We all asked ourselves:
Do Diamonds break? And how hard are diamonds? If they are that strong, how do they cut it?
Diamonds is the strongest stone on earth, it scored a full mark on Mohs scale that we will see shortly.
It’s hard enough that when they need shape a diamond, they use another diamond saw to shape it? Yes, a saw made of lab-created diamonds that’s used to saw another one.
But does this mean that diamond can never be broken? Does “strongest” always mean that you can’t use any other mineral to break it?
Being strongest mineral doesn’t mean necessarily unbreakable, and throughout most of this article, when we see the possibility of breaking a diamond, we’re are referring to any physical power that can happen to a diamond in a regular day (a.k.a. not with a hammer for example).
At the end of the article, we will see if “physically” a diamond can be broken.
While it is well-established that these brands of precious stones are loved by ladies and are strong, some ladies also wonder if a diamond can break by bad use, or if it got a hard hit.
This question must in fact have driven you to this article, and to answer it, we will see “technically” how hard a diamond is, and based on that we can see if diamonds are breakable or not.
Firstly, What Are Diamonds Made From?
Diamonds have for decades been known to be the hardest and strongest precious stone on the earth up until recently when scientists discovered Q carbon which they say is stronger than diamond.
Irrespective of this new discovery, diamonds have such amazing strength that they are said to be able to cut glass and fellow diamonds without suffering any damage to themselves or their form.
Impressive right? Going on, the strength of diamonds is primarily anchored on what they are created from as well as their shape.
Diamonds are crafted from carbon which has been subjected to intense pressure and heat. Such heat and pressure can only be discovered in eighty-seven to a hundred and twenty of the mantles of the earth. They are as a matter of fact created during the timeframe of a 1-3.3 billion years.
The heat combined with the pressure makes the molecules of the diamond to be altered so that they are merged together, and the molecules consequently become unable to move.
The joining of the molecules is also known as covalent bonding. In line with that, the merging is the reason behind diamonds being hard.
Too much technical stuff here, let’s just skip that and look into how strong these stones are.
How Strong is Diamond?
Some people ask: Is Diamond Strong? They know for sure that diamonds are pretty strong, but maybe the right question to ask is: How Strong are Diamonds? Are they Breakable?
Well, diamonds are the second strongest gemstones on earth (the first being Q carbon as we mentioned above), the word “Diamond” in fact originally came from a Greek word which when translated means unbreakable. Flowing from that, on the Mohs scale of minerals that are rigid and resistant to pressure and scratches, diamonds are given an impressive ten over ten.
Mohs scale of mineral toughness was birthed in the year 1812 by a mineralogist and German geologist known as Frederick Mohs, to have an estimation of that this means a steel nail is estimated around 6.5 out of 10.
Another example? Masonry drill bit that we use to drill walls, is 8.5, yet, diamonds get 10 of 10 on this scale.
This should give us a better idea how strong are diamonds, compared to other known minerals we know, now let’s see if this “strength” keeps diamond from getting broken.
Are Diamonds Breakable?
You might wonder if it’s possible for someone to mistakenly break their diamonds, whether it was in a tough bang on a door, or if a ring fell on the ground (and maybe a car went over it?), or in daily use of diamonds & rings.
If you hit a steel nail by the wall, will the nail break or the wall will be scratched? The diamond in your hand is still way stronger than this steel nail.
Diamonds are pretty tough, and you really should not bother about mistakenly breaking your diamond. This is because cutting a diamond takes a lot of pressure, skill, precision and the right equipment.
In line with the above, it is therefore safe to say that despite their hardness and their resistance to pressure, they are not unbreakable as the translation of their Greek name implies.
If they were, it would be completely impossible for diamond cutters to cut them into different sizes & shapes to be used for jewelry, but can this happen with regular usage of the diamond? Definitely no!
One thing to note here, we’re talking about the diamond itself, not the ring, a tough hit with a door or a wall “might” leave some scratches on the ring, and this is why you need to keep your precious ring & diamond safe, so don’t try to hit a wall just to test this, please.
