How to Tell If Your Diamond Has Cracked?

what to do if your diamond is cracked

Can your diamond crack and shatter?

You probably landed on this webpage because you were searching for information related to “cracked diamonds” or “what to do after chipping a diamond” in the search engines.

My guess is that you are freaking out after dropping your diamond ring or hitting your engagement ring against something hard like a wall. Well, let me calm you down by saying that it is relatively difficult for a diamond to get damaged in an accidental knock.

In fact, what you think you are seeing as a problem in your ring may actually have nothing to do with cracks or a chipped diamond.

In this article, I will answer some of the frequent questions that readers ask when they get into an “accident” with their engagement ring. I’ll also show you how a cracked diamond looks like in real life and address common “problems” that might be mistaken for a crack.

Daily Wear And Tear: Cracks Are Unlikely, While Blemishes Are

Within weeks of purchasing or receiving their first piece of diamond jewelry, there’s always this group of people who start to get paranoid and worry about having a damaged diamond. Do you know what’s the main reason behind this phenomenon?

Well, that’s because these people don’t fully understand or inspect their jewelry in detail before making a purchase. Based on my interactions with readers and shoppers, most people only start to see details they never noticed before because they had plenty of time to scrutinize their jewelry after owning it.

Instead, the questions only arise after they looked at their jewelry for a lengthy period of time and they start noticing stuff like girdle reflections or feather inclusions which had always been there all along.

(And this perplexes me, don’t you think it’s a little too late to be asking those questions now instead of understanding your purchase completely before buying?)

If you are shopping for diamond jewelry, vendors like James Allen and Blue Nile allow you to easily scrutinize diamond details with complete transparency. This means you get to SEE exactly what you will be buying!

Most of the Time, It’s Just a Cleanliness Issue

dirty jewelry in a cup

People often mistake a diamond to be cracked when they see a whitish looking line running through the diamond. Instead, the culprit behind this is due to a dirty diamond that has a concentrated layer of built-up grime.

You see, throughout the course of the day, a diamond ring worn on your hand will inevitably come into contact with external matter (e.g. hand soap, water, your fingers etc…) and slowly accumulate grime.

Initially, this layer of muck may look like a thin layer of dirt or a patch of oil stain. Overtime, the gunk accumulates and become so thick that it appears like a thick white line across the diamond’s facets. Depending on where the gunk is built up, it can be mistaken as a crack or a sign of physical damage to the stone.

“Repairing the Cracks” – Cleaning the Diamond

As the diamond’s surface becomes dirtier, the stone will begin to look dull and lifeless. In turn, some of the inclusions that were previously masked by the stone’s brilliance and scintillation will now become more obvious. This could trick your eyes into believing that new flaws had developed when they had been there all along.

By cleaning your diamond and removing a good deal of the grime, you will easily restore the stone to its initial condition. All you need is a soft brush and a small amount of detergent to get the job done.

If your ring setting has corners which are difficult to reach with a bristle brush, you might want to consider using an ultrasonic cleaner or bring it back to the jeweler for professional steam cleaning.

You Get What You Paid For: How It Could Actually be Broken

In truth, diamonds are rather hard to break. In order for you to cause a crack in the stone, you will have to apply the right amount of force at the correct angle along its cleavage plane.

fracture propagated from crack in diamond

Feathers (aka cracks) that extend to the surface of pavilion facets.

There is also a direct relationship between the quality of the diamond and its “breakability”. A diamond with low clarity grade and a poor cut grade (crowns that are too shallow or extremely thin girdle thickness) will be more susceptible to damage when subjected to external forces.

From a mechanical view of the crystalline structure, severely included diamonds have weaker integrity due to the presence of defects and foreign materials. This is why you always need to inspect the diamond carefully before making a purchase.

feather and huge crack in emerald

This I1 emerald cut runs a high risk of breakage due to the big feather inclusion (crack) it has.

Generally speaking, the saying “you get what you paid for” applies tenfold in the diamond industry. If you behave like a cheapo with unrealistic expectations like buying a 2 carat diamond for $2,000, you can expect to get ripped off and receive an industrial grade diamond.

By paying more for quality and shopping smartly, you indirectly buy yourself a better looking diamond that offers long-long years of durability and enjoyment.

Don’t make the same mistakes of buying blindly. James Allen and Blue Nile offers you the ability to inspect and interact with loose diamonds under magnification. Now, you can examine every single detail of a diamond from the comfort of your home.

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  1. Hadfield-
    March 27, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    I paid a good price for my diamond ring 10 years ago Now there is a crack and the diamond as discoloured. I have no idea what has happened. Can you help me? What can l do?

  2. Paul Gian-
    March 27, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    First of all, diamonds don’t discolor, unlike some other gemstones. You should give the stone a good cleaning first to make sure it isn’t a blemish caused by dirt build up. If it is still there, take it to the jeweler you bought it from or consult an appraiser and ask for advice on how to proceed with whatever you want to do with it.

  3. Margie perez-
    June 10, 2017 at 6:53 am

    Have a chance to purchase a 1.50 canary marquise cut diamond, but found a slight crack or a little deep scratch on it by one of the 6 prongs that hold the stone in place. What can happen if I keep it and can it be fixed if it is real?

  4. Paul Gian-
    June 10, 2017 at 8:47 am

    There’s no way to “fix” diamonds except to get it completely polished away which may result in a significant loss of carat weight. If this canary diamond doesn’t come with a GIA report, you can be sure you are in for a giant rip off.

    June 13, 2017 at 7:45 pm


  6. Paul Gian-
    June 14, 2017 at 3:40 am

    First of all, diamonds DO crack or getting chipped during repairs. It really depends on the skill of the bench jeweler and also the condition of the stone. Durability issues that stem from flaws and defects can increase the possibility of damage and can cause diamonds to crack under pressure.

