Can Diamonds Get Scratched?

December 27, 2023

Imagine clinking your diamond ring against your metal belt buckle or accidentally banging your hand against a concrete wall. Instantly, you feel a cringe in your stomach as you envision a cruel scratch marring the diamond's flawless surface. You hesitate to look at your ring because you don't want to see the damage. What will you find when you get the courage to inspect your jewelry? Can it be repaired, or have you created an indelible mark?  
Read on to learn the truth about diamond scratches, how to keep your jewelry in tip-top sparkling shape, and what to do if your diamond gets damaged.   

Diamond Durability: The Toughest Gem in the Game

When it comes to grading minerals and other materials, the world turns to the Mohs scale, which ranks them from softest to hardest. At one end, rated with a 1, is talc, which crumbles with the lightest fingernail scratches. On the other end is a diamond, boasting a score of 10, the highest hardness rating a mineral can earn. Other gemstones that are softer than a diamond: a sapphire is a 9 on the Mohs scale, a topaz is an 8, an opal is a 6, and a pearl is a 4. If you've even noticed scratches on your gold or silver jewelry, that's because both rate a 2.5. The diamond is at the pinnacle of this scale, with a score of 10 on the Mohs scale. It holds the title of the hardest material in the natural world, a testament to its unparalleled strength and endurance. The diamond's superior hardness makes it the most sought-after gemstone for adornment and renders it invaluable in industrial applications where cutting, grinding, and drilling rigid materials are required. The scale, while neither linear nor absolute, provides a clear hierarchy of hardness that helps identify gemstones and understand their wearability, maintenance, and applications in various industries.

can diamonds get scratched mohs hardness scale


What makes natural diamonds immune to damage? It all boils down to their incredible atomic structure; unlike softer gems, carbon atoms bond in a rigid three-dimensional lattice to make diamonds, creating a material that no ordinary object can breach. The immovable tetrahedral lattice structure of diamonds is the cornerstone of their legendary strength and enduring nature.


Can You Scratch a Real Diamond?

Can your cat's playful claws leave a mark on your diamond pendant? Can sandpaper even dream of dulling a diamond's brilliance? Absolutely not! For everyday wear and tear, diamonds are virtually scratch-proof.
But don't let their near-invincibility fool you. There's one shining exception to the rule - the only thing that can truly scratch a diamond is another diamond. However, this doesn't mean you can't wear two diamond rings stacked on your finger. Most people wear their engagement ring right next to a diamond wedding band, which is fine since the stones in the rings can't physically scratch each other.


Scratch a Diamond with Metal

"Scratch a Diamond with Metal" is a phrase that often emerges in discussions about the authenticity and durability of diamonds, especially when assessing a white diamond. It's well-established that diamonds are renowned for being scratch proof, a critical identifier of their authenticity. This incredible resilience is due to the diamond's supreme position on the Mohs scale of hardness, boasting a rating of 10, the highest possible score. This means that a genuine white diamond should not shatter or get scratched when in contact with most metals, including those known for their strength and hardness.
In practical terms, if you were to take a piece of steel or tungsten carbide, both acknowledged for their durability and use in tools and jewelry, they would still be unable to mar a diamond's surface. Even a tool made of hardened steel, which can easily scratch softer minerals, would fail to leave an impression on a diamond's meticulously formed crystalline structure.
The only material that can cut or scratch a diamond is another diamond or materials with a similar structure, which is why jewelers often use diamond-tipped tools. When testing for authenticity, attempting to scratch a white diamond with a metal such as titanium, known for its impressive strength-to-density ratio, should yield no change on the diamond's pristine surface. This scratch resistance proves authenticity and ensures that the beauty and brilliance of diamonds endure a lifetime.


It is Possible to Scratch a Diamond With a Sandpaper?

