Diamond Learning Gemstones and Birthstones

Just how hard are diamonds really? 

Just how hard are diamonds really? 

Diamonds, renowned for their unmatched hardness and timeless beauty, have been well loved for centuries. But what exactly makes diamonds so hard, and how do they compare to other materials? Let’s get into why diamonds are so hard, and their practical uses in the world. 

1. Why are diamonds so hard? 

So what exactly makes diamonds one of the hardest materials? It’s due to their structure and formation.

  • The Mohs Scale of Hardness: Diamonds top the Mohs scale, a method of measuring the hardness of minerals, with a maximum score of 10. 
  • Carbon structure: Diamonds owe their hardness to their carbon atoms, which are arranged in a crystal lattice structure, making them incredibly strong and resilient. 
  • Resistance to scratching: This unique atomic arrangement makes diamonds the hardest known natural material, capable of scratching any other substance but unable to be scratched by them (except other diamonds – which is why you should always store your jewellery separately!) 

2. How diamonds compare to other materials 

Other materials and gemstone, of course, are very hard, too. Here’s how they measure up against diamonds. 

  • Diamonds vs. other gemstones: While sapphires and rubies rank high on the Mohs scale (9), they still fall short of the hardness of diamonds (but are still perfectly fine for daily wear). 
  • Man-made materials: Some synthetic materials, such as aggregated diamond nanorods, have been created to mimic the hardness of natural diamonds, but are not widely used in jewellery. 
  • Everyday objects: To put it in perspective just how hard diamonds are, a diamond can easily scratch metals and stones commonly found in everyday life, including steel and granite (so always be careful when wearing your diamonds, and doing daily activities like cleaning your worktops!) 

3. Practical uses of diamonds 

Diamonds aren’t just for jewellery. Because of their hardness, they’re also used in many other practical applications, in ways you wouldn’t necessarily think of. 

  • Jewellery durability: Diamonds are ideal for everyday wear, as their hardness makes them resistant to scratches and damages. 
  • Industrial uses: Ever heard of a ‘diamond tip’ drill? Diamonds’ hardness makes them invaluable in industrial applications, like cutting, drilling, and grinding tools. 

Diamonds are also used in things you wouldn’t expect, such as medicine and hospitals, windows, the car industry and even things like audio equipment. 

4. Myths about diamonds 

Of course, there are some myths and legends about the stones. Let’s debunk them. 

  • Unbreakable myth: While diamonds are incredibly hard, they are not indestructible. They can be broken or damaged under certain conditions. 
  • Hardness vs. toughness: It’s important to differentiate between hardness (resistance to scratching) and toughness (resistance to breaking). Diamonds excel in hardness but have varied toughness – and can be scratched by other diamonds. 

Diamond daily wear

While diamonds are hard, they’re not without maintenance. However, due to their toughness, they are one of the most popular diamonds for daily wear, and are suitable for all kinds of every day jewellery. Find your perfect piece of diamond jewellery here.