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Are diamonds unbreakable?

By Frank

Highly experienced diamond polisher who loves to share his knowledge with you. Continues to stun his colleagues with interesting - or simply bizarre - facts about diamonds and gems.

February 19, 2020

“Diamonds are forever”. They named many movies and songs after this slogan. But how accurate is it really? If diamonds are forever, they must be unbreakable. A while ago we told you about the myths surrounding diamonds. Today we will tell you about the unbreakability of diamonds. Fact or fiction?

Adamas

To cut right to the chase: diamonds are not indestructible. However, they are the hardest mineral on earth. The word diamond comes from the Greek word “adamas”, which means “unconquerable and indestructible”. But like everything else found on this planet, they can be damaged or even destroyed. Most of the time this happens because of scratching or chipping. Be that as it may, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! If diamonds were impossible to break, diamond jewelry wouldn’t exist.

How do diamonds break?

If hit the right way, a diamond will break. However, there are two types of destruction: intended or unintended. The first case is done by sawing or lasering. Here, the diamond is split into two separate pieces by the cutter. This allows the cutter to take one of the pieces to work on the other piece. Unintended destruction is by accident or just pure curiosity. A diamond can be damaged, or even break, if it’s not handled with care. With just a slight tap in the right place, the stone will break.

The Mohs scale

Diamonds are among the hardest substances on earth. To measure this, people use the Mohs scale. The Mohs scale measures the relative hardness of minerals by its resistance to scratching. There are ten minerals on the scale. From softest to hardest, we have:

  1. Talc
  2. Gypsum
  3. Calcite
  4. Fluorite
  5. Apatite
  6. Orthoclase
  7. Quartz
  8. Topaz
  9. Corundum

And last, but definitely not least: the diamond – measuring 10 on the scale.

Diamonds are not only used for jewelry, but also in tools. Because they are among the hardest substances on earth, industries use them to cut and grind other hard materials. If a diamond itself needs to be cut, another diamond (or diamond dust) is used in the process. As they say: “it takes a diamond to cut a diamond”.

Heat

Diamonds are not only the strongest among minerals, but they also conduct heat better than other substances. This makes melting the mineral very hard, but not impossible. A diamond melts at the temperature of 3500 °C. To illustrate: this is half the temperature of the outer layer of the sun!

Handle with care

So what can you do to protect your diamond jewelry? First of all, handle them with care. To prevent damaging, make sure you always remove your diamonds when performing any extreme physical activity such as exercising. Also, be aware with gardening and other activities including chemicals. Exposing your diamond jewelry to chemicals can damage the metals used to alloy the gold for diamond settings. Additionally, we advise you to clean your diamond jewelry regularly to keep it beautiful and sparkly. We recommend having your diamond professionally cleaned, to ensure no damage will occur. This can be done at Royal Coster Diamonds.

Triggered?

Want to learn more about diamonds? Or hear about other interesting diamond facts? Book a Diamond Masterclass Deluxe with one of our other master polishers.

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