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Can a Diamond Chip or Break?

May 17, 2013 2 min read

Can a diamond chip or break?  The answer may surprise you!!  If enough pressure is put onto a diamond, it can break and/or chip.  Many customers that I speak with on a daily basis are shocked to hear this.  I’m sure some may not even believe me.  For some reason, many people do not believe that a diamond can chip but believe me, it’s true!  A diamond can break.  I believe that this misunderstanding comes from customers hearing that diamonds are hard and not fully understanding what hardness means.

Diamond is the hardest mineral on Earth coming in at 10 on Mohs scale of hardness.  The Mohs scale of hardness was created by Friedrich Mohs, a German mineralogist, in 1812 and it measures how well a mineral resists scratching.  The scale ranges from 1-10 (10 being the hardest) and basically a mineral can scratch any level below it and it can be scratched by any mineral above it.  For example, corundum (this includes rubies and sapphires) comes in at a 9.  Since diamond is a 10, a diamond can scratch corundum but corundum can not scratch a diamond.  Keep in mind that this scale has to do with scratching and not breaking.

I believe that when people hear that a diamond is the hardest mineral on Earth, that they honestly believe that nothing can break it and chip it.  My goal in writing this is to inform people about what hardness actually means and to clear up the misunderstanding about diamonds not being able to break.  Any diamond can chip or break.  For example, if enough pressure if placed on a loose diamond during the setting process, it can chip.  A few weeks ago, I wrote about diamond girdles and how having enough carat weight in the girdle can protect the diamond from chipping and/or breaking.  This is a great thought to have in mind when searching for that perfect loose diamond.  Remember too, that diamonds can also chip from normal everyday wear so it’s best to remember that you are wearing a piece of fine jewelry and to take extra special care of your diamond jewelry.


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