Whether a diamond can be scratched by sandpaper is a curious question for many people who use sandpaper in various applications. While diamonds are nearly scratch-proof and possess a reputation for being hardy, the truth is that they are not utterly indestructible. On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, they reign supreme with a rating of 10, signifying their top-tier resistance to being scratched by anything softer.
Sandpaper grit, composed of various abrasive materials, may seem formidable, but it is no match for a diamond's robust structure. The grit you find on sandpaper typically ranges from coarse particles to fine, designed to wear down soft and hard surfaces. However, diamonds are almost entirely resistant to these effects. In the world of gemstones, diamonds are cut and set with tools with diamond dust embedded since diamonds can scratch other diamonds. This is because the only thing that can leave a mark on a diamond's surface is the exception of another diamond.
So, while spending a lot of time worrying about scratching your precious diamond on mundane objects is unnecessary, it is essential to remember that a diamond can scratch a diamond. This is a testament to the unique and unparalleled hardness of diamonds – they are the benchmark by which the hardness of other materials is often compared. Therefore, the idea that a diamond cannot be scratched by sandpaper holds; it remains unchallenged by the grit, maintaining its luster and composition without fear of ordinary wear and tear.


Can Diamond Rings Get Scratched Over Time?

Diamond rings, with their scintillating allure, are often seen as symbols of eternal commitment and resilience. However, many prospective buyers spend too much time worrying about the durability of their precious investment. It's a common myth that diamonds are indestructible. While it's true that it takes a great deal of force to scratch a diamond ring, they are not entirely scratch-proof and are one of the hardest substances known.
The central gem, mainly if it's a solitaire diamond, is highly resistant to scratches thanks to its robust molecular structure. That doesn't mean that diamonds can't be damaged. Rings or other settings, especially those made of softer metals, can accumulate scratches and dents over time, affecting the ring's overall appearance.
When considering a purchase that often involves weeks or even months before committing, it's essential to understand that caution should still be exercised, and you shouldn't spend too much time worrying about scratching your diamond. Routine activities are unlikely to harm the diamond; however, a direct blow can cause chipping. It's even rarer to see something that could scratch your diamond, as only another diamond or a material with comparable hardness can do so.


Can Diamonds Chip?

While natural diamonds are incredibly resistant to scratches, they aren't indestructible. Extreme pressure or forceful impact can chip or fracture them. You don't have to live in constant fear of dropping your diamond ring, but you should remember to treat your precious stones with respect. Be sure to remove your jewelry when doing activities that could expose them to intense pressure, like hammering nails or playing extreme sports.


How to Repair A Scratched Diamond?

Minor scratches are often invisible to the naked eye and don't significantly affect your diamond's value. However, for deeper scratches that catch your eye, professional help is available. Jewelers can often re-polish your diamond, gently buffing away the mark and restoring its pristine sparkle. Just remember, the process might ever so slightly reduce its carat weight, so weigh the options carefully. You want to preserve the original form and regain its dazzling brilliance.

Re-polishing isn't your only option. Laser treatments can offer a precise and effective solution for specific types of scratches. Imagine a tiny, microscopic laser wand gently repairing the damaged area, like a skilled surgeon stitching up a wound. Remember, the best approach depends on the severity of the scratch and your individual preferences. Consult a reputable jeweler or gemologist to help you choose the optimal treatment.


Keeping Your Diamonds Scratch-Free & Sparkly

Think of these tips as your diamond's shield against scratches:

Separate Your Sparklers: Store each diamond piece in a soft pouch to keep it away from other jewelry that might accidentally clash. Then, put all the pouches in a secure box or safe. Or, consider buying a special jewelry box with individual velvet-lined spaces to protect valuable items.

can diamonds get scratched

Know Your Battlefield: Remove your diamond jewelry before engaging in harsh activities like gardening or DIY projects. Remember, even Roman gladiators wouldn't have entered the arena adorned with their finest jewels.

Regular TLC: Gentle cleaning with specialized solutions and soft cloths will keep your diamonds dazzling and prevent dust build-up that could lead to micro-scratches. It's like a spa day for your sparklers.

Professional Checkups: Schedule regular deep cleanings and inspections with a jeweler. They can safely remove deeper grime, identify potential issues, like tiny fractures that might otherwise go unnoticed, and recommend preventative measures.


Diamond Jewelry Can Last Forever

A diamond's durability means these stones can stand the test of time, becoming treasured heirlooms passed down through generations and embodying stories of love, joy, and resilience.

So, wear your diamonds with confidence and embrace their near-invincibility. Let them sparkle on your finger, around your neck, or in your ear. But also use good judgment - removing your engagement or wedding ring when engaging in risky activities is easier than repairing it after it's been damaged.

Treat your precious jewels with respect, and don't worry about everyday bumps and scratches - your diamonds are tough and will shine on as long as they are cared for.

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