Have you ever heard that diamonds are the hardest natural substance known to man? This is generally considered to be true due to the internal lattice-like structure of carbon atoms that make up a diamond. This makes them durable and resistant to scratches, but that doesn't mean they're indestructible.
Unfortunately, diamonds can break under certain circumstances, so it is important to know how to avoid causing damage to your diamonds, and what to do if your diamond breaks.
How Do You Break A Diamond?
Every jeweler probably has a collection of chipped and broken diamonds they've collected from their customers over the years. When asked how their diamonds were damaged, most people can only shrug their shoulders and say, "I don't know!"
The truth is, most people put their fine jewelry through a lot of wear and tear without realizing it just through the kinds of movements they make on a daily basis. A diamond won't shatter if you drop it, but it could absolutely chip from a powerful, accidental blow. And don’t forget, a diamond is a very small object as compared to your body. So, sometimes movements that you would consider “nothing,” actually put an incredible amount of pound-force on the much-smaller diamond.
How Strong Are Diamonds?
In a fracture toughness test, a natural diamond measures fairly high (2.0 MPa-m1/2) which is good compared to other gemstones like aquamarine, but poor compared to the toughness of most engineering materials. While there may not be many naturally-occurring materials out there that are stronger than diamonds, certain man-made metals like tungsten and steel have a higher tensile strength. That means a direct hit with an ordinary hammer can absolutely break a diamond.
How To Avoid Damaging Your Diamonds
People commonly break their diamond jewelry in the form of chips on the girdle, where the prongs grip the diamond’s outer edge; or in the case of fancy shapes that have points, one of the points can catch on a sharp surface and break off.
Be mindful of making erratic movements that may cause your diamonds or fine jewelry to be accidentally hit. Remove your diamond rings and earrings before swimming or exposure to heavy lotions or harsh chemicals that may weaken the integrity of your diamond settings. When not in use, store your precious diamonds in a safe place wrapped in a soft cloth or kept in a box. In essence, treat them with the utmost care.
What To Do If You Broke Your Diamond?
Most broken diamonds can be recut by a professional diamond cutter. Alara is proud to have Maarten de Witte (founder of the American Diamond Cutting School) as our diamond cutter, and he regularly performs miracles. Typically, provided a diamond hasn’t cleaved into two nearly-equal pieces or shattered, his ability to retain weight is unparalleled. He can either cut diamonds in the same cutting style as it originally had--or make suggestions for changes or improvements. Of course, at some point, recutting a diamond is not sensible from a monetary perspective. So, since you now know diamond recutting is possible in case of a break, how do you pay for that service?
The best financial protection against damaged diamonds is good jewelry insurance coverage. Partial losses, such as chipped stones, aren't typically covered under regular homeowners policies. To ensure your jewelry is protected against all kinds of losses, choose a standalone policy for your jewelry like the ones offered by Alara Jewelry. To protect yourself on damage to the setting, Alara recommends a jewelry maintenance plan, which requires regular jewelry inspections and cleanings (at no cost to you). Contact us today!