Can You Scratch a Diamond (Different Tools Test)

When you thing of super strong, what comes to mind? A superhero? Bulletproof glass? What about a piece or sheet of iron? Though these three things are “strong”, it’s not what takes the cake. What if I were to tell you that something contained in much smaller sizes had them all beat? Diamonds have a reputation for being extraordinarily strong, and it is well earned.

Have you ever wondered if you could scratch a diamond? This is a bit of a trick question, but yes, a diamond CAN be scratched…. with another diamond. Seems like an odd set of conditions, doesn’t it? Diamonds can be scratched by other diamonds a and a few other super hard metals.

In this article, we’ll go over how diamonds are formed, what makes them so hard, and how they can be damaged. We’ll also explore different tools you can use to test your diamonds.

Why are diamonds so hard?

The reason why diamonds are so hard is really interesting. What actually gives this interesting little superhero its strength might surprise you.

Many people are aware, at least vaguely, that diamonds are made of carbon. What people often aren’t aware of, however, is why this is important. Diamonds are created with carbon that is left DEEP within the earth. The carbon within each and every bit of a diamond is unique in that it intricately forms a diamond lattice.

This lattice has the ability to absorb a lot of energy. You may think, okay, so what? Who cares if energy can be absorbed, what does that have to do with longevity? The importance of energy absorption capacity means that a structure can exist under most circumstances (on earth), without breaking apart or losing its shape.

As the hardest natural substance on earth, diamonds can only be scratched by other diamonds, or other materials that have been engineered for this purpose.

A diamond’s hardness is measured on the MOHS scale (Mohs’ Hardness Scale) which ranges from 1 to 10—with 10 being the highest and hardest material). This scale is something we can familiarize ourself with, even briefly, to better understand why diamonds are so unique.

To give you an idea and some form of mental framework with which to set this in, let’s make a comparison with some household items and see where they fall on the scale for reference.

First up, the typical knife blade falls within 2-4 on this scale; glass falls at a very neutral rank of 5; and steel ends up at 6 or 7 (or somewhere in between the two numbers) depending on heat treatment processes used during manufacturing and tempering processes.

To touch back on the nerdy aspect of composition again, a diamond’s hardness can also be attributed to its molecular structure. The carbon lattice structure mentioned before, is called a tetrahedral. Tetrahedrals are stable shapes that structures, if similar in model and form, are benefited by.

This works to our advantage as people when we use diamonds as life long memorials for love and other important life events!

Can you scratch a diamond?

You can only scratch a diamond with another diamond. Diamonds are the hardest natural material known to man. They’re so hard that they can only be scratched by other diamonds.

Imagine that! The impenetrable-like make up of diamonds make them reside in a class of their own.

People often are nervous about scratching diamonds that are set within rings, for example, on household services like wood or harder plastic.

I often hear moms of young kids worry about their children’s rough housing damaging their ring. This is a valid concern- as multitasking and hard work can put delicate jewelry to the test.

While rough play and a few hard hits may have the capacity to damage the set or the actual band for the ring, it isn’t enough to damage the precious diamond. Let this be an encouragement!

While wanting to take good care of a precious possession is important, there really isn’t any reason to worry about that, because diamonds are nearly unable to be scratched.

What can scratch diamonds?

Diamonds are the hardest natural material on Earth, but they can be scratched. In fact, any mineral with a hardness of 10 can scratch diamonds. There are a few tools that come close to this level of hardness:

The Diamond Saw: This tool is used in industrial settings to cut large pieces of stone into smaller sizes. It uses carbon dioxide gas mixed with water to produce very small particles that can cut through diamonds without damaging them.

The Diamond Drill Bit: This type of drill bit also uses friction from water or oil as it spins against its target material (such as rock) and creates tiny chips at its tip as it wears down over time.

Diamond drill tip

This is much like how sandpaper works! It’s important not only because these bits are made primarily out of diamonds themselves (which allows them to withstand high temperatures), but also because they create extremely small scratches which make up most surface damage on other minerals too! How cool is that!

Let’s recap and see where we’re at with a few hard questions:

Take this five question pop quiz and see how you score! (no cheating)

  1. Can metal scratch diamonds?
  2. Can sandpaper scratch diamonds?
  3. Can rocks scratch diamonds?
  4. Can concrete scratch diamonds?
  5. Can other diamonds scratch diamonds?

What were your answers? Better yet, what tools did you use to answer the questions?

