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Can Diamonds Withstand A Nuke?

Can Diamonds Withstand A Nuke?

If you have read our articles so far, then you probably know that diamonds are very strong and valuable gems. However, are they strong enough to withstand full-blown disasters?

Over the years, diamonds have been the subject of research, and professionals were able to extract and learn many things about these gems. One of them was their resistance to fires and explosions – and that’s going to be our topic for today. Can diamonds withstand a nuke?

Unfortunately, they can’t. Diamonds might be strong, but they’re not strong enough to withstand such an explosion.

If you scroll down, you’ll have a chance to read about the strength of a diamond, the level of heat that it can withstand – and many more interesting facts that you didn’t know before!

Diamonds Are Destructible

Diamonds are destructible, and NO, they definitely can’t withstand a nuclear bomb.

What we’ll try to answer first is how nuclear fallout happens and what triggers it. And, well, in short, nuclear bombs are the results of a precisely manufactured chemical composition designed for destruction.

A quick digression: You probably know that the first nuclear bomb was created with the intention to harm the human population and was dropped in Hiroshima in 1945. That’s a piece of history you had to learn in school.

However, you don’t need additional knowledge to confirm the fact that nukes are dangerous.

Since we’re on the topic of diamonds, this might interest you: Nuclear bombs involve a force of enormous power and energy that holds the nucleus of the atom together. The interesting thing is that diamonds also consist of atoms. Well, everything does. 

So, more precisely, they are solid particles of carbon with specifically arranged atoms.

When an atom located in a radioactive environment splits, there is a sudden and significant release of energy – a nuclear fallout.

You should also know that diamonds are flammable and that under a certain temperature, they can burn. In fact, you don’t need to start a nuclear explosion to destroy your diamond; it just needs heat and oxygen.

That doesn’t mean that you should try to destroy it, but out of curiosity, what happens next?

If you happen to be in a situation like this, your diamond won’t immediately ignite and blow up like you may have thought. On the contrary, this will happen in steps.

First, it’ll show a light blue flame, after which your diamond will turn red and slowly disappear – evaporate. That’s all the result of carbon. You should also know that this won’t be over in a couple of seconds.

It will definitely take some time before your diamond turns to dust.

If you’ve been wondering about the exact temperature that can destroy your diamond, we’re talking somewhere between 800 and 1000 degrees Celsius. Given that 800 degrees Celsius is not your average temperature, you’ll need much more than a hot summer day to burn your diamond.

When diamonds burn, they evaporate either carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide.

Learn More: Do Diamonds Oxidize? Do Diamonds Vaporize?

Does A Burnt Diamond Turn Into Graphite?

Here’s a question that you may have anticipated. What does a burning diamond turn into in the end?

In most cases, it doesn’t turn into anything. As we mentioned, the gem will just evaporate into CO and CO2.

Some people believe that diamonds turn into graphite when they burn, but that’s not entirely true. For millions of years, diamonds have turned into graphite without the presence of heat.

Diamonds turn into graphite way before their melting or burning point.

Read Also: What Is The Difference Between Diamonds And Graphite?

Can Diamonds Melt?

Again, yes.

Just as they can burn, diamonds have a melting point, too. It is slightly higher, and it can be reached if the environment in which your diamond is found reaches 4,500 degrees Celsius and a pressure of 100,000 bar.

So, again, this is not something that can be classified as a daily occurrence. 

The very thought of a “liquid diamond” is not something that happens often, so to change the state of your diamond, in addition to high degrees and pressure, you’ll also need a suitable environment – a laboratory.

Can you melt a diamond on your own? No, unless you’re a scientist.

And scientists made it happen; that is, they made a machine that can do it. The Z machine, which in 2006 melted a diamond in New Mexico, used a variety of pressures and magnetic fields.

The lab is not the only place where a diamond can be melted. Lava could also do the trick. Only here, you don’t have a visual of the process; you have to assume that the temperature will be high enough.

See Also: Can Acid Dissolve Or Melt Diamonds?

If Diamonds Can Burn, Can They Freeze?

It’s a no – for the first time in this article.

Diamonds can burn, they can’t withstand explosions, but they can’t freeze. That is because they are already in a solid state, and they are solely made out of carbon.

Diamonds are made to be one of the strongest gemstones, and as you know, they score a 10 on the Mohs scale. That makes them resistant to low temperatures – even blizzards.

If you leave your diamond in your freezer overnight, you won’t find an ice block. It’ll just be unbearably cold. Of course, we’re not advising you to try this out – we’re just saying.

Sadly, we can’t say the same for house fires.

Are diamonds supposed to be cold?

Nope. These gems are not supposed to be frozen or cold, for that matter. If you’ve been in the business for some time, you might have noticed the temperature differences.

Here’s a hint: Fake diamonds (lousy glass copies) will generally act chilly at first touch, whereas the real deal will have a certain warmth to it. 

That’s one of the reasons that jewelers use diamond testers; a majority of them detect fake diamonds by measuring the temperature.

