Diamonds Chip. Here’s what you need to know.
Yes, your diamond can chip! Why it happens and how you can protect your sparkle!
As a graduate gemologist, I love answering questions about diamonds. As a jewelry consultant for insurance companies, the question I am asked most frequently is about why diamonds chip. How is that even possible if diamonds are the hardest mineral on Earth? Let’s start with semantics. Hardness does not equal toughness. Hardness means that diamonds are scratch-resistant to any other minerals and materials. Hardness doesn’t mean that diamonds are indestructible. And so, while only a diamond can scratch another diamond, that same diamond can chip, dulling the sparkle of even the most exquisite stones. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the science behind why diamonds chip and explore effective ways to prevent this from happening.
To understand why diamonds chip, it’s crucial to grasp the structure of these remarkable gems. Diamonds are composed of carbon atoms arranged in a crystal lattice structure. This structure is what gives diamonds their renowned hardness. In this structure are cleavage planes, which are specific directions along which the crystal lattice structure can be easily split. While diamonds are incredibly hard, if force is applied along these cleavage planes, it can lead to chipping.
Natural diamonds often contain inclusions or impurities within their structure. These imperfections can create weak points in the diamond, making it more susceptible to chipping.
Diamonds are tough but not immune to external forces. A strong impact or pressure, such as hitting a hard surface, can cause fractures or chips in the diamond.
Now that you know why chips happen, here’s what you can do to prevent chips from happening to your diamond.
- Setting and Mounting: How a diamond is set or mounted can significantly impact its vulnerability to chipping. Bezel settings and protective prongs can offer added support and reduce the risk of direct impact on the diamond. Pro tip: if you wear two or more rings with diamonds touching each other, consider soldering the rings together to eliminate friction between the diamonds. I’ve seen many eternity bands with every single diamond chipped as a result of wear-and-tear due to friction with another diamond eternity band.
- Avoid High-Impact Activities: It’s advisable to remove diamond jewelry when engaging in high-impact activities or sports. This precaution helps minimize the risk of accidental impacts that could lead to chipping. If you do remove your jewelry, store in a safe place.
- Regular Maintenance: Regularly inspect your diamond jewelry for any signs of damage. Promptly addressing minor issues, such as loose settings or potential chips, can prevent further damage.
- Professional Cleaning and Care: Periodic professional cleaning and inspection by a jeweler can ensure that your diamond is well-maintained. They can identify and address any potential issues before they escalate.
- Store Diamonds Separately: When not in use, store your diamond jewelry separately to avoid contact with other gemstones or metals. Diamonds can scratch other materials, and this preventive measure helps preserve their integrity.
While diamonds are renowned for their resilience, understanding the factors that contribute to chipping is crucial. By taking proactive measures and following proper care guidelines, you can ensure that your diamonds continue to dazzle for generations to come.
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