February 15

What Can Break a Diamond? | How Strong and Dense Are These Gems?


Author: Alene Geed

Diamond is the hardest naturally occurring substance, meaning it triumphs in stability and hardness. As a result, it's easy to conclude that a real diamond is unbeatable. Unfortunately, diamonds and other gemstones aren’t without their vulnerabilities and that means they can break. In this article, I’ll explain what can break a diamond and provide a few tips to help you avoid breaking your favorite jewelry..

Key Takeaways

  • Diamonds can break, but it would take a hard impact or a major blow.
  • To avoid damaging your diamond jewelry, be aware of making erratic movements that can lead to breakage.
  • If you hit your diamond with a steel hammer, it’ll break, especially when the point is up.
  • Water, chlorines, fire, heavy lotions, and harsh chemicals are some of the things that can weaken the integrity of your diamond jewelry.

What Can Break a Diamond?

It’s true that diamonds are among many naturally occurring materials known to man. Diamonds are incredibly durable due to the lattice-type structure of carbon elements that make them. This internal structure makes diamonds resist breakage; however, more strain can lead to pressure buildup inside, making them damage easily.

Whether you’re new or experienced, you need to know what can break your diamond jewelry. Also, it’s important to know some tips that can help you maintain your diamond’s perfect condition. Keep reading if you want to maintain the value of your expensive watch or gorgeous ring. The following sections have the vital information you’ll need to avoid breaking your diamond rings and keep them looking brand new.

Can You Break a Diamond?

a broken diamond and its pieces

All professional jewelers have a huge collection of broken diamonds, as they collect them from their clients. When they ask their customers how the diamonds were broken, most of them say that they don’t know.

Technically speaking, the truth is that many individuals put their jewelry through wear and tear processes without knowing. You’ll not have a broken or chipped diamond if you drop it, however, it could chip from powerful, accidental blows.

The movements you consider nothing can lead to a huge pound-force amount applied to your diamond, thus possibly introducing some pressure inside. The pressure can then result in either massive or insignificant damage.

How Strong Are Diamonds?

In terms of fracture toughness, pure diamond measures approximately 2.0 MPA-M 1/2, which is poor compared to most engineering materials. But it’s good compared to aquamarine and other gemstones.

While just a few of the many naturally occurring materials on earth are stronger compared to diamonds, some man-made metals, such as steel and tungsten, have higher tensile strength and density. And that means any direct hit with a tungsten or steel object can absolutely break and damage your diamond.

a person working on a diamond ring

Hard Versus Strong

In most cases, people associate hard things with those that are strong. Whether something is strong or hard depends on the atomic structure. A diamond is made of carbon atoms joined on a lattice-like structure, so you need to apply a strong force to move the atoms further apart. That's the main reason why breaking a diamond is an extremely rare occurrence.

Unlike diamond, which is hard, steel is strong since it features an ionic structure. If you hit steel with an ordinary hammer, it absorbs the impact instead of breaking the atoms. Due to a lack of flexibility, diamonds aren't strong, but they can scratch steel due to their lattice-like structure.

How Do I Avoid Breaking my Diamonds?

After reading the sections above, you may be quite paranoid about purchasing diamond rings or watches. Or maybe you haven't purchased one yet, but you already have worries over how safe they are. If you're in this state, there is no need to worry since there are a few tips you can keep in mind to avoid breaking your diamond ring.

To keep your diamond ring in good condition, you should avoid movements or actions that may cause your wedding rings or other diamonds to be hit accidentally. Always remember to remove your ring before engaging in activities such as swimming. Also, avoid any exposure to harsh chemicals and heavy lotions since they negatively affect the integrity of the diamond setting.

When you aren’t using your diamonds, store them in just the right place, which can be in a box or a piece of soft cloth. A sure bet is to use common sense when it comes to taking care of your jewelry.

How do Diamond Cutters Cut through Diamonds?

Up to this point, you might be wondering how diamonds get to their finished states if even the hardest material cannot scratch their surfaces. The first step involves separating the diamond into the highest possible number of rough stones. Jewelers take advantage of cleavage lines within each stone. Also known as a tetrahedral plane, a cleavage line is simply a large fracture in a rough diamond.

The diamond will break along these cleavage lines with a slight tap of a metal cleaving tool. In most cases, a rough diamond features four cleave lines which can impact the number of polished stones it can produce. Jewelers can take between weeks and months before deciding which cleave line requires a hit.

Can a Hammer Break a Diamond?

While a hammer can break diamond, you can smash it over, and it'll do nothing. To move diamond particles apart using an ordinary hammer, you need to:

  • Find a diamond with inner weaknesses or internal inclusions
  • Aim your hammer blow to exert maximum force against the lines of weakness
  • Don’t allow the diamond to jump after hitting. The hammer blow weakens as the diamond moves away.
a hammer and the diamonds on the wooden table

How Do You Naturally Cut Diamonds?

Cutting diamonds naturally occurs through sawing or cleaning stones on lasers or steel blades. Sometimes, jewelers mold rough diamonds into the wax and then clamp them to their weaker points. If the weakest point doesn't exist, slashing is used. Keep in mind that the most cost-effective method is using diamond cutters.

Can Diamonds Chip?

It’s challenging to repair a broken diamond, so that means you only have two options, either replace your jewelry or live with it. Depending on the size of your diamond and the chip location, it can be re-cut. Only slightly large diamonds with pretty superficial damages can be re-cut using a diamond cutter. If you have comprehensive jewelry insurance that includes damage and loss policies, then you can relax knowing that you can get your ring or watch back.

When Should You Take Your Engagement Ring Off?

Diamond rings look stunning when worn. However, if worn in the wrong place or circumstance, it’ll lose its luster and value.

You should take your wedding or engagement ring off when doing these activities:

  • Bathing or showering
  • Sleeping
  • Baking or cooking
  • Swimming
  • Cleaning
  • Applying lotions or putting on sunscreen
  • Crafting
  • Making erratic movements
a diamond ring on a person's finger

Final Thoughts: What to do if You Broke Your Diamond?

Although diamonds are the hardest natural substance, accidents can happen, leading to damage. But if you always remember that there are several ways to make your diamonds look sparkly and stunning, you can worry less. If it breaks, you can ask your jeweler to reshape the diamond, reset it to hide insignificant damage, or replace it. Remember, no matter the option you select, jewelry issuance is vital.

FAQS about Diamond/Stone Breaking

Can You Accidentally Break Diamond?

Yes, you can accidentally break your diamond. This can occur when you forget to remove your ring when engaging in activities like swimming, running, and others.

Can Iron Break a Diamond?

Yes, you can break diamonds when you smash them with a heavy iron object. The diamond must have lines of weaknesses.

What Tool Can Break Diamond?

Tools made of tungsten or steel can break your diamond. Any direct hit with these tools will complete the task.

How hard is it to Break a Diamond?

Diamonds can be ripped apart easily but cannot have smooth finishes. Use a precise hit and make sure your force is sufficient.

About the Author:

Alene Geed

I am a published writer and an experienced jewelry designer. In my designs, I use gold, steel and silver, and adds gemstones to enhance the beauty of my unique, sparkling pieces of jewelry.

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