Can Diamonds be scratched?
Diamonds are the hardest-known minerals on the planet. They have a hardness of 10 on the Moh scale. That’s pretty tough. And so, coming to the question of whether you can scratch a diamond, the answer is yes. But. You cannot just scratch it with a pin. Or with any other gemstone since they typically are softer than diamonds. A diamond can only be scratched by another diamond.
Diamonds are very tough. But not invincible. A diamond can scratch another diamond but not enough to chip it. The chances of your diamond being scratched by another are pretty slim. And it won’t happen unless done on purpose. So you don’t have to overly worry about them being scratched. A scratched diamond can also be repaired. But you might risk losing some carat weight in the process. Most commonly, diamonds are repaired by polishing. Polishing can remove surface-level scratches without impacting their weight significantly.
Recutting a diamond will not be necessary unless the scratches are very severe. If you happen to have your diamond scratched accidentally, check the terms of your insurance policy to make sure you don’t lose out on the coverage.
Another fact to note is that if the diamond you own is scratched, then it is most like to be a fake. Fake diamonds can get scratched easily when knocked by other objects. Because a real diamond can only be scratched by another diamond. However, earth-mined diamonds and lab-grown ones are equally hard. So you may not be able to differentiate between them by a scratch test.
There are many ways in which a gem cutter cuts a diamond that leaves then vulnerable to damage. Diamonds are also not entirely invincible in their composition. Diamonds are made up of carbon atoms, which are arranged in a lattice structure. These lattice structures are incredibly strong, but they do have some weak spots too.
The atoms at the corners of the lattice are not as strongly bonded as those in the middle. As a result, these atoms at the corners are most vulnerable and can break off from the structure when hit with a hard object. This leaves a small groove or valley on the surface of the diamond. These faults may not be visible to the naked eye but can be noticed from under a microscope.
To test if your diamond is real or not, you can try scratching it with sandpaper. If they do not get scratched, they are diamonds. But if they do, then they are probably made of similar material like cubic zirconia.
Ways to Destroy a Diamond
While generally, only diamonds can scratch other diamonds, there are some metals that can damage, too, provided they are very sharp, and enough force is exerted. A very sharp knife can chip a diamond if you bring it down with a lot of force. Concrete can scratch a diamond if they both come into contact with lots of force.
Diamonds will also be damaged when burnt at very high temperatures. A jeweler torch that can produce very high temperatures can damage a diamond beyond repair. The melting point of a diamond is 4500 degrees Celsius. There are also some acids that can dissolve diamonds in some controlled conditions.
Diamonds are hard but not necessarily long-lasting. Like all materials, they absorb energy. Strong enough forces can shatter their atomic bonds, especially at their soft spots, causing them to shatter and break. Though diamonds cannot be completely wiped off the face of the earth, they can be lost, burnt or shattered in a hydraulic press.
How to avoid diamonds being scratched?
The only way to avoid diamonds being scratched is to be very careful about it. Don’t assume they are invincible because they are diamonds. Be careful when storing them. Do not keep them with other diamonds because they can cause damage when rubbed against each other. And avoid wearing more than one piece of diamond jewelry at once because when they come into contact with each other, they can scratch. Do not use harsh chemicals or scrubs to clean them.
If your diamond looks scratched, it could be because it’s dirty. Clean it using a soft cloth and mild detergent. If it still looks scratched, then it probably is or could be chipped or damaged.
Have your diamonds cleaned and inspected regularly by a professional. This will help prevent damage and prevent scratches. But generally, diamonds are known for their scratch-resistant and hard nature. So you have to worry too much about protecting a diamond. They are perfectly suited for everyday wear and will not be damaged easily.
Also, learn about fluorescent diamonds and whether UV light can damage a diamond.
One sure fire way to assure yourself that your diamond is real is to check if it has a serial number. Read this article for the answer to “Do Diamonds have serial numbers?“