Can Diamonds Chip or Break? Tips for Looking After a Diamond Ring


Diamonds are renowned for their unparalleled hardness and enduring beauty. As the hardest natural substance on earth, diamonds have captivated human imagination and desire for centuries.

Their brilliance and resilience make them a popular choice for all kinds of jewellery – from engagement rings to earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. They also have a wide array of industrial uses, such as in drills. However, despite their formidable strength, diamonds are not indestructible.

This guide will delve into the fascinating world of diamonds, exploring their uses, the potential for damage, and essential tips for maintaining their beauty and integrity.

Do Diamonds Break or Chip?

While diamonds are incredibly durable, they are not immune to damage. Understanding how to care for and maintain your diamond jewellery is crucial to preserving its brilliance and value.

Can Diamonds Break?

Have you ever wondered, ‘what can break a diamond?’ The short answer is not a lot.

But even though diamonds are the hardest natural substance, they are not unbreakable. Hardness, in this sense, refers to a material’s resistance to scratching, not its toughness or ability to withstand impact. Under sufficient force, a diamond, like every other natural substance, can indeed break or fracture.

For example, a sharp blow to a diamond at the right angle can cause it to split along its natural planes, known as cleavage planes. This is why jewellers take great care when cutting and setting diamonds, as one wrong move can lead to a break and the loss of a very valuable asset.

To sum up, the answer to ‘can you break a diamond’ is ‘yes’, although doing so is quite difficult.

Can Diamonds Chip?

Diamonds can also chip, especially around the edges where the stone is thin. Everyday wear and tear, accidental knocks, or improper storage can lead to small chips or cracks, which can grow over time. This is particularly true for diamonds with pointed edges, such as the princess cut, which are more susceptible to chipping than rounded cuts like the round brilliant.

How to Prevent Diamonds from Chipping

Preventing damage to your diamond involves proper care and handling. Here are some essential tips to keep your diamond jewellery in pristine condition:

#1 Regular Cleaning: Clean your diamonds regularly using a mild solution of dish soap and warm water. Use a soft brush to gently scrub away dirt or oils. Avoid harsh chemicals that can damage the metal settings. Regular cleaning keeps the diamond sparkling, allows you to inspect it for potential damage, and maintains the metal setting.

#2 Proper Storage: Store your diamond jewellery separately to prevent it from scratching. If possible, use soft cloth pouches or padded jewellery boxes with separate compartments. If you travel often, consider a specialised jewellery case that offers added protection. Propertly storing your ring when not in use will minise the chance of the diamond breaking or chipping.

#3 Safe Wear: To minimise the risk of damage, avoid wearing diamond rings or other diamond jewellery during activities that involve heavy lifting or impact, such as gardening, sports, or house cleaning. Even simple tasks like washing dishes can pose a risk, as hard surfaces or chemicals can come into contact with the diamond, or the metal casing could break, and your diamond could fall down the sink.

#4 Professional Inspections: It’s a good idea to have your diamond jewellery inspected by a professional jeweller once every few years. These experts can check for any signs of damage and ensure that the settings are secure so your diamond won’t fall out. Regular inspections can catch potential issues early and prevent more significant damage down the line.

#5 Avoid Exposure to Extreme Conditions: Diamonds can be affected by sudden temperature changes, so you should avoid exposing your diamond jewellery to extreme heat or cold, which can cause internal stress and potential damage.

#6 Handle with Care: When handling your diamond jewellery, keep your hands clean and dry. Oils from your skin can transfer to the metal casing surrounding the diamond, corroding it over time.

#7 Mindful Placement: When you remove your diamond jewellery, keep it in a safe, designated spot. Avoid placing it on hard surfaces where it can get knocked over or scratched.

Signs That a Diamond May Need Attention

It’s important to recognise early signs that your diamond might be at risk of chipping or breaking. The signs to look out for include the following:

Visible Chips or Cracks: Even small diamond chips or cracks can compromise the integrity of the diamond, so it’s crucial to inspect your jewellery regularly under good lighting to spot any potential damage.

Loose Settings: A loose setting can increase the risk of the diamond falling out or getting damaged. So, if you notice that the diamond moves or feels loose, get it checked out by a jeweller immediately.

Discolouration: While this isn’t a direct sign of physical damage, it can indicate that your diamond needs cleaning or that the metal setting is affecting its appearance. Regular cleaning can help maintain the diamond’s brilliance and keep the setting in good working order.

What to Do If a Diamond Breaks or Chips

If you discover that your diamond has chipped or broken, take the following steps:

  1. Consult a Professional: Immediately take your jewellery to a reputable jeweller. They can assess the damage and tell you whether your diamond needs repairing, re-cutting, or replacing.
  2. Repair or Re-cut: Depending on the extent of the damage, your diamond may be repaired or re-cut to remove the chipped area. This might result in a slight loss of carat weight, but it can restore the diamond’s appearance. In some cases, a skilled jeweller can re-polish the diamond to remove minor chips. Ultimately, whether your diamond is repairable depends on the extent of the damage.
  3. Insurance: It’s imperative that you insure your diamond jewellery, as this can cover the cost of repair or replacement if it’s damaged. Make sure to regularly update your insurance policy to reflect the current value of your jewellery.

How to Choose a Diamond That Is Less Likely to Chip or Break

When buying a diamond, consider the following factors to reduce the risk of diamond breakage and damage down the road:

The Cut: If possible, opt for a cut with rounded edges, such as a round brilliant or cushion cut. These cuts are less prone to chipping than sharp-edged cuts like the princess cut. The cut of the diamond affects not only its sparkle but also its durability.

