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Jewelry Blog: Engagement Rings
Are Diamonds Really Forever?
Sep-20-2009
"Diamonds Are Forever" is the seventh in the series of James Bond spy movies, as well as Shirley Bassey's title song, inspired by Ian Fleming's novel of the same name. The song emphasizes that diamonds last "forever and ever" and "when love is gone, they'll luster on." Diamond is the world's hardest natural material and diamonds are the most durable and ever-lasting material on Earth, so, yes, diamonds really are forever thanks to their durability. .

Durability is stability, hardness and toughness

A gemstone's durability is its degree of stability, hardness and toughness. Toughness relates to chipping and breaking, whileASD hardness has to do with scratching. Stability refers to how well the gemstone resists light, chemicals and heat. Diamonds have excellent stability and hardness as well as good toughness so this all adds up to incredible durability.

Stability -- Diamond is used in the electrical industry and in engineering drill bits because of its high resistance to heat, light and chemicals. Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) is technology that allows synthetic diamond to be fabricated, either in thin or thick sheets, due to a gaseous chemical reaction.

Although diamonds are highly resistant to most chemicals, bleach should not be used to clean diamonds. Diamonds are often cleaned with a mixture of ammonia and water or a diamond cleaner and soft-bristled brush. Diamond has an extremely high melting point of 3,820 degrees Kelvin. It is the best heat conductor of all natural elements, due to its high lattice density. Lattice density refers to the amount of atoms per unit of volume. As atoms are denser in diamond than in any other natural material, diamond is also the hardest of all natural materials.

Hardness -- DiamondDiamond Pendant measures a perfect ten on the Mohs scale. The Mohs scale is named after Friedrich Mohs, a German mineralogist, and it tests hardness by how easily a mineral can be scratched. Talc has a score of only one to diamond's ten.

Softer minerals cannot scratch harder minerals. Diamond is so hard that the next hardest mineral on the Mohs scale, corundum -- which is sapphire and ruby, is four times softer than diamond. The hardness of diamonds makes them perfect for wearing as jewelry as they are not easily scratched. Since diamonds can scratch other diamonds, however, diamond jewelry pieces should be kept separate in a jewelry box.

Toughness -- Ruby, sapphire, and alexandrite are all gemstones that come close to diamond's hardness according to the mohs scale.  A diamond sapphire & diamond ring can break if it is dropped on a hard surface with a strong force or hit with a blow that splits its four-way cleavage. Cleavage is a straight, clean crack in a gemstone.

Feathery cracks on the top of a diamond may cause easier breakage and diamonds with these types of surface cracks are not very durable. A good quality cut diamond has its girdle, or outer rim, left thick enough to prevent chipping. The pointed end of a diamond is called a cutlet and if the cutlet is too pointed, breakage could occur during the setting process.
Posted by Sheri L at 12:02 PM - Link to this entry  Share this entry
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