As we discussed earlier, the only thing you need to consider when thinking through whether or not something could possibly ever scratch a diamond is how hard the object, or the mineral, is. When we have the answer to this, we can easily make a judgement call.

And once again, how do we determine the level of “hard” something is? That’s right! By using the MOHS hard scale.

Metals, sandpaper, concrete and rocks generally can’t scratch diamonds unless the specific cut, strain, or type is harder that a diamond is on the MOHS scale.

This means that generally speaking, the answer to questions one through four on the pop quiz are no. Number five however is our special case. We’ve already learned that diamonds are indeed tough enough to scratch other diamonds, because they maintain the same structural integrity in the form of carbon matrices and have the same hardness level.

Can lab-grown diamonds be scratched?

There’s a lot of questions surrounding lab grown diamonds. Are they real? Are they worthwhile? Are they still carbon based?

Lab-grown diamonds are real diamonds, just like the ones mined from the earth.

A diamond is nothing more than carbon, and carbon is one of the strongest elements on Earth. So it should come as no surprise that lab-grown diamonds are incredibly durable and have the same hardness rating as natural stones (10 out of 10).

Is repair possible for scratches in a diamond?

The short answer, is yes. Don’t lose hope!

A diamond can be scratched, but the process to repair it is expensive. The cost of repairing a diamond depends on the type of scratch and how deep it is. This should make sense, because that’s how most scratched surface repairs work in terms of cost. The deeper the cut, the more intricate the repair will have to be in order to not slice through all the way.

If you have an antique or one-of-a-kind ring, then you may have to have your jeweler do the repair work because many jewelers will not touch these types of rings.

Scratches in diamonds are very difficult to fix because they are so hard (in terms of MOHS scale). They often (and unfortunately) require special tools and equipment that most people don’t have access to at home.

Also, there is always a risk involved when attempting this type of repair yourself as well as failing completely causing more damage than what was originally there! The best call is to definitely take something as precious as a diamond to a professional.

Do scratches indicate if a diamond is real?

Though at face value this may seem like a silly question, it is a thought held by many. People are in search of authenticity, so if seeing scratches proves that, then why not search for scratches on all pieces that are claimed to be authentic before spending so much money on something. We have to pause first and ask, however, “do diamond scratches indicate or point to a mark of authenticity?

The short answer is simple; no, scratches on a diamond do not indicate if it’s real. Though this would be a surefire way to guarantee something as true, it just doesn’t work with diamonds, and here’s why: Scratches happen to diamonds with regular wear and tear, but they can also be removed by a jeweler (as described above).

The reason for this is that there are many different kinds of inclusions that appear inside diamonds. Some are inclusions that come with the stone, while others develop over time due to environmental factors like extreme heat or pressure from other objects in its environment.

It’s also important to note that when you’re looking at a diamond’s surface under magnification, there may be some nicks or chips here and there as well as small flaws in its cut–all of which can make it appear as though your ring has been scratched up when really all you’re seeing are reflections from those details on top of any light source nearby.

Having a diamond looked at by a professional to either set, reset, appraise, or repair, ensures that the item is taken care of properly (rather than haphazardly). With all of the money that is being spent on something so precious, often for so precious and monumental of an occasion as an engagement, for example, why wouldn’t you want it handled by a professional?


Let’s take a brief recap on what we’ve learned about diamonds.

Diamonds are extraordinarily hard, and we know this because of how they rank on an objective scale for mineral hardness called the MOHS scale. This scale allows us to compare diamonds to household items like glass, rubber, rocks, and plastic. Diamonds “out hard” them all!

This, however, doesn’t mean that diamonds can never be scratched. As we learned in our research earlier, they can. Diamonds can be scratched by other diamonds (ironic) and also any other substance or mineral that ranks harder than they do on the same MOHS scale.

This can be encouraging in that maintaining the integrity of the diamond depends more on its innate structural integrity (due to carbon deposits from deep in the earth forming lattice structures) and less on how careful an individual wearing one is.

We also explored that diamonds can be repaired (in the worst case scenario that they do get scratched). We touched on the fact that this should ONLY be done by a professional so as to preserve and protect every valuable aspect of the piece of jewelry.

All in all, it makes sense for diamonds to have been chosen to be the substance of choice to serve as the timeless pieces of precious memories for important evens we have in life. Their rarity, beauty, and longevity make them the perfect candidate for such a role.