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Some people have come to me with their diamond rings and showed me that their solitaire diamond has chipped at the sides, or the girdle (in gemmology terms). They’re baffled and can’t understand why, as diamonds are “supposed” to be extremely hard.

Well, it is true that diamonds are hard, but they are not as tough. On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, diamonds rank 10 which is the hardest possible, followed by Corundums (commonly known as Sapphires) which rank 9, followed by Quartz being a 7 and finally Talc rank 1, which is the softest possible. Hence, diamonds are hard: defined by being resistant to scratching, which means that a diamond can only be scratched by another diamond.

However, a diamond is not as tough as it is hard. Toughness is defined in gemmology as the resistance to breaking, chipping or cracking. Truth be told, because of diamonds’ crystalline structure, which has certain cleavages along certain planes; when hit at the correct angle, can actually cause the diamond to fracture or chip.

Bottom line: all forms of jewellery is an art form meant to be cherished, appreciated and well taken of. At all times, try not to wear your diamond or engagement ring when doing “heavy-duty” work. Take care when lifting or shifting any heavy-duty objects. If you suspect something does not look right with your jewellery, bring it to a jeweller you can trust (may or may not be the same jeweller who sold you the jewellery). Try to have your more precious jewellery cleaned, inspected and repolished every 1.5-2.5years. Yes, that includes platinum jewellery. Although, as far as we know, most jewellers will charge a nominal fee for repolishing. (Think of it as regular car-servicing sessions. You may not know there may be something wrong with your engine oil, or brake pads etc. But your technician will be able to tell. )