As you may already know, diamond is the hardest material on Earth – and no other material can scratch it apart from another diamond. But diamonds aren’t that strong and can, despite popular belief, be broken.
The question is: How much force does it take to break a diamond?
Interestingly enough, a sharp, precise blow with a hammer should do the trick. Not only that, you could accidentally end up breaking your diamond if you hit it against some hard surface.
While this can be unfortunate, there’s a way to get yourself protected in these circumstances.
If you wish to learn how to avoid financial losses, if you do end up chipping or breaking your precious diamond, be sure to keep scrolling!
Can You Really Break A Diamond?
Technically speaking, yes, a diamond can indeed be broken. However, in practice, it’s difficult to break one: You would have to hit it in the right spot and ensure that you use enough force.
Here’s the science behind diamond and breaking: To say that something is strong isn’t the same as saying it’s hard.
For example, you can scratch a steel bar with a diamond – but you could pretty easily shatter a diamond with a steel hammer. The diamond is hard, while the hammer is strong.
Whether something is strong or hard depends on its internal structure.
As you might already know, a diamond is made entirely out of carbon atoms connected in a lattice-type form. Each carbon atom is at a set distance from the next one. Moving them further away or closer together requires extreme and sudden force.
That is what makes the diamond so hard – and that’s why it’s able to scratch any other material.
On the other hand, steel has an ionic structure. In simple terms, steel’s composition is similar to that of a couple of raisins in a jar of, let’s say, honey: You can move the ions (“raisins”) quickly, which means that any force is absorbed pretty easily, too.
Hit a steel bar with a hammer made of any material, and it will absorb the blow by shifting the ions sideways. Thus, it won’t shatter.
That’s what makes steel incredibly strong and very workable. On that note, the lack of flexibility in their internal structure means diamonds aren’t particularly strong – despite being hard.
Related Read: Do Diamonds Break Under Pressure?
How Do Diamond Cutters Break Diamonds?
You might be wondering, how does any diamond ever get to its finished state – one that we all love and respect – if nothing else can even scratch it. That’s a fair question.
The first stage of processing a diamond in a rough state is separating it into the highest possible number of individual stones. That’s done by utilizing the so-called cleave lines within each rough diamond.
A cleave line is a tetrahedral plane of the diamond, and it’s the gem’s weak spot.
With a sharp hit of a special cleaving tool, the rough diamond will split along cleave lines. The drawback here is that a rough diamond has four cleave lines – each of them could impact how many single stones the rough diamond can produce.
In some cases, examining a rough stone could take weeks – or even months – before selecting a particular cleave line. That’s especially true for diamonds that were commissioned for specific purposes.
Can You Break A Diamond With A Hammer?
Technically speaking, yes, a diamond can be broken by a hammer, but it can be somewhat hard to achieve that. In most cases, you could smash the stone with a hammer repeatedly – and it won’t do anything to the diamond.
Here are some things you have to do to make it easier to break a diamond using a hammer – if that’s what you want, that is:
- Find a diamond that has inclusions.
- Aim the hammer blow to inflict the most force against the weakest internal spot of the diamond.
- Don’t let the diamond jump up when you hit it. In most cases, the hammer blow will weaken as the diamond moves away from the impact point.
How Do Polished Diamonds Break?
While somewhat easy to “exploit” in rough diamonds, the weak points we’ve mentioned earlier are still present in polished stones, as well.
Due to the structure of the diamond, there’s always a risk of chipping the stone if you hit it right. It doesn’t even need to be a hard blow or an insanely hard object; just hitting the gem at exactly the right spot could split it in half.
It’s not rare for engagement rings to be missing a piece out of the girdle or crown of a diamond. The type of cut can expose some weaker parts of the stone more than others – nevertheless, all are at potential risk.
Keeping Your Diamond Safe
If this all sounds like you have to worry a lot about your diamonds, you don’t. Luck – or bad luck – and a bit of common sense is what determines whether your stone will survive for a lifetime or not.
As long as you’re aware of your diamond ring, you don’t need to be paranoid about it – if you get that way, the enjoyment of wearing your diamond will disappear.
You wouldn’t intentionally do things that would damage your expensive watch, right? The same goes for your engagement ring: You don’t need to constantly take it off – just as you wouldn’t take off your watch. We’re advising you just to be mindful.
Related Read: Should I Take Off My Rings At Night?
Can Diamonds Chip?
The sad fact is that you can’t repair broken or chipped diamonds. You would either have to live with a damaged diamond or get it replaced.
Also, it’s unlikely that your damaged stone will have much of a trade-in value.
Depending on the location of the damage and the size of the stone, it may be possible to have it re-cut. However, unless it’s a large stone and the damage is purely superficial, you’d be lucky to get more than $200 for any chipped diamond.
