Diamonds are well-known for being unbothered by any scratches or strains and they are also the hardest material we know. Diamond jewelry goes through a lot. It gets washed in hot and cold water, knocked on doors, and so on. That is why diamonds seem indestructible, which raises the question, can you crush a diamond with a hammer?
Even though diamond is the hardest material that we know of, it can be easily crushed with some things that you have lying around your house, including a hammer.
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Diamonds can only be broken with the intention of breaking it and otherwise, they can endure regular scratches through thick and thin situations.
Can A Diamond Break Easily?
Diamonds are the hardest minerals that are naturally formed on planet earth. They are made from carbon using high temperatures and intense pressure within the earth’s mantle.
A real diamond can break easily when hit with the right amount of force. It is true that the diamond is a hard gemstone, but it is not as strong as metal so diamonds can break. Diamonds are typically known for their ability to resist scratches.
The diamond that is used for making jewelry is classified in three basic properties, which define its durability.
Hardness Of A Diamond
The hardness of a diamond tells us how easily the diamond is scratched. Its hardness comes from its complex internal structure, and it has 5 times more hardness than any of the other carbides.
Usually, a diamond’s hardness varies from edge to edge, which means that some edges are more prone to chipping when they are hit with a shock.
Cutting and shaping a diamond is a hard task. This is done by taking advantage of cleave lines, diamond’s weak spots, within each rough diamond. The problem is that the diamond has 4 cleave lines, and each of them can affect how many single polished stones the rough diamond can produce. That is why sometimes the examination of a rough diamond can take weeks or months before choosing a particular cleave line.
Toughness Of A Diamond
The toughness of a diamond is the diamond’s ability to resist breakage and chipping. The diamond can be broken or fractured when it is hit with a heavy rock or metal. The structure of a diamond is formed with chemical bonds and the chance of fracture or chipping happens where diamond crystal bonds are weak.
Stability Of A Diamond
Stability in the diamond is what defines how well a gemstone can resist chemicals and thermal shock. A diamond is able to handle some extreme temperatures but if the temperature is too high, it may cause some damage to the stone. Don’t worry about damaging your diamonds, as this doesn’t happen in regular routines. When it comes to chemical reactions, the diamond is immune to any acid.
The weaknesses are also present in polished diamonds. Because of the diamond’s structure, there is always a risk of impact chipping the stone. The impact doesn’t have to be high or even on an especially hard surface. Chipping the diamond at the right angle is enough to split it in two.
It is common for engagement rings to suddenly be missing a piece out of the crown or girdle of a diamond. While the type of cut can expose some parts of the stone more than others, they are all still at risk.
To ensure that your diamond doesn’t break, choose the right setting that protects your diamond. In the case that your diamond is pointed, for example, in shapes princess, pear, marquise, etc., it is best to choose a setting that covers its point, like bezels, partial bezels, and V-shaped prongs.
One of the most common reasons your diamonds are damaged or lost is because the settings are broken or bent. A setting’s prongs and bezels do more than just hold your diamond in place, they protect your diamond. If you hit your ring against something, and your diamond is loose in its mounting, it will take more of the impact than it would if it were firmly set. Make sure to regularly examine your ring when you take it off, and when you hit it against something.
Make sure you avoid tension settings, as this setting style tightly pinches a diamond’s edges to hold it in place. Since the mounting is already applying pressure on the diamond from two opposing sides, significant additional contact from day-to-day life could break the girdle.
If you find a scratch or a chip on your diamond, go to your jeweler as soon as you can. There you will have a few options.
The first option would be to recut your stone. If you choose that option, the jeweler will remove the broken section and reshape your diamond in a shape that you want. This will make your diamond a bit smaller than it was, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will lose value. If inclusions are removed or the symmetry and polish improve on the stone, the value may go up.
The second option is to ask your jeweler to reset your stone to hide a chip or a scratch. This is considered to be the most cost-effective method, but it only works if the damage on your ring is insignificant. If you have a diamond that is round, a jeweler can simply turn the stone so that the chipped area is hidden by a prong.
The last option you have is to replace your diamond. It is the easiest but also the most expensive way to fix a diamond that has a large fracture or has been damaged irreparably.
You can also get jewelry insurance, which protects you in these situations. Insurance will help you cover the cost of fixing or replacing a broken stone and can make those situations less stressful.
How Much Force Does it Take To Break A Diamond?
Diamond anvil experiments that created a high-pressure environment concluded that diamonds are able to withstand crushing pressures above 600 gigapascals, which is the same as 6 million atmospheres.
The diamonds that are used to make jewelry are broken by using laser and water together. This process is also used to cut the diamond into small pieces. Big diamonds are usually broken into a few smaller ones, depending on their size. When using laser and water to cut the diamond, the laser cuts it and the water cools it because laser cutting of diamonds produces a lot of heat.
You can crush a small diamond into pieces using a hammer with proper strike force because it is fragile in comparison with any metal objects. The closer you are to the cleave lines, the easier it is for you to crush it.
Why Can A Diamond Be So Easily Crushed But Not Scratched?
Diamond is the hardest material known, but that doesn’t mean that it is also the strongest. You can scratch steel with a diamond, but you can very easily break a diamond with a hammer. This shows that the diamond is hard, but the hammer is strong.
The internal structure of the material depends on whether something will be hard or strong. The internal structure of a diamond consists entirely of carbon atoms which are joined in a lattice-type structure. Each atom is a fixed distance from the other, and moving two of them closer or further away requires sudden and extreme force. That is what makes the diamond so hard, and why you are able to scratch any other material with it.
To explain what it means that material is strong, we will take steel as an example. Steel has an ionic structure. To make it more simple, let’s say that ionic structure is similar to that of a handful of raisins in a jar of honey. You can move any of the ions, and the force is easily absorbed. That is why, if you tried hitting steel with a hammer of any material and it would just absorb the blow by shifting the ions sideways instead of shattering. That’s what makes steel so strong. Diamonds are not very strong because they lack that very flexibility in their structure.
Some people may think it is impossible to crush a diamond. But it reality it’s fairly easy and simple to do. If your diamond has imperfections, lacks stability, hardness, and toughness, then crushing a diamond is not hard at all. With the right force on the right area of the diamond you can crush it using simple tools that you can find in your own home.
- Can you scratch a diamond? You can only scratch a diamond with another diamond. If the stone is not a diamond it will scratch with other materials.
- How to tell a diamond is real? In order to tell if a diamond is real, you need to place the stone in front of your mouth and, like a mirror, fog it up with your breath. If the stone stays fogged for a few seconds, then more than likely it is fake. Real diamonds will not fog up so easy since the condensation won’t stay on the surface.