Do Diamonds Chip?

February 24th, 2016 | Debra Dolphin

Diamonds are hard, but they’re not indestructible. Confused? Our expert explains.

When gemologist say that diamond is the hardest gemstone known to humankind, what they mean is that they are scratch-resistant—which is why only diamond can scratch diamond and why only diamond dust is used to polish diamonds. But that level of extreme hardness makes diamond brittle, which can cause it to chip if subjected to enough impact under certain conditions. It’s relatively rare and can happen without you even realizing it.

We use our hands a lot on a daily basis and expose our rings to wear ranging from scratched metal, to a bent or broken prong, to something as severe as a chipped diamond. Some of this wear may not be visible to the unaided eye, and what’s even more perplexing is that the damage can occur anytime under the right circumstances—within a week, a month, or years after purchase.

Chipping a treasured diamond ring is not only a surprise, but also a major disappointment. A chip may downgrade the stone’s clarity grade, by one or more grades, and may require re-polishing (if very minor) or re-cutting (if more severe). This can mean an unplanned expense and/or the loss of carat weight (or size), which translates to a loss of value.


chipped diamond


To avoid this situation, follow these suggestions from our diamond experts:

• Always remove your jewelry before engaging in sports, house cleaning, dishwashing, gardening, exercise, heavy labor, and lifting or carrying heavy items. Be particularly careful if you work around hard surfaces, such as metal filing cabinets, or hard countertops.
• Protect your jewelry when it is not being worn by separating it from other jewelry, using a separate compartment in your jewelry box. Diamonds can scratch each other and other gemstones. To be on the safe side, be sure that gemstones and jewelry do not touch each other.
• A chip in a diamond can be caused by two or more rings moving, rubbing, or gently pounding against each other over time, so consider having your rings fused together to avoid this.
• To preserve the beauty and luster of your jewelry, most items can be cleaned in a mild detergent in lukewarm water and dried with a soft, clean cloth. Do not use any type of brush, which may loosen stones, abrasive cleaners such as toothpaste, or sharp instruments that may cause damage. Avoid wiping with a rough cloth that may catch or pull a prong.



• Jewelry is not unlike a car—it requires regular maintenance checks and servicing to look its best. In addition to keeping a close eye on your ring yourself, have your ring inspected, polished, and cleaned every six to 12 months, or sooner if you notice anything is loose. We provide this service free of charge on all the jewelry we sell.
• Insurance can offer tremendous peace of mind, particularly when severe damage results in a significant loss. However, please note that many consumers find that while their homeowner or renter’s insurance plan may provide sufficient coverage for lower priced items or theft, they’re under-insured (or not insured at all) on higher value items. Don’t assume. Talk to your agent or look into Jewelers Mutual, a leading jewelry insurer, for more information. You can get a complimentary quote to insure your Blue Nile jewelry through our website.

As always, our experts are available 24/7. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them (1.800.242.2728 or with questions.

Debra Dolphin, a trained graduate gemologist and former jewelry appraiser, is the Director of Global Customer Care at Blue Nile. She has been with the company for 15 years and is committed to providing the finest service and education to our customers.

February 24th, 2016
Debra Dolphin