The Setting: You should choose a protective setting that shields your diamond’s edges as well as possible. Bezel settings, for example, encase the diamond in metal and offer better protection than prong settings. Halo settings can also provide added security by surrounding the centre diamond with smaller stones, although these come with a heftier price tag.

The Quality: Higher-quality diamonds with fewer inclusions and blemishes are generally more durable, as inclusions can weaken the diamond’s structure and make it more susceptible to damage. You should look for diamonds with high clarity grades to minimise the risk of internal flaws.

The Carat Weight and Size: Larger diamonds are more prone to chipping due to their greater surface area. While size is a personal preference, be mindful that bigger stones may require more careful handling. If you opt for a larger diamond, ensure it’s in a secure and protective setting.

Understanding the 4 Cs: Cut, Clarity, Carat, and Color

A deeper understanding of the 4 Cs can help you choose a durable diamond:

  1. Cut: The cut of a diamond affects its brilliance and structural integrity. A correctly cut diamond reflects the light, giving that sought-after sparkle, and is less likely to chip.
  2. Clarity: Clarity measures flaws in the diamond, known to professionals as inclusions and blemishes. The higher the grade of clarity, the lower the number of internal flaws – so essentially the greater the clarity, the more durable the diamond.
  3. Carat: Carat weight assess the diamond’s size. There’s no doubt that bigger diamonds have more impact but they can be more vulnerable to damage, as they’re harder to protect with a metal setting. You should try to balance size with the quality and security of the setting.
  4. Colour: Although colour does not directly impact durability, a colourless diamond is often perceived as higher quality. Choose a diamond that balances colour with other factors for a well-rounded choice.

5 Additional Tips for Diamond Care

To further protect your diamond jewellery, consider these additional tips:

#1 Avoid Heat Exposure: Excessive heat can damage the diamond and its setting, so try to avoid leaving your jewellery in direct sunlight or near heat sources. If you use hot tools like hair dryers or curling irons, remove your jewellery to prevent unnecessary exposure to heat.

#2 Ultrasonic Cleaners: While effective, ultrasonic cleaners can also loosen settings or cause damage if not used properly. You should consult with your jeweller before using one. If you decide to use an ultrasonic cleaner, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and avoid using it too frequently.

#3 Be Mindful of Chemicals: Harsh chemicals in household cleaners, cosmetics, and swimming pool chlorine can damage the diamond and its setting. Always remove your jewellery before using such products.

#4 Insurance and Appraisal: Regularly update your jewellery insurance and appraisal so that your valuable jewellery is always protected from theft, damage, and loss.

#5 Routine Checks: Check your diamond jewellery regularly. Look for signs of wear, loose settings, or changes in appearance. Early detection of issues can prevent more severe damage.

Should You Use Professional Jewellery Services?

Professional jewellers offer services that go far beyond just selling diamonds. They provide essential maintenance and repair services that help preserve the integrity and appearance of your diamond jewellery.

Regular cleaning carried out by these professionals can restore the sparkle that might be dulled by everyday wear. Additionally, jewellers can check the prongs and settings to ensure they remain secure, preventing the diamond from becoming loose or falling out.

Can Your Lifestyle Choices Affect Diamond Wear?

Your lifestyle can significantly impact the wear and tear on your diamond jewellery. For those with active lifestyles or jobs that involve physical labour, it’s crucial to consider when and where you wear your diamond jewellery. If in doubt, leave it at home.

Moreover, protective settings and regular checks become even more critical if you live an active lifestyle. Conversely, those with less physically demanding routines might not face the same level of risk but should still adhere to regular maintenance practices.

The Importance of Diamond Insurance

Investing in diamond insurance is crucial in safeguarding your precious jewellery against loss, theft, or damage. While diamonds hold significant emotional and financial value, they are also at risk of unforeseen events that could result in their loss or destruction.

Here are four key reasons you should insure your diamonds:

Financial Protection: Diamond jewellery represents a significant financial investment. But insuring your diamonds protects you against financial loss in the event of theft, loss, or damage. Instead of bearing the full cost of repair or replacement out of pocket, insurance coverage provides compensation based on the value of your jewellery.

Peace of Mind: Knowing that your diamond jewellery is insured provides peace of mind and allows you to wear and enjoy it without worry. Whether you’re travelling, attending events, or simply going about your daily routine, insurance coverage offers reassurance that your diamonds are protected.

Comprehensive Coverage: Diamond insurance typically covers a range of scenarios, including theft, loss, accidental damage, and even mysterious disappearance. Policies can be tailored to your specific needs, ensuring that you have the right coverage for your specific jewellery collection.

Replacement Value: In the event of a claim, diamond insurance policies typically provide coverage based on the replacement value of the jewellery rather than its original purchase price. This ensures that you can replace your lost or damaged jewellery with a similar item of equal value, maintaining the sentimental and financial value of your collection.

Why Choose TH March?

When it comes to diamond insurance, choosing the right provider is essential. TH March is a trusted name in the UK’s jewellery insurance industry, as we offer specialised coverage tailored to the needs of jewellery enthusiasts and professionals alike.

With over 130 years of experience in the jewellery insurance business, TH March has a deep understanding of the unique needs and challenges faced by jewellery owners. Our team of experts is well-versed in the intricacies of insuring high-value items like diamonds, providing personalised service and guidance to our clients.

We offer specialised coverage specifically designed for jewellery, including engagement rings, wedding bands, necklaces, earrings, and more. Our comprehensive policies provide protection against a wide range of risks, from accidental damage to theft and loss. By insuring your diamond jewellery with TH March, you can enjoy the peace of mind of knowing your precious possessions are protected by a trusted industry leader. With our expertise, specialised coverage, and commitment to customer service, TH March is the ideal choice for insuring your most valuable assets.