Can You Shatter a Diamond? You’d be surprised!

We’re all familiar with those tiny, shiny things that have long symbolized wealth, royalty, and power. The Ancient Greeks and Romans believed that diamonds were tears cried by the Gods. Today, they’re used to decorate a wide range of jewelry, such as rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, pendants, etc. Their durability has made them a surprisingly often used material for drilling, polishing, and cutting tools. But the main reason they have become popular in popular culture is due to their traditional use in wedding rings. Accidents happen, however, and sometimes these diamonds can get damaged. If you’ve ever wondered if you can shatter a diamond, here’s everything you need to know.

Do Diamonds Shatter Easily?

Before going into if/how one can break a diamond and the associated consequences, one needs to know how hard a diamond really is. Friedrich Mohs, a German mineralogist, developed a test to scale the hardness of various minerals on a scale of 1-10. However, his study defines ‘hardness’ as the resistance of a material to being scratched. Of the 50+ metals and gems put on that scale, the diamond was found to be the single hardest substance. It blows out of the water common materials like gold, silver, copper, and graphite, with a score four times higher than theirs. Another test, called the Vickers test, found an even wider gap between diamonds and other minerals in terms of hardness. The study suggested that a diamond is five times more resilient than the next best mineral.

To answer the question posed, no, it is not easy to shatter a diamond. But they are breakable if you try hard enough. In fact, despite the enormous evidence of how tough diamonds are, they can still be incredibly fragile. Hitting a diamond at the right spot and the correct angle could cause it to chip. They can also succumb to burning, albeit only in extreme conditions. A cigarette lighter won’t do the trick, but throwing them in a bonfire definitely will. The next section covers how one can ‘break’ a diamond.

How Do You Shatter a Diamond?

Fun fact: The best way to cut a diamond is, ironically, using another diamond.

When it comes to shattering one, however, a hard swing from a hammer will be enough to completely shatter a diamond. But besides that, small accidents can also take the sheen away from your diamond. If one isn’t careful while shopping, such as being mindful of choosing shapes without sharp edges, they could easily end up with an expensive diamond ring prone to chipping. Banging into equipment at the gym, or mishandling gardening equipment are some of the ways diamonds could accidentally crack. In the event that you do find yourself in a position with a chipped diamond, your jeweler will have to recut the diamond to fix it, so not all is lost.

Are Broken Diamonds Worth Anything?

Broken diamonds can be salvaged in two ways: They can either be re-polished & recut, or they can be traded in with a jeweler. However, recutting diamonds can be quiet costly, and is not an advisable solution unless the diamond is of particularly good quality. This is because recutting downgrades the quality of the diamond, and it simply may not be worth it in the end. Trading in chipped diamonds will also result in only meager returns due to the elaborate workmanship that goes into recutting. If the jewelry holds some significant sentimental value, like if it is a family heirloom, then recutting might be the best option for you. But given the hassles of salvaging a broken diamond, preventing the diamond from shattering truly is the best cure.

One can easily find tips to keep their jewelry and rings safe online. Some of these include periodically testing the strength of the prongs by giving them a gentle shake, removing them at appropriate times, and being wise while shopping for the ring.