Can a Diamond Break if Dropped? I See a Horizontal Line!

can a diamond break when dropped

Does a diamond ring break if it is dropped on the floor? Photo: GIA

Sometimes, accidents can happen when you are wearing your engagement ring especially if you aren’t a careful person. Mishaps like dropping the ring on the floor or knocking the ring against a hard surface are some common scenarios which can occur.

And if it happens to you, the first things that probably come to mind are questions like: “Can a diamond break if dropped?”, “Was the engagement ring damaged?” and etc…

In fact, here’s a recent question that a nervous reader sent us:

Question: Help! I dropped my diamond ring on the floor recently and when I checked for damages, I see a horizontal line through the diamond which wasn’t there before. It seems like the entire diamond has cracked in the body and it looks very severe. Can a diamond break if dropped? What should I do now?

Answer: It is very unlikely that a diamond would crack or break just by dropping it.

Under the most severe circumstances, a diamond would probably chip under a hard blow. Examples of these include hitting the diamond at an angle with a lot of force or banging your hand against a hard surface accidentally.

In your case, there is really no cause for worry. What you are seeing and describing is probably due to a phenomenon known as girdle reflection caused by the pavilion facets. In fact, I do get asked some similar questions about the ‘horizontal line’.

To many people looking at it for the first time, it does look like a crack or feather inclusion. In another case, a lady who returned from her routine cleaning service actually thought that her diamond was switched!

horizontal line across diamond's profile - girdle reflection vs crack

The horizontal line is due to girdle reflection and is NOT a crack.

Don’t worry, it’s not a crack or a major inclusion that you missed when buying the diamond. The most common scenario that happens when people accidentally knock or drop their ring is that they start scrutinizing the ring and begin to see things they never noticed before.

Needless to say, they get worried and start to fret. Here’s how you can check for girdle reflections and give yourself a peace of mind.

By tilting the diamond ring at different angles, the girdle reflection would also shift in its position. Also, the size of the reflection is proportional to the girdle thickness of your diamond. Depending on your diamond’s proportions, you might see a thinner or thicker reflection.

another view of the girdle reflection in a diamond

Looking at the reflection from a different angle.

picking up a diamond with tweezers upside down

At a slightly different tilt, the reflection of the diamond girdle shifts in position.

Like I said earlier, diamonds are hard and very unlikely to get damaged just by dropping the ring. If you are still worried, get it checked by a jeweler in your area. What he/she is going to tell you would probably be what I mentioned above.

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  1. Caroline-
    August 19, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    When I came back from the jeweler today with a prong re-tightening maintenance, I noticed a white line across one of the facets on the top of the diamond.

    I tried cleaning and wiping the diamond with a cloth but its still there.

    Please help. Had my jeweler damaged the diamond?

  2. admin-
    August 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm


    There’s no sure way to tell unless I can inspect your diamond physically.

    When you purchase your diamond, did it come with a grading certificate? If it has one, you might want to check to see if the inclusion was present there in the first place. You might had noticed it only today.


  3. Caroline-
    August 19, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for replying. I checked my GIA certificate and see no signs of inclusions in the plot that is located near this location. My diamond is a VS2 clarity stone.


  4. admin-
    August 19, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    Hi Caroline,

    Sounds like you might or might not have a problem. I don’t want to jump to conclusions here.

    You should bring it back to the jeweler to see what they say.


  5. Jasmine-
    November 15, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    Hello, i accidentally dropped my .28 diamond earring earlier on, it landed on the floor and i would like to know if it will cause and crack or scratches on the diamond? It appears that my diamond has a black line in it.

  6. Paul Gian-
    November 16, 2015 at 1:53 am

    It’s very unlikely. If you are still afraid it will, searching for answers online is not the best solution. Bring it in to the jeweler for a physical inspection or get a 10X loupe and examine it yourself. And my suspicion is that the black line is actually dirt or linen that it picked up on the floor when you dropped it.

  7. Thomas-
    September 23, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Thank you for this article! 4 years later, and I’m sure it still gets TONS of visits. Glad to know I didn’t get a Lemon that randomly cracks internally :)

  8. Vanessa-
    January 11, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    My hand was under a metal shelf and I pulled my hand straight up not realizing that my diamond ring was on that hand and it hit/rubbed against the edge. I used a lot of force as I can see damage to the gold on one of the prongs – it actually was indented or broke off. Anyways I then noticed that there was a horizontal line that runs right across the diamond. I am really worried that I cracked the diamond. My sis and I didn’t notice this line at the Jewelers. It is a .61 Carat VVS2 diamond and I have only had it for a week. What happens if it a crack? Can anything be done to fix it?

  9. Paul Gian-
    January 13, 2017 at 3:04 am

    Take it back to the jewelers for a check. Chances are, it isn’t a crack and you are unduly worried. Diamonds don’t break that easily. If they were to break, it would have happened on the polishing wheel when they were subjected to immense stress and pressure.

  10. Yıldız Koparan-
    April 23, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    Hi last day I broke a cup,it didnt fall into small pieces, there were big pieces. I threw the cup two steps forward from me,can one of the broken parts of the cup hit my diamond on my necklace and damage it? Is it possible? It didnt hit I know but if it hits what if? Can a piece of ceramic cup damage a diamond?

  11. Paul Gian-
    April 24, 2020 at 9:20 am

    It is really unlikely for the ceramic pieces to be able to damage your diamond. For the force required to do so and at the right location, the odds are minuscule. If the ceramic pieces did have the potential to break your diamond, the hand in which the ring is worn on would likely incur significant injury. The fact that you can type this comment tells me you are fine and you are over worrying things.

  12. Yıldız-
    April 24, 2020 at 11:14 pm

    Yes ı know ı am really exaggerating this subject. I am in love with my diamond jewelleries..and that was a necklace by the way,not a ring always worried about my ring,necklace.bracelets etc..did a thing damage it or not? Actually ı want to learn ıt is easy or not to damage a diamond especially in daily life..u know u hit ur diamond ring somewhere. It can be a table,bottle,door..what breaks a diamond? How Much force do u need to break a diamond? In a setting,is the diamond safe for ex? Thanks ur comments

  13. Paul Gian-
    April 25, 2020 at 2:59 am

    Something as simple as dropping a ring on the floor can chip the diamond IF the odds and the planets align. Much of it depends on the quality of the diamond (e.g. an I3 diamond with an extremely large feather or pre existing chip, the exact spot and force which can be applied along the breakage plane of the diamond’s crystalline structure and many many many other factors. Even in a setting, if the setter made a poor decision to line the prong up against a large inclusion, that could create a weak point and having a diamond set doesn’t necessarily lower the chances of chipping a diamond as opposed to a loose diamond.

    You are asking me to give you a certain answer in a situations with lots of uncertainties and variables. Most diamonds don’t break as easily as you think they do.

  14. Anthony-
    May 11, 2021 at 11:17 pm

    I don’t even own a diamond lol. Its just cool to see this comment thread last almost ten years

  15. Paul Gian-
    May 12, 2021 at 11:41 am

    LOL. As you can see, people worry about the same issue throughout time and this is quite an evergreen question.

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