Are Diamonds Actually Unbreakable?

Diamonds are the hardest substance on earth. In fact, the word diamond comes from a Greek word that means unbreakable. But, though they are hard, are diamonds unbreakable?

Diamonds are not unbreakable. It is possible to break diamonds; otherwise it would be impossible to cut diamonds into the variety of shapes and sizes used for jewelry. However, a diamond is so hard that there is no reason to worry about accidentally breaking your diamond, as this is nearly impossible. It takes an enormous amount of pressure and special tools to cut diamonds for jewelry. In general, the best way to cut a diamond is with another diamond.

How Are Diamonds Cut?

There are two primary types of diamond cuts. The first is cleaving, which is the process of cutting large diamonds from the mine, called roughs, into smaller pieces that can be used for jewelry. The second is cutting, which is the process of cutting a diamond into its final shape and size.

How Are Diamonds Cut

Cleaving is an ancient process by which diamonds are cut into smaller roughs. During this process, the diamond to be split was marked with a notch to indicate exactly where the cut should go. Then the diamond was mounted onto a special holder where it was struck along the notch with a heavy cutting tool. This process was difficult and inaccurate. Today, fine, sharp knives, specifically suited to the size of the stone being cut, make large splits.

Today, most diamond cutting, after the initial split of the rough, is performed with laser beams. Lasers are able to cut diamonds with great precision and accuracy. Diamonds are sometimes still used to cut other diamonds, as well.

Who Cuts Diamonds?

Diamond cutters are highly skilled craftsmen. Diamond cutting is accomplished in several different stages, from the original rough cuts, to the shaping of the stone, to the final polishing that readies a stone for setting. Most diamond cutters are employed in areas of the world where the bulk of the work is done, mainly China and India. Each cutter usually focuses on only one aspect of cutting, performing a single stage of the cutting process for years.

Are Improperly Cut Diamonds Unbreakable?

As with any other profession, some cutters are more skilled than others. A poorly cut diamond will cost less than one that is beautifully cut, but this is rarely a problem. With the training diamond cutters receive and the use of highly accurate lasers, any diamond you find with a reputable jeweler has been cut adequately. In addition, because of the hardness of a diamond, a poor cut will not make the diamond breakable.

A diamond’s near indestructibility is precisely what has led to it being the symbol of everlasting love. When you give a diamond, you are acknowledging a love that will stand the test of time. In addition, you are giving an investment that is unlikely to go down in value, partly because of the sturdiness of this rare material.


Carl A. Jones, GIA GG

Carl A. Jones is a GIA Graduate Gemologist with over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. He is an independent jewelry appraiser. He specializes in determining the value of diamonds and advising consumers on how to buy quality diamond jewelry.

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