We always hear diamonds last forever, and in theory they do. After all, a diamond is stable, extremely hard, and somewhat tough. Can you destroy a diamond? Yes. The truth is, nothing is indestructible, even a diamond. It’s important to protect your diamond, as well as take care of it properly.
The Good News
- Diamonds are very stable and invulnerable to virtually all acids. They can also withstand higher temperatures than most gemstones. CAUTION: Sudden extreme temperature changes can cause damage.
- Diamonds are the hardest known natural mineral on both the Mohs and Knoop scales, which characterize a mineral’s scratch resistance through the ability of a harder material to scratch a softer material. CAUTION: Diamonds are relatively brittle and will chip or fracture if they are not protected.
- Diamonds are tougher in the directions where the atoms are bonded tightly together, less tough where they’re not so tightly bonded. CAUTION: Diamonds can chip or fracture from hard impact, especially in areas where the carbon atoms are not tightly bonded, or cleavage planes.
5 Ways to Destroy a Diamond
Chemicals That Can Destroy a Diamond. There is nothing better than a sparkly shiny diamond, but certain chemicals will do more damage long term to your diamond.
- A gentle cleanser won’t damage your ring, but the soap can build up and dull the shine.
- Hand sanitizer can make the finish on some types of jewelry wear away faster. Over time, the chemicals can diminish the brilliance of jewelry, in some cases permanently.
- Diamond rings and chemicals such as bleach, as well as shampoo and moisturizers, can be a bad combination. They can damage the metals for diamond settings, and abrasive cleaning products or cleaning brushes can scratch the gold.
- Moisturizing soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and lotions will leave a film on the ring, reducing its shine.
- Chlorine eats away at metals that are alloyed with gold, and that may lead to tiny bubbles inside your jewelry, making them weaker and more brittle, this can cause your prongs to wear away and cause your diamond to fall out.
Activities Can Destroy a Diamond. We all want to be active. Okay, not everyone, but if you have an active lifestyle and don’t want to destroy a diamond, take your ring off if you are doing the following activities.
- Impact sports
- Rock climbing
- Snorkeling and scuba diving
- Working with power tools
- Cleaning with harsh chemicals
- Moving furniture
- Lifting weights
Settings that Can Destroy a Diamond. We all want the diamond to be the centerpiece of the ring, and the settings can be more and more complex. In fact, the setting can damage the diamond before you even have it on your finger. To set the diamond properly, pressure must be applied to the diamond. This pressure can chip or crack the diamond, particularly with fancy shapes like marquise, pear, and hearts.
A tension setting holds a diamond in place using a groove cut into the metal that the girdle fits into, while the two ends of the ring press tightly against the diamond’s sides. The mounting is already putting pressure on the diamond at two opposing locations on the girdle. Hitting the side of the ring puts even more stress on the girdle. This style also leaves the exposed sides of a diamond vulnerable to damage.
The Cut of the Diamond. A perfect diamond for you is the shape you have always dreamed of. It looks beautiful on your finger, shows off your hand, and the diamond is highlighted by your fingers. But there are some things that you need to be aware of when you are choosing your shape.
- Any shape of diamond with points or sharp corners is more exposed to chipping at the corners. Some cutters are now using a technique that is called chamfering that puts a small facet at the end of the corners. Vulnerable points or corners are better protected with bezels, partial bezels, or V-shaped prongs.
- All culets run the risk of chipping. That is the sharp point at the bottom of the diamond. But, if they are set correctly, the risk of that point chipping is minimal.
- Girdles with very thin places along the sides or at the corners and points are at a much higher risk of damage. In fact, a strong blow can break a diamond at the girdle. A thicker girdle is more difficult to chip.
- A diamond with many inclusions located near the girdle and/or points is more prone to chipping or breaking. Sometimes there can be a small feather or other small inclusion near the girdle or point that also makes the diamond vulnerable. If the stone is hit precisely on a feather or inclusion near the direction of a cleavage plane or at a point, a chip is likely to occur. When you are buying your diamond, be sure to look at the diamond certification to see where all the imperfections are in your diamond.
Setting Wear and Tear. You are going to wear your diamond every day, and you should. But it’s important to take note of wear and tear that can take place on the setting that can destroy a diamond. We have already discussed how there are many chemicals that can erode the metal on your ring, but here is something else to consider. For instance, If the prongs holding the gem in place in a piece of jewelry become bent or broken or if the diamond is loose in the mounting, this can cause a diamond to chip.
Prevent the Damage to a Diamond Before it Happens
It is important to periodically check your ring for cracks, chips, and especially prongs. When you do clean your ring, this is the perfect time to check for other things that you might not think about, before it is too late, and the diamond is destroyed.
- If your diamond becomes repeatedly snagged on clothing or other objects, consider the possibility that the claw needs to be fixed or even redesigned.
- Do a visual check for cracks or chips in your diamond. If anything appears different from when you bought it, consult your diamond wholesaler. If you still have the paperwork from when you purchased the diamond, compare your ring to the picture on the paperwork.
- Hold the ring close to your ear and tap it with your finger. If you can hear a rattling noise, this is a sure sign that something is loose and should be repaired.
Any diamond or chip or even crack, and all settings should be checked and fixed. Jonathan’s Fine Jewelers will repair setting for you and replace diamonds. We have a guarantee on our craftsmanship and our diamonds, but even with that and the wear and tear of life, things can still happen. So, don’t destroy a diamond and follow the simple steps above.
If you would like to have your diamond looked at because you are worried, please contact us. We would be happy to take a look….whether or not you bought the stone from us or not!