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Can You Scratch a Diamond With Your Fingernail?

Can You Scratch a Diamond With Your Fingernail?

The longevity and hardness of a diamond are subjects of several inquiries. Numerous of those queries are somehow connected to the idea of how scratch-resistant diamonds are.

It is no secret that diamonds are prized for their extreme durability and hardness on the exterior. Due to their durability, these minerals are also utilized in industry.

The only explanation is that they were the hardest minerals according to the Mohs scale. But can a diamond’s outer layer be seriously harmed by something as straightforward as a nail? 

The real question is: Can You Scratch a Diamond With Your Fingernail?

The simple answer will be: No! A diamond can’t be scratched or have its surface damaged by a nail.

Despite how straightforward the question first appears, there are several elements to consider and calculations to be made while discussing this subject.

We advise you to continue reading because this topic is exciting despite looking simple initially. Let’s find out right away if a nail can indeed scratch a diamond without further ado!

What Are Diamonds and How They Are Made

Let’s start with what diamonds are, their characteristics, and how they are made!

A specific type of gemstone is referred to as a “diamond.” The difference between a gemstone and a rock is that a gemstone is simple. Gemstone is composed of a single mineral that has crystallized.

Now you must be wondering why diamonds are so expensive?

Diamonds are costly because of their high marketing costs, lack of exceptional grade stones, and great demand. Just supply and demand will decide.

Most may be found in kimberlites, volcanic and tectonic formations resembling pipes. 

The second kind of diamond-producing geological source is placer deposits. The diamonds are easily removed from the host rock of the kimberlite. They are embedded in and carried away by rivers and streams.

Although diamond progressively changes into it, graphite is another solid form of carbon chemically stable at room temperature and pressure.

Diamonds have exceptional hardness, unmatched brilliance, and significant emotional value. Diamonds are the only other substance that can scratch their surface, even though they are virtually entirely composed of carbon atoms.

Since diamonds are made of carbon, they start as carbon atoms that join together under extreme conditions of pressure and heat to form crystals.

The formation of diamonds occurs when the earth’s deep carbon reserves, found 90 to 125 miles below the surface, are subjected to extremely high temperatures and pressures. Some stones develop over millions of years, while others do it in days or months.

What about their size? Diamond sizes are measured in millimeters (mm). These measurements are about the size of carats.

  • A 1-carat round diamond typically has a diameter of 6.5 mm, whereas a 1.25-carat diamond has a diameter of 6.8 mm.
  • A square-cut diamond with a weight of one carat, like a princess or cushion, typically measures 5.5 mm, whereas a 1.25-carat measures 6 mm.

Diamond production is declining as mines reach the end of their productive life.

Let’s see if diamonds are scratchy or not?

How Scratch-Proof Are Diamonds?

Most people know how tough diamonds are, and it is also common knowledge that they are scratch-resistant. But is it usually like that?

Let’s be clear about one thing: A nail is not one of the items that could scratch a diamond.

Although they may appear sharp, nails are too weak to harm genuine, untreated diamonds. No matter how powerful the end of a nail might be, it still won’t be able even faintly to touch the surface of a diamond.

Related Read: Can A Nail File Scratch A Diamond?

We want to take this opportunity to remind you that diamonds are given a Mohs scale rating of 10, while all other minerals receive a rating of 9 or below.

You may quickly conclude that only another diamond can scratch a diamond by keeping it in mind and considering it, along with the fact that only a ten on the Mohs scale can do so.

Although it might seem counterintuitive, we can assure you that this is the only way to tarnish a diamond’s surface. A diamond’s surface may also be harmed and scratched by a few different instruments made of diamond.

Among the things made of diamonds that can seriously harm a diamond’s surface are diamond files, drills, and cutters.

Diamond, once more, is what they all share in common.

Nothing can be done to the surface of a natural diamond using drills, cutters, or files that aren’t made of diamonds. The obvious conclusion is that nothing but diamonds can scratch other diamonds.

But why would anyone want to harm a priceless stone in that way?

Let’s explain in a little more detail what it actually means when we say that only a diamond can damage another diamond!

Learn More: Can You Scratch A Real Diamond?

What Is Capable Of Diamond Scratching?

As we have previously stated, anything made of diamonds or having a diamond plating on it has the potential to scratch a diamond and most likely will.

Whether the diamonds are uncut, raw, or cut, polished, and marketable makes no difference.

Have you ever wondered what is first used to cut diamonds?

Well, that’s one of the things that can significantly harm both the outside and inside of a diamond: No matter how much power is exerted, dragging a diamond drill across the diamond’s surface will result in damage due to the drill’s high hardness and fragility.

Hammers and other blunt force items are other things that could appear to scratch a diamond. However, it is more probable that these would shatter the diamond than damage it.

A diamond can’t be scratched by metal, yet metal, including gold and silver, can be struck by a diamond. On the Mohs scale, most metals are at or below a 5. 

Certain metals are more challenging but are not strong enough to scratch a diamond.

Steel, for instance, rates between a 4 and a 4.5, titanium rates between a 6 and an 8, and tungsten rates 7.5. On the Mohs scale, even tungsten carbide is only 8.5 to 9.