But you have your diamond ring insured, right? And you made sure to include damage and loss as part of the policy? Well, in that case, you don’t have to worry.
But if you don’t have your diamond ring insured, we’ve got you covered; read on.
What Is Engagement Ring Insurance?
Engagement ring insurance is a contractual method of risk management that protects you from financial impacts in the case of loss, damage – or theft. The policies usually extend to all jewelry items presented to the coverage scope and lead to repair, replacement, or cost reimbursement.
It’s a beneficial thing to have if you’re wearing an expensive diamond on your hand.
Engagement Ring Insurance Cost
The insurance rate is determined by several variables based on the risk characteristics.
The cost of coverage varies considerably based on multiple factors, including the value of your engagement ring, where you live, and whether your policy has a deductible.
Premiums are always higher for policies with lower deductibles, by the way.
Insurance usually costs between 1% to 3% of the item’s value – but it can go outside this range depending on individual risk characteristics.
So, on average, expect to pay 1-3% for about every $100 your diamond ring’s worth. In theory, you can then expect a premium of $100-$300 a year for a $10,000 gem.
Tips For Insuring Your Engagement Ring
Your soon-to-be fiance could insure the engagement ring as soon as it’s bought. You might not be thinking of anything bad happening to the ring, but the sooner it’s insured, the sooner you’ll be sure it’s protected.
Once the ring is purchased, you and your partner can start looking for ring insurance providers.
The timeline can vary based on the individual case – coverage can be provided straight away or might take an estimated two to four business days.
Choose A Coverage Provider
When it comes to insuring your diamond engagement ring – or any other valuable items – you’ll have two options.
If you have homeowner’s insurance, you can buy an extension that covers your ring specifically. However, you should remember that a jewelry claim submitted against your homeowner’s policy could potentially impact your entire policy.
So, if your diamond engagement ring gets lost or stolen, your entire homeowner’s policy could potentially be affected at renewal.
If you don’t have homeowner’s insurance, you could also get a policy through a company that specializes in jewelry insurance. These independent companies are also worth looking into if your insurance provider doesn’t include the specific coverage you require.
Most homeowners’ insurance policies do cover jewelry to some extent. However, in many cases, coverage is limited in terms of value, replacement options, and covered scenarios.
Ask The Right Questions
Being properly informed is the most crucial thing when deciding which insurance provider or option is best suited to your needs.
Be sure to ask the potential insurance policy provider some essential questions, such as:
- Can you select who repairs the ring?
- Where can you buy a new ring if you’re insured for replacement?
- What happens if a replacement can’t be found?
- How will you need to prove the engagement ring vanished if you make a claim?
- Are there any circumstances that aren’t covered?
- Are you covered for damage or just theft and loss?
- Will the policy regulate according to inflation?
Whenever you insure anything valuable, it’s crucial to understand your insurance policy. As you get answers to your questions, you’ll also get an idea of which providers can offer you the best engagement ring insurance.
Get An Appraisal
If you don’t know the ring’s worth, you can’t protect its value.
Most insurance companies will generally require an appraisal for higher value pieces, while a receipt or invoice is sufficient for less expensive items.
Get A Diamond Certificate Or Grading Report
Suppose your diamond is around 0.5 carat or larger. In that case, your jeweler will usually provide a certificate or a grading report from one of the independent and reliable gemological labs, such as the GIA.
This quality evaluation lists all of the characteristics your appraiser will require to make the most accurate assessment of value. The specific info can also aid in tracking down your diamond if it ever gets stolen.
Be Sure Your Appraiser Has Proper Credentials
Find a trusted and reputable appraiser, preferably someone that holds a graduate gemology degree and is a member of NAPA (National Association of Professional Appraisers).
Additionally, ensure that appraisal value is accurate.
Sure, you might be thrilled that the diamond ring that you paid $2000 for is appraised at double that amount, but you could end up losing money in the long run.
You’ll pay a much higher monthly premium for an engagement ring that appraises for $4000.
Remember To Reappraise
The good news is your diamond ring was a smart investment. Because its value has probably gone up since you bought it, it’s crucial to have the ring re-appraised every three years for insurance-related purposes.
Most appraisers generally retain a copy of your original appraisal – they can work from that rather than starting from scratch.
But just to be sure, you can bring a copy of your original appraisal if the appraiser doesn’t keep records for that long.
Even though diamonds are the hardest material on Earth, meaning they can’t be scratched, they aren’t that strong. That means that you can break them somewhat easily – if you know how to do it, that is.
So, how much force does it take to break a diamond?
Well, a sharp and precise blow with a hammer is all it takes to break a diamond.
You could also damage your diamond unknowingly, by accident, if you hit it against some hard surface. To avoid financial impact when if you do chip or break your diamond, be sure to get it insured right after you buy it!
Related Read: Can A Diamond Break In Half?