's not enough strength to scratch the gemstone. Of course, anything is possible with enough pressure.
Diamonds are durable gemstones unlikely to damage easily, but it happens occasionally. How can you protect your gorgeous rock from scratches and breaks? For starters, you'll naturally want to avoid striking it with a hammer.
Of course, the hammer measures the extreme of how much the stone can endure before you smash a diamond.
So, what happens if you accidentally damage your precious jewel? Don't worry, you have options, and in most cases, jewelers can repair minor cracks and chips.
Take your diamond to the jeweler immediately.
A skilled jeweler will either remove the broken piece from the diamond or recut the gem altogether. The gem will be slightly smaller, but intact, flawless, and sparkling beautifully.
After they recut the stone, you'll need to recertify it because, technically, it's now a new diamond.
If you don't want to cut your diamond, you can explore the option of buying a new setting to hide the damage. This saves you money and doesn't cut away the weight of your diamond to a smaller carat.
If the diamond's completely ruined, you may need to replace the gem.
As you can see, it's possible to smash a diamond, but in most cases, the damage is minor and reparable. If this happens to you, don’t lose heart because before you know it, your diamond ring will be back where it belongs: sparkling on your finger!
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