Diamonds can scratch everything since they are the most rigid substance known to man. However, this is often not an issue because diamonds are not something you carry with you everywhere.

Although, occasionally inventive designs can inadvertently “enable” your diamond ring to scratch other objects. So, diamonds are the hardest substance known to man, yet they are not unbreakable.

When compared to other jewels, a diamond’s hardness is excellent; nevertheless, when compared to engineering materials, it performs relatively poorly. 

Also, a diamond is unlikely to be chipped if dropped on a standard floor.

Can A Diamond Be Repaired?

Another essential topic: Can your diamond be repaired after being scratched? Let’s find out!

We assume you want to restore your diamonds to their original condition if you’ve managed to damage their surface. Are there any ways to accomplish this? Fortunately, there are a few of them.

All you need to do to get a diamond with a damaged surface repaired is take it to a licensed diamond reseller.

They most likely possess – or know someone who does – a specialized type of grinder made to eliminate scratches by reducing thin diamond layers to their original state. 

You will lose part of your diamonds as a result of this. The bulk of the diamond lost in a procedure like this is minuscule.

You can fix a scratched diamond if there is enough carat weight in the diamond to allow it to lose a small amount of weight during the restoration procedure.

The most typical method of diamond restoration is polishing. Surface-level scratches can be removed with polishing without considerably affecting the total carat weight.

Recutting won’t usually be necessary unless a diamond has significant chips and scratches.

Before making repairs if you unintentionally damaged your diamond, verify if your insurance policy still covers you.

Be prepared to pay for this type of intervention because it can cost a little more than you anticipate.

Related Read: Can a Chipped Diamond Ring Be Repaired?

Let’s move on to the standard methods of diamond damage!

Standard Methods of Diamond Damage

Let’s look at some background information before we get started! Since diamonds are composed entirely of carbon, their atomic bonds are what give them their renowned hardness.

Diamond has a Mohs hardness rating of 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. In actuality, diamond is four times as hard as corundum, which comes in second. From corundum, sapphires and rubies are created.

But remember that a substance’s hardness indicates whether or not it is easily scratched. It tells us nothing about toughness (a substance’s propensity to shatter), and diamonds have ordinary hardness.

Diamonds may scratch more efficiently than any other material but are also fragile and prone to shatter along cleavage planes.

In addition to the diamond itself, your ring’s mechanical components, such as the band, prongs or claws, accent stones, and setting, can also sustain damage.

With all of this in mind, let’s take a closer look at a few typical ways diamond rings become hurt!

Setting Issues

Sadly, diamonds might be harmed when the stone is attached to the ring band during setting.

The diamond must be put under strain to be correctly set. Occasionally, this pressure causes the diamond to chip or shatter, especially with fancy shapes like marquise, pear, and heart.

Filing Errors

Another high-risk action that, if not done correctly, might endanger your diamond is filing. Diamond damage can also occur during the polishing and recutting operations.

Daily Degradation

Hands do a wide range of tasks that could harm rings. 

For example, a hand with a ring may perform various tasks on any given day, including dishwashing, gardening, using hand tools, swinging a tennis racquet, and many more.

Several Diamonds May Be Put Closely Together in Some Rings

They could rub against one another if a novice jeweler set them. One or more of the diamonds may become injured due to this contact over time.

Diamonds can also have issues when exposed to intense temperatures. It can be harmed even by catching your diamond on your garment or banging it against a piece of furniture or a wall.

Both one-time injury and damage caused over time by repeated insults are possible.

Internal Issues

The existence of an intrinsic fault (natural inclusion) in the diamond itself is the leading cause of diamond damage.

The presence of inclusion makes the diamond more prone to chips and cracks even though natural inclusions are familiar (a part of the diamond’s distinctive character).

Perhaps the most severe and difficult-to-repair issue you’ll have with your engagement ring is a damaged diamond. After all, the diamond itself is frequently the part of the jewelry that is most precious.

You want to wear your diamond ring as much as possible since it represents your marriage and love. Also, there is other jewelry you often want to show to others by wearing it. However, specific pursuits are a touch too dangerous for diamond rings and diamond jewelry, such as:

  • Impact games
  • A rock climb
  • Scuba diving and snorkeling
  • Using power tools
  • Using strong chemicals for cleaning
  • Gardening
  • A furniture move

When not worn, keep your ring and jewelry in a secure location to prevent loss or damage. It’s time to bring this topic to an end slowly. Let’s conclude together!

Final Thoughts

Let us explain once more, for those who are still unclear, as to whether a nail may damage a diamond! 

The answer is: No! A diamond can’t be scratched or have its surface damaged by a nail.

A diamond’s surface can be harmed by various products, aside from other diamonds, such as goods with diamond plating and machinery designed for industrial use.

These minerals are pretty robust. The most complex material on Earth, which received a perfect ten on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, is what we mean when we say something is “extremely durable.”

Remember that diamond drills, saws, and cutters may also accomplish tasks that nail files cannot even begin to achieve. Nails aren’t one of the objects that may seriously harm a diamond’s surface, although other things can.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as we enjoyed creating it!

Read More: What Can Destroy A Diamond?