Can You Break a Diamond With a Hammer?
While diamonds are actually the hardest naturally forming minerals, you’ll be surprised that you can fracture one with a powerful blow of a steel hammer. Curious to know how the professionals do it? Let’s find out.
How to Break a Diamond With a Hammer
While it’s possible to break a diamond with a hammer, the actual job may not be very easy. It’s highly likely that you’ll hit the diamond and it will do nothing to it. If you’re planning to test it yourself, here’s what you need to do:
- Start by finding a diamond that has inner weaknesses and isn’t exactly an alpha piece.
- Aim the hammer at it (find one with a large metal head) and give the diamond a powerful blow on the outer of its weakest inner link.
- Make sure you place the diamond carefully and don’t hit an edge or a false point that moves the diamond from its place or makes it jump. Not only can it hit your head and injure but it will also weaken your blow.
- Do it until you succeed – may take you a few shots to get there.
How Do You Cut a Diamond?
The technique to break a diamond is to divide and conquer it. Remember when we mentioned only hitting the internal weak spot of a diamond? Well, the technical term for it is ‘tetrahedral plane’, also known as cleave lines, and they’re present within each diamond. A cleave line is the weak spot of a diamond — the concept is similar to a single grain in wood. If you drive a chisel into the wood along the grain, it will split easily. Try the same thing across the grain and it’ll require much more power.
Since a diamond has multiple cleave lines (usually four), hitting it with this special metallic tool divides it into four pieces. While it does affect a professional’s ability to obtain the maximum number of polished stones from a rough diamond, this is usually how it’s done. Finding these cleave lines is also a tough job and requires careful processing over days and weeks.
Steel vs. Diamond: Breaking With a Hammer
Have you ever wondered why is it the diamond that breaks and not the hammer? To understand this concept, you need to understand the difference between strong and hard.
A diamond is entirely made up of carbon atoms that are joined in a lattice-type structure. All the carbon atoms are at a fixed distance from each other and to break them apart, you need to hit them with a specific extreme force. This structure that binds them together makes diamonds hard.
Steel has an ionic structure — whenever it receives a reactionary blow from a diamond, its ions just absorb the blow and shift to the sides, making it impossible to shatter it. This makes the steel very strong and that’s exactly why you can break a diamond with a steel hammer.
Is It Safe to Break a Diamond With a Hammer?
A diamond may be the hardest natural material but it is prone to chipping and once it has, it loses its value significantly. So unless you’re a professional, you need to be super careful when trying to break it with a hammer.