Can Diamonds Withstand Pressure?

Yes. Diamonds are able to withstand high pressures. That is because they are created under high pressures during which atoms are bonded together.

A diamond can approximately withstand the crushing pressure of 600 gigapascals!

That makes you wonder if diamonds can crack, huh? 

Yes, even though diamonds are one of the strongest materials used in many industries, they can have breaks and cracks. That might be a consequence of their formation.

Your diamond won’t be split in half if you drop it from a window or stairs. It takes much more than this – it takes a lot of force at a certain angle.

As we have just discovered, extreme weather conditions can be a reason for your diamond to crack.

Read More: Do Diamonds Break Under Pressure?

How To Fix A Chipped Diamond?

Let’s assume that a hydraulic pipe won’t destroy your diamond and that the worst damage that can happen to it is a chip. Still, it’s not something you want to see.

How do you fix a chipped diamond? Do you take it back to your jeweler? There are a couple of ways in which you can fix this – and we’re going to list them now.

First and foremost, if it’s a smaller diamond, you can take it back to the jeweler and replace it. Note that this will probably be much easier with a smaller diamond. If you have a larger gem that’s been chipped, you might not get a replacement so quickly.

If a larger diamond has been chipped, you can consider taking it to the jewelry store to get it re-cut. That’s usually the choice of those who have sentimental value towards that diamond and want to preserve it.

Unlike the other example, smaller diamonds are, in most cases, not worth re-cutting. Some of them can’t even be re-cut – and you’re going to have to ask your jeweler for advice.

The last thing you can consider is mixing it with another jewelry piece or designing a new setting that can cover up the chipped part. That usually works for rings and earrings – and there are always new and interesting designs that you can try.

You can even be creative and design one of your own!

Read Also:

Does Jewelry Insurance Cover Explosions?

In a sense, yes.

Many people who are concerned about their jewelry opt for jewelry insurance to protect their valuables. You just need to get it on time.

Most homeowners insurance covers some type of damage, but what? Here are the most common perils of Homeowners Insurance listed:

  • Theft
  • Housefire
  • Explosions
  • Civil disturbances
  • Smoke damage
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Pipe freezing
  • Damage caused by the water heater cracking

By seeing this, you’re confident that it will protect your diamond in case a nuclear bomb goes off – although we hope it never comes to this. Honestly, a diamond will be the last thing you’ll worry about in such a scenario.

Still, the best insurance for you would be Jewelry Protection Insurance. Here’s some crucial information about that type of insurance:

Type Of CoverageCoverageLimitDeductiblePremium
Jewelry protectioninsuranceAll accidents and unintentional eventsAppraised valueMay have a deductibleBased on value and items

The Dos And Don’ts Of Diamond Care

Taking care of your diamond is not that hard, but you still need to follow specific rules to ensure that your diamond will not get damaged. These are certain things you should and should not do.

You should… 

  • Clean your diamond regularly. Whether it is a small diamond ring or a larger stone with sentimental value, it is imperative to set aside a few minutes a couple of times a year and clean your diamond.
  • Keep ring dishes on your bedside table. This trick has managed to help many times and saved diamond owners from losing their rings when they go to sleep. Keep in mind that it’s not comfortable to sleep with bulky jewelry, anyway.
  • Remove jewelry when handling difficult jobs. If you are doing some physical work or simply cooking, washing, swimming, it’s advisable to take off your diamond ring or any other jewelry that you’re wearing at the time. Hands-on activities are the most common causes of jewelry loss and damage.

You shouldn’t…

  • Leave your diamond anywhere in the house. If you’re already careful about when you wear a diamond, keep in mind that leaving it anywhere isn’t a good idea at all. You might forget where you left it – or in the worst case, someone can steal it.
  • Don’t clean your diamond with harsh chemicals. Cleaning is one thing, but doing it with harsh chemicals can significantly damage your diamond. If you do not know how to do this yourself, book a professional cleaning.
  • Don’t put it through wear and tear. Just because your diamond is strong, that doesn’t mean you should go and rub it against other materials. Be gentle with your jewelry!

Summing Up

We answered the question, “Can a diamond withstand a nuke?” Now, let’s go through the main points one more time.

In short, diamonds can’t withstand a nuke. Sure, they might be strong, but they’re not strong enough to withstand such an explosion. Diamonds are actually flammable, and they can burn if the temperature is too high.

So your diamond can burn if the temperature exceeds 800 degrees Celsius. It won’t go off in flames, though; it will simply disappear. A nuclear explosion is not the only natural disaster that can destroy your diamond. They can also burn in lava and other extreme weather conditions. However, a diamond cannot freeze.

So far, you’ve seen that diamonds are known for their hardness, but that doesn’t exclude you from taking care of them properly. And if you’re worried that your diamond may be damaged or destroyed in some kind of accident – or even explosion – consider purchasing insurance.

Related Read: Can You Insure A Lab-grown Diamond?