The diamond is the hardest substance known to man. In fact, its name derives from the Greek word adamas, which means invincible. And hardness measures the resistance to scratching. It is graded from a scale of 1 ( being the softest) to 10 (the hardest) on the Moh’s Hardness Scale. And diamond, being the hardest substance, has a rating of 10. Therefore, the only thing that can scratch a diamond is another diamond. In fact, diamond cutters use specially diamond tipped drills to polish a diamond rough. The hardness of diamonds contributes to its suitability as a gemstone.
However, a diamond’s hardness depends on its purity, therefore a flawless diamond would have a higher hardness. A diamond that was more pure could scratch one of a lower purity content.
And the benefit of owning diamond jewelry is the fact that it maintains its polish extremely well; keeping it’s lovely luster over long periods of time because nothing else can scratch it other than another diamond. This makes diamond jewelry the perfect accessory to be worn daily due to its strong resistance to scratching—especially for engagement/wedding rings (since engagement rings and wedding bands are jewelry that is commonly worn everyday).
Another factor that is related to hardness (but not to be mistaken for the same thing) is toughness. Toughness is a material’s ability to resist breakage from forceful impact. The toughness of a natural diamond measures out to 7.5–10 MPa·m1/2. And in comparison to other gemstones, this is a high value. However, when measuring with more tough materials such as some engineering instruments, this is considered low.
And many people often believe that because a diamond is the hardest substance known to man, it cannot be chipped or broken. However, this belief is false. A diamond can actually chip because they naturally grow and crystallize with cleavage lines. And if these lines were struck at the right angle and with the right amount of impact, the diamond can actually be broken into two. The same goes for a tree. If you struck a tree at a certain angle and with enough force, the tree can split all the way down the line. And to diamonds, cleavage lines are the diamond’s “kryptonite” or weak spots. Furthermore, when a diamond cutter cuts a diamond rough into a polished diamond the diamonds are cut and shaped following these various cleavage lines.
But other than that, diamonds are still considered very durable and make the perfect jewelry! If you would like to see and learn more about diamonds, please feel free to contact us at 213-689-9659. We are located in the heart of the Downtown Los Angeles Diamond and Jewelry District.