So how exactly are diamonds cut?
Since Diamonds are that Strong, How they are Cut & Shaped?
To start, let’s agree that diamond cut is different from diamond shape, a lot of people refer to shape as the cut, while it’s not. Cut is to which level the diamond is “perfect” in terms of proportion & symmetry, while shape is how a diamond looks like.
In Cut, we have ideal (excellent), very good, etc. for the shape, we have round, princess, and so on, I assume this is clear now, so back to the question.
There are essentially two methods of cutting diamonds and they are the cleaving method and the cutting method.
The cleaving method focuses on cutting large diamonds that are freshly gotten from the mines into smaller sizes. This is also known as rough cuts and the smaller diamonds can be formed into jewelry.
Cutting method on its part is used for slicing the diamonds into their final sizes, and most importantly, the diamond cut (how it will sparkle at the end).
When cutting diamonds, fine sharp knives or lasers that are perfect for the size or sizes of the diamonds involved are used. These knives or lasers always produce flawless cuts. Most diamond cutters also express that another effective way to cut a diamond is by using another diamond.
You should also know that diamond cutting goes through a lot of stages and can only be perfectly done by diamond cutters with the requisite skill and experience.
The first stage is the rough cut. Next is the shaping of the diamonds, then the polishing of the diamonds and finally there is the setting of the diamonds stage.
Each stage can take quite some time before it gets to the setting stage and if the diamond cutter is not so skilled or experienced, improperly cut diamonds can be produced.
As you see, a lot of processes go on diamonds before they can be placed on a setting, and if breaking diamond is easy, it wouldn’t take that long time from the expert cutter to cut, polish, and shape it.
Now a lot of people may ask if improperly cut diamonds are easily breakable or if they are still strong. Let’s take a look.
Is it Possible to Break a Poor Cut Diamond?
When diamonds get cut, if the final diamond has a poor cut, does this mean that it has less strength than an excellent cut diamond for example?
Diamonds as explained above are made from carbon which has been subjected to intense pressure and heat and the molecules merge together thereby making them strong. This strength is retained irrespective of the cutting process diamonds consequently go through. So an improperly cut diamond does not make it weaker than a properly cut diamond.
It is in fact still unbreakable unless the right tools are engaged in cutting it. So even if your diamond is improperly cut, you have no reason to worry about it getting broken for any reason whatsoever because accidentally breaking this gemstone is near impossible.
One thing to note here since you reached this point, there is “some” particular inclusions, mainly long cracks, if it split the diamond from top to bottom, this “may” make the diamond more vulnerable to getting split into halves.
Can You Break a Diamond with a Hammer?
While diamond chipping can occur to almost any diamond (and here is a reference to this from GIA), but under certain & unusual circumstances, diamonds can be broken!
Yes, that’s no doubt, if we need to talk in physics, being the strongest doesn’t mean that nothing can break you, Mohs scale measures the toughness of the mineral itself, but not the power that you put to “smash” that diamond.
Diamond is hard, pretty hard, but human physical power while using a hammer isn’t something comparable with.
You can YouTube this yourself, and you’ll see some folks who tried this and did it, specially when smashing the diamond from its culet.
Two things to mention here so you don’t worry about your diamond:
Chipping can be fixed, so even if your diamond got chipped, you can take it to a jewelry store and they can get it fixed for you.
Your diamond will EVER get hit with a power to make it smash, so don’t worry, your diamond will never break.
Diamond Strength: Final Word
On a final note, diamonds indeed are forever. Irrespective of the presence of Q carbon which is a combination of carbon, graphite and diamond, regular diamonds which are hewn from the mines are extremely strong and are indestructible.
It’s no wonder why they are consistently used as a symbol of everlasting love. They never depreciate in value, and they are unbreakably strong. They can also only be split by skilled diamond cutters who make use of fellow diamonds, lasers or fine sharp knives.