    I haven’t seen your ring in person and can’t comment much without a proper assessment. Anyway, you should be talking to your jeweler about this issue.

  7. Cali-
    July 23, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    I have an opportunity to purchase a 4.02 Radiant, F in color, SI2, 9.72 x 8.09 x 5.98 mm. It’s GIA report is good polish and symmetry with a strong blue fluorescence. My concern is it has an extremely thin girdle. My jeweler, who I’ve bought from before, doesn’t believe it’s a problem. If I buy it the deal isn’t done until it’s mounted on my ring and I pay for it. If the girdle doesn’t cause a problem during mounting what’s the likelihood it will give me future problems?

  8. Paul Gian-
    July 26, 2017 at 6:12 am

    It depends on where the extremely thin portions of the girdle is. In general, this causes high risk issues with chipping and abrasion. If the extremely thin portion is exposed instead of being under a prong, a slight knock on the area may result in catastrophic damage.

  9. Michael Farrell-
    April 1, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    I find your writing to be extremely condecending and, in truth, quite off-putting. While you may fancy yourself an “expert” many people do not have an education in gemstones and would prefer friendly advice as opposed to downtalking.

  10. Paul Gian-
    April 2, 2018 at 8:20 am

    Well, it is not in my character to sugar coat words or when I’m offering constructive advice. If you want to listen to “nice” words of “advice”, you can get that from salespeople behind the counter who may not have your interest at heart.

  11. Stephanee-
    July 6, 2018 at 1:54 am

    I took my engagement ring in for its 6-month check up and they found a crack. Two of the jewelers looked at it under the microscope and at first said it could be an inclusion. They cleaned it and looked again and said it was a crack. One also commented that the surface of the diamond wasn’t smooth which could also indicate it was cracked and not just an inclusion. Does this sound accurate to you? Can a diamond crack on the inside and is it possible to repair it without removing it from the ring?
    Thanks in advance!

  12. Paul Gian-
    July 6, 2018 at 2:54 am

    Technically, a feather (crack) is a type of inclusion and they can exist inside the body of the diamond. These cracks don’t extend to the surface unless you subject it to immense pressure. And when I say immense, I’m referring to getting it hammered down with force instead of casually hitting your hand against a wall type of force. Do you have a grading report for the diamond ring?

    Unfortunately, all repairs to fix a cracked diamond would require it to be removed from the setting as it needs to go back to the polishing wheel.

  13. Albert-
    July 6, 2018 at 3:19 am

    Michael Farrell , what is your problem? Paul gian gives constructive advice and this for free and definitely NOT off- putting or condescending but rather honest and direct. I personally enjoyed reading every bit and in no way it felt condescending. Take your negativity and your stupid comments elsewhere. Why can’t people just be grateful?

  14. Sheen-
    July 20, 2018 at 10:23 am

    My 18k gold engagement ring with cubic zirconia stone was replaced to a diamond stone. The diamond stone was from a pawn shop and staff of the said pawnshop did all the work to replace it etc. When we had it checked and appraised, the lady said that it is an old cut diamond and saw a black spot and a crack (probably included) in the stone. Is an old cut diamond nowadays valuable or of greater/lesser value? I am just very curious.

  15. Paul Gian-
    July 21, 2018 at 8:35 am

    Well, I can assure you that you probably had a garbage tier diamond with that purchase and you likely overpaid for it by alot.

  16. Christopher Billiter-
    December 15, 2018 at 12:34 am

    I like your style and how you give advise, don’t listen to these a**holes criticize you on “free advise” honestly they should be paying you to take time out of your day to help.

  17. Christopher Billiter-
    December 15, 2018 at 12:36 am

    Albert, well said.

  18. Victoria-
    March 12, 2019 at 2:15 am

    Hello, I recently took my ring in to have the band fixed as it had come apart at an old solder or weld where it had been sized.

    The jeweler called me to report that both diamonds, each about 1 carat, have a crack right down the center. They were just making me aware.

    I didn’t notice it when I dropped it with them, and I don’t really think they damaged it during the repair of the band….but what I DO question is how two separate stones would each have a crack down the center. The cracks run from side-to-side, not top/bottom.

    Any insight? Thank you!

  19. Paul Gian-
    March 12, 2019 at 6:18 am

    If it were for a resizing job, I can say that the diamond was likely already damaged and cracked beforehand. You are right about that assessment. Now, as for how cracks form, it really depends what happened during wear and what the ring has gone through. It most likely came as a result of a severe knock and/or with a low quality diamond to begin with.

  20. Vicky-
    March 12, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    Thank you Paul for the nice answer. My guess was that it has been bumped or knocked against something during years of wear because both center stones are cracked, not just one but both.

    It’s a cocktail ring that was put together with stones from my grandmother & mothers old wedding ring sets, and passed to me upon Grandmas death. So sorry to see it damaged after having it for ten years.

    Thanks again, Paul Gian.

  21. Kate-
    April 24, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    My rings were bought in 1966 for the grand price of $200 for the set (wedding and engagement rings including diamond) it was EVERYTHING WE COULD AFFORD!

    In 1975 I thought the diamond looked a little wonky and took it to a local jeweler. He said the diamond was cracked and blamed the four-prong setting. He reinforced the setting with a bezel to protect the diamond.

    I don’t think it’s very pretty and have worn the rings very rarely since.

    These rings have gigantic sentimental value to me. Is there anything to be done to make the rings prettier?

    The original diamond was “certified” to be “color – white, cut – brilliant