Myth busting – the different diamond test
This video is dedicated to battle some common misbeliefs about diamonds and you will learn
what makes diamond such a special material.
And in the end we will show you a simple trick that can help sort out fake diamond imitations.
The word diamond comes from the Greek "adamas" which means “unbreakable” – the most
famous association with diamonds.
Well, is that really so?
You are about to find out!
The answer is: YES and NO Diamond scores the highest number with 10
out of 10 on the Mohs Scratch Hardness Scale.
Even more so: Mohs hardness scale measures exponentially.
The absolute grinding hardness of diamond is in fact 140 times harder than the second
hardest material Corundum (that is, sapphires and rubies) that score a 9 on the Mohs scale.
How come diamond is so incredibly hard while graphite – both of which are 100% carbon
– is so soft and scores only between 1 and 2 on the Mohs scale?
You guessed right – the atomic structure makes the difference!
A pencil writes because the carbon in form of graphite is easy to scratch off.
Each carbon atom shares strong covalent bonds with three other atoms while the structure
itself is assembled in weak layers – those are easy to scratch off.
In a diamond on the other hand carbon atoms share strong covalent bonds with four other
atoms that together form a complete 3-dimensional structure.
There is no weak spot.
This is the reason we put diamonds on top of drilling heads and why we can use diamond
coated blades to cut through pretty much anything.
But wait second, if it is such a hard material, how do we actually work on a diamond – for
example, cut and polish it into a round brilliant to be used in jewelry??
Again, you guessed the right answer: We use another diamond to work on a diamond.
But if it is just as hard - how can one diamond scratch another?
The secret is: Diamond hardness is varying within the stone according to direction – just
like a piece of wood is hard to break against fiber growth direction.
Right, this is the point.
After hearing so much about diamond hardness- here comes the big BUT:
Hardness does not equal toughness.
Hardness is defined as resistance to scratching while toughness denotes the ability to resist
breakage from falls or impacts.
Because of diamonds´ perfect and easy cleavage, it is vulnerable to breakage.
A diamond will shatter to pieces if hit with an ordinary hammer.
Before modern laser cutting technology rough diamonds were separated into pieces to be
finished as individual gems by cleaving.
For such, the diamond cutter scratched a line into the diamond, placed a blade in it and
hit it with a hammer – the diamond would split in the desired direction due to the
But Diamonds are supposed to be indestructible!!
Well, they do have another super power – diamonds are immune to acids.
This material property is exploited for example in the diamond production process to separate
kimberlite stone from the diamond within.
Once the volcanic (kimberlite) rock is taken from the ground and broken into pieces x-ray
technology and so called grease belts are used to separate diamond containing rocks
from other materials.
(The grease belts we will refer to later again) Rocks with diamonds inside are then put into
an acid bath that dissolves the volcanic rocks and leaves only the diamonds behind.
The recipe for this bath is not disclosed by the diamond mining companies.
Neither can we disclose our secret recipe that was used for demonstration purposes in
What else makes diamonds so special?
Nothing conducts heat as well as diamond.
Next to the application for drilling and coating technologies diamond can be used in different
areas such as computers.
Conducting heat 6 times better than copper while being an electrical isolator (except
for blue diamonds, they conduct electricity) allows for multiple more efficient construction
designs in the field of optics, electronics, lasers and even the upcoming quantum computer
But wait - with so many possible useful applications - that means we need a looooot of diamonds?
This leads us to one of the most important concepts relating to diamonds: RARITY.
In the news one hears about synthetic diamonds every now and then making it seem like a new
Let´s look at the numbers: Back in 2012 about 127 million carats of rough
diamonds were produced worldwide.
In comparison: Global production of synthetic diamonds was approximately 4.38 billion carats.
Only about 2% of the industrial demand can be covered by natural diamonds.
In many cases synthetic diamonds are more suitable for industrial usage because they
can be produced on demand and adjusted according to individual specifications.
But more on this you learn in a different video about synthetic diamonds.
So, diamonds are not rare at all?
Think about it this way: Only about 25% of all rough diamonds are suitable
for the use in jewelry.
In addition to that, the cutting process for a round brilliants costs another 60% of the
And, if a diamond is suitable for jewelry, gets perfectly cut and polished, we start
thinking color and clarity.
Few diamonds have high color grades or great clarity.
And then again, even less diamonds come along with both those qualities combined in one.
From there it goes up exponentially in rarity (and price) the larger in carat weight you
As you can see, natural diamonds almost give a perfect definition of what rarity means.
And you do understand how important the quality of the rough material is that you start out
Another common diamond myth relates to prices.
Many people think that diamond is the most precious gem stone in the world.
There are extremely rare rubies, sapphires, emeralds or alexandrites that actually score
higher per carat prices than diamonds.
Interesting here too: This applies to natural gem stones only.
Synthetic versions of rubies, sapphires, emeralds and alexandrites have already been around
Now, back to nature.
Back to how a diamond´s properties can help you filter fake diamonds.
The special crystal structure of a diamond has two curious side effects: Hydrophobia
Diamonds are afraid of water and love grease.
In other words: Diamonds repel water, that is, just like many plant leaves water does
not stick to them, doesn´t get them wet and instead just forms a drop that easily “falls”
At the same time diamonds do attract grease – body or skin care products for example,
anything oily easily sticks to diamonds as every diamond jewelry lover knows.
By the way – how to clean your diamond or diamond jewelry properly we will cover in
a different video.
Lipophilia is used in the diamond production process to separate plain rocks from diamonds
on grease belts.
Those utilize the fact that diamonds stick easily on a greasy surface while other minerals
and rocks don´t.
Many jewelry savvy people can spot fake diamonds like cubic zirconia on flew markets with a
simple trick: If you breath on a diamond and on a cubic zirconia - check closely and you
will notice that the cubic zirconia gets foggy and steamy.
A diamond clears up immediately because it repels water and steam.
This trick needs some practice but can help you filter out diamond imitations with little
to no equipment.
Make sure you check out our other videos with more information on how to spot cubic zirconia,
synthetic moissanite or verify that you have a real diamond.
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