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Can You Scratch A Diamond?

Can Diamonds Get Scratched?

Many people wonder, is it possible to scratch a diamond? The short answer is yes. Diamonds, like other gems, can be scratched. However, diamonds can’t be scratched as easily as other gemstones.

The softer a mineral is, the easier it will scratch. Diamonds happen to be the hardest known mineral or gem on the planet. Diamonds are ranked a 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness; all other minerals are ranked 9 or below.

Anything with a hardness below that of a diamond cannot scratch a diamond. That means only a diamond can scratch a diamond.

Still, there are countless myths floating around to the contrary. If you’re worried about accidentally scratching a diamond, this article will alleviate your worries.

Why Are Diamonds So Hard?

Both graphite and diamonds are made entirely out of carbon, yet exist on nearly opposite ends of the Mohs scale. How can carbon be both soft and hard?

A diamond’s hardness is the result of its atomic structure. Diamonds are made of carbon atoms arranged in a strong, almost immovable tetrahedral lattice structure. Moving two carbon atoms together or further apart in a diamond isn’t easy.

Unlike materials with a flexible atomic structure, like steel, altering a diamond’s atomic structure requires sudden and extreme force. For example, if you hit a piece of steel with a hammer the steel will absorb the impact by flexing its atomic structure. If you hit a diamond hard with a hammer, it won’t flex - it will shatter.

Watch this video of a diamond VS Hydraulic Press...

Can Sandpaper Scratch a Diamond?

No, sandpaper cannot scratch a diamond. The hardness of sand paper grit ranges between 7 and 9 on the Mohs scale, which makes sand paper softer than a diamond.

Many people use sandpaper to test if a diamond is real or fake. This makes sense, as it is one of the easiest tests you can make - but you may end up ruining the gem if it turns out not to be a diamond. If you must perform this type of test, be cautious when testing the authenticity of gems mounted in rings or other settings. Sandpaper will damage gold and silver jewelry.

Naturally, there are specific gem labs and institutes that specialize in grading lab-grown diamonds. Though the process is fairly similar to that of natural diamonds, it may differ from one lab to the next. Nonetheless, ultimately, the standard 4 C's are used to grade and price lab grown diamonds. Though the shade and color of diamonds may differ according to the lab in which they were produced, it is the cut of the diamond that determines its sparkle and brilliancy, and therefore also its grading. The important thing to remember is that at the end of the day, there is no qualitative difference between mined and lab-created diamonds; neither can be considered “better” in terms of their value and investment.

Also, be aware that some sandpaper grit is made from synthetic sapphire, which will scratch other gemstones, including hard stones like emeralds and rubies. If you’ve got jewelry you suspect might be fake, it’s best to get your gems professionally tested to preserve their integrity.

Can You Scratch a Diamond With Metal?

You can’t scratch a diamond with metal, but you can scratch metal, including gold and silver, with a diamond. Most metals fall at or below a 5 on the Mohs scale.

A handful of metals are harder, yet not hard enough to scratch a diamond. For instance, steel falls between 4 and 4.5, titanium is a 6, hardened steel falls between 7 and 8, and tungsten is 7.5. However, even tungsten carbide is only 8.5 to 9 on the Mohs scale.

Can Diamonds Scratch?

Being the hardest material there is, diamonds can scratch anything. While its usually not a problem since diamonds are not something you just carry around with you.

However, there are sometimes creative designs that may somehow “allow” your diamond ring scratch by mistake other things. For a great example of what kind of damage diamonds can easily do, watch the video below of diamonds vs iPhone gorilla glass – a scratch test.

Can a Diamond Scratch Another Diamond?

Yes. A diamond can scratch another diamond. This applies to earth-mined diamonds as well as manmade diamonds grown in the lab. Both types of diamonds are equally hard.

While diamonds are almost entirely scratch proof, they’re not immune to damage. You’re less likely to end up with a scratched diamond than a chipped diamond.

Can You Repair a Scratched Diamond?

It’s possible to repair a scratched diamond provided there’s enough carat weight present for the stone to lose a little bit in the process. The most common way to repair a diamond is by polishing the stone. Polishing will remove surface-level scratches without significantly impacting the overall carat weight.

Generally speaking, unless a diamond is severely damaged with scratches and chips, recutting won’t be necessary.

If you’ve scratched your diamond accidentally, check the terms of your insurance policy before performing repairs to make sure you don’t lose your coverage.

A Scratched Diamond May Not Be a Real Diamond

Although some diamonds are cut and set in ways that leave it vulnerable to damage, a scratched diamond should be rare.

If you’ve scratched your diamond, like a solitaire diamond on your engagement or wedding ring, it may not be a diamond after all. Remember that only a diamond can scratch a diamond. You can’t scratch a diamond ring by bumping your hand into random surfaces and materials on a regular basis. If you haven’t subjected your stone to other diamonds, and your stone is scratched, it could be an imitation.

If you think your stone might be fake, have it inspected by a jeweler to find out for sure. If your stone turns out to be an imitation, consider buying a genuine diamond replacement.