In addition to being gorgeous, shiny, rare, and oh-so-pricey, diamonds are also thought to be indestructible – which is a common misconception.
Although these precious gems are one of the sturdiest substances ever discovered on Earth, they can get chipped, split, or cracked – especially when hit from certain angles.
And without a doubt, the question every girl with a chipped diamond will now ask is: Can a chipped diamond ring be repaired? Are there ways to save it? Keep on reading to find out!
Why Do Diamonds Sometimes Require Repair?
Diamonds may be damaged if they are mishandled. Furthermore, abrasion can occur if the diamond is mistreated throughout the cutting and manufacturing process. That also increases the diamond’s susceptibility to abrasion over the course of months and years of someone wearing it.
The point is, it’s not necessarily your fault if your diamond has to be repaired. Your troubles may result from a diamond that wasn’t cut by a skilled jeweler or someone who understands what they’re doing. The most prevalent cause of diamond chipping is accidentally hitting a hard surface, like the kitchen countertops, for example.
Sometimes, diamond repairs are done for different reasons, such as when a buyer wants an inclusion near the diamond’s surface removed. These fixes are not recommended since they aren’t always required – and might do more damage than good.
Unlike fixing scratches from the diamond’s surface – which is relatively simple – eliminating inclusions may need a complete redesign of the stone. That’s a significant rework – and you may lose a considerable portion of the gem’s initial worth.
Learn More: Can You Remove Inclusions From a Diamond?
Can A Chipped Diamond Get Repaired To Its Original State?
Unfortunately, no. Once a diamond’s been damaged, there’s no way to fix it back to the way it was. But, fret not! There are several ways to salvage a diamond with a chip. Just because it’s damaged doesn’t mean that it’s worth nothing now.
Related Read: Can A Diamond Chip If Dropped?
How To Fix A Chip In A Diamond
There are several options for repairing a chipped diamond. Take it to a qualified jeweler for an evaluation of the damage and advice on the best course of action. Let’s look at some of the possibilities.
Recut & Repolish The Diamond
You might not be the world’s most clumsy person, and diamonds are relatively hard to chip – but smashing your ring on the corner of a marble counter, for example, may break the stone. Before you start mourning your damaged diamond, examine the damage – or take it to your local jeweler for an assessment.
You’re in luck if the crack (or chip) isn’t too large: The damaged part of the gem may be cut or polished down, and the diamond can appear as good as new after losing a tiny amount of weight.
On the other hand, re-cutting may not be a viable choice if the chip is huge or the diamond is small.
Reset The Diamond In New Setting
Even though the ring setting is an essential aspect of a diamond ring, it is generally far less valuable than the stone itself, making it easier to replace. By using a setting that hides the defect – such as a prong or ornamental setting – a diamond can successfully be rescued.
Girdle Chip Located Underneath
If the damage isn’t too severe, the stone can be rotated in a claw setting to hide it beneath. However, if a part of the diamond’s been removed due to the inclusion, it’s typically a good idea to use solder to fill the gap created by the chip beneath the claw.
By the way, soldering refers to heating the metal alloy known as solder to the melting point. After that, the solder may be used to join two pieces of metal together. Like a cast for a fractured bone, the solder will fill the “negative imprint” of the diamond that’s specific to that chip.
Chip Running Up To The Table Of The Diamond
If the chip extends to the gem’s table, consider changing your claws to talon-type ones. This one-of-a-kind claw goes further into the crown area of the diamond, concealing the chip that most conventional claw designs cannot reach.
Chip Around The Edge Of The Diamond
Consider using a bezel or semi-bezel setting to cover the damage if it runs around the edge. If semi-bezel settings aren’t your thing, a double claw option can be precisely what you need to conceal the chip.
Consider Upgrading Your Diamond
If everything else fails – meaning you’ve exhausted all of your alternatives, and none of them apply to the specific state of your gemstone – see the glass as half full. Grasp this chance to upgrade your stone.
Suppose you’ve always desired a different cut, a bigger stone – or maybe a stunning colored diamond. Despite the tragic circumstances that brought you here, now is your chance to get one.
Some jewelers may even enable you to trade in your older stone if you are acquiring a larger and more costly diamond. So, you might save money compared to getting a brand-new gem.
Here are some common misconceptions regarding diamond chipping:
Inclusions Equal Damage
A client may mistakenly believe that inclusion in a diamond is a crack; nevertheless, they are simply inclusions.
In most cases, these natural imperfections do not cause the diamond to chip. Nonetheless, if the inclusion is near a princess cut diamond’s square corner, it may weaken that section; this is a common headache for diamond setters.
When You Chip Your Diamond, You Will Feel It
Unfortunately, because it’s usually an unintentional occurrence, you won’t always know when your diamond gets chipped. You could’ve hit your ring on a kitchen counter a hundred times – and it’s the hundred-and-first that causes it to chip.
Your Diamond Is Brand New
Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as the timeframe for diamond chipping. You may have your diamond for two days or 30 years – and you can still chip it.
The Only Alternative Is To Re-Cut The Diamond
If your diamond is big enough or has a high sentimental value, re-cutting it may be possible. However, for many stones under one carat, re-cutting might not only be expensive – but the weight may also be insufficient to fit back into the setting.
You could get lucky and lose only 10 points – but you could lose as much as 20-30 points in extreme cases.
Diamond Chips Are Covered By My Insurance Policy
Regrettably, this isn’t always the case. It is critical to check the fine print of your insurance to ensure that you are adequately insured for unintentional damage.
Related Read: Does Insurance Cover A Chipped Diamond?
Are Diamonds Forever?
Before we dive into this topic, we need to acknowledge some basic things about diamonds first. So, the capacity of a gemstone to resist wear, temperature, and chemicals is referred to as durability.
This term refers to three characteristics:
- Hardness: refers to a gemstone’s ability to withstand abrasion and scratches.
- Toughness: refers to a gemstone’s ability to withstand breakage and chipping.
- Stability: refers to a gemstone’s capacity to withstand thermal shock and chemicals.
Let’s clear something once and for all: Diamonds are incredibly sturdy and hard. Thus, it resists scratches and abrasions very well. But diamonds are only somewhat tough.
Yes, you read that right. The hardness of a diamond varies along with different directions of the gem, which is crucial for the cutting process and the durability of stones cut in different shapes.
Related Read: Do Diamonds Last Forever?
Hardness Vs. Toughness
On the Mohs scale, which measures scratch resistance by the ability of a tougher substance to scratch a softer material, diamond is the hardest known natural mineral. The hardness of gems is due to their extremely tight crystal structure. A diamond has five times the scratch hardness of carbides.
However, at the same time, diamond is fragile and will chip or shatter if not handled carefully and protected from thermal shock. How’s that possible?
The hard impact can cause diamonds to shatter or chip – especially in locations where the carbon atoms are loosely connected. These spots, known as cleavage planes, are the most frequent cause of diamond breakage.
Even though a fracture toughness scale is commonly used in scientific literature, it’s rarely referenced in gemology. The toughness scale calculates the effort needed to separate two crystal surfaces along a specific crystallographic plane.
Diamond values typically vary from 5,000 (in the cleavage planes) to more than 8,000 (in the toughest direction). If we compare these numbers to 225,000 for nephrite and 120,000 for jadeite, diamonds are not as tough at all.
So, we learned that although diamond is the hardest natural substance, everyday wear could indeed cause it to chip and shatter.
Diamonds are essentially cubic crystals with four perfect cleavage directions. And as we’ve mentioned above, in a crystal’s molecular arrangement, the cleavage plane is the weakest direction.
Diamonds are tougher in directions where the atoms are closely bound together – and less tough in directions where they are not.
The octahedron – shown in the picture above – is the most common shape of a natural gem.
The splitting of a diamond crystal along its triangular, octahedral planes is a process known as cleaving. A genuine diamond can only be cleaved parallel to its triangular octahedral side.
In the past, diamond cleavers spent months planning before cleaving a specific diamond, as they couldn’t see the octahedral directions hidden behind the external partial crystal form.
However, today, diamonds are rarely cleaved; they’re more commonly laser-cut or sawn.
To plan cutting, cutters must still know the hard and easy directions of polishing – as well as the position of cleavage planes. During the planning stage, a saw is used to chop off the top section, which may then be utilized to produce another diamond.
Why Do Diamonds Chip?
Remember what we just learned: Diamonds are harder in directions where the atoms are closely bound together and weaker in directions where they aren’t.
Let’s take princess cut as an example: The corners of a princess cut are particularly prone to chipping because they are near the cleavage plane. These diamonds are sometimes paired with prongs to prevent the edges from chipping.
Nonetheless, a forceful hit to a prong at a princess cut’s corner can still create a chip that will run down the diamond’s side. It isn’t quite at the cleavage plane – at which carbon atoms are the farthest apart – but it’s close.
Tips On How To Avoid Diamond Chipping
There are several steps to take to preserve your diamond:
1. Avoid Diamond Shapes Which Include Sharp Edges Or Points
Any diamond shape with sharp points or corners will be more prone to chipping. The point exposure is not present in round, oval, or rounded-corner cushion cuts.
Some diamond cutters utilize chamfering – a relatively new cutting method that increases the princess cut diamond’s durability. In short, chamfering gives the corners a little flat facet.
2. Secure The Culet From Chipping
Almost all conventional round brilliant cut stones – and many other shapes – were once cut with a tiny facet at the culet. That was done to keep the culet from being chipped. Most diamonds now have a sharp point at the culet, making any culet with a point susceptible to damage.
The culet is unlikely to be damaged once it’s set in jewelry, though.
3. Girdles With Razor-Thin Sections Should Be Avoided
A hard impact on the girdle can break a diamond – but a thicker girdle is much harder to chip. Girdles with fragile spots around the sides, corners, and points are significantly more likely to be damaged.
4. Choose A Setting That Will Protect The Gem
Bezels, partial bezels, and V-shaped prongs are perfect for protecting vulnerable points and corners of a gem.
5. Be Cautious When It Comes To Tension Settings
A tension setting keeps a diamond in place by pressing the two ends of the ring against the diamond’s sides, which are held in place by a groove that holds the girdle.
Any jeweler with tension-setting knowledge will be extremely cautious regarding the state of the girdle before deciding to use this method.
The mounting is already putting strain on the diamond at two opposing points on the girdle – and the girdle’s placed under considerably greater tension when you hit the side of the ring.
This design exposes the stone’s vulnerable sides, making it susceptible to harm.
6. Check Prongs For Damage Regularly
The prongs that hold the diamond in place in the jewelry can get distorted or damaged – and a loose diamond in the setting is more likely to chip. Prongs safeguard their edges, points, and sides.
If the prongs bend or break due to wear and tear, they are no longer accomplishing their duty of safeguarding your diamond. Even if just one of your gem’s prongs is broken, it’s no longer firmly held in its setting.
7. Don’t Continue To Wear A Diamond With A Chip
Some people believe they can fix the issue later if the diamond already has a chip. But that chipped section of the diamond has a high chance of further damage. So, remove it from your finger until you fix it.
Furthermore, if you’re going to work in a garden, go to the gym, or do any physical activities, it’s for the best you remove your diamond ring to prevent damage.
8. Be Cautious When It Comes To Inclusions Around The Girdle
It should go without saying that a diamond with numerous inclusions at the girdle or points is more susceptible to chipping and fracturing: A feather or other minor inclusions around the girdle or point can leave the gem susceptible to damage.
A chip is likely to form if the stone’s struck exactly on a feather or inclusion near a cleavage plane or at its point. The girdle’s open cavities are similar to chips; thus, they’re more easily damaged.
In the end, remember that ideal toughness doesn’t exist. If struck hard enough, any diamond will break – not just chip.
Yes, diamonds are extremely hard. But keep in mind that if a cutter can purposefully cleave a gem by striking it in the right direction, you might do the same if you hit it hard enough.
Furthermore, keep in mind that a diamond is more prone to be damaged near the girdle or at the tip. On that note, diamonds with extraordinarily thin girdles are particularly fragile. Wear your diamond jewelry only during activities when you’re unlikely to damage your stone.
Diamonds can be forever, but only if treated with care. If you do chip a diamond, don’t worry; there are many ways you can repair it. And if that fails, you can always consider upgrading – and replacing it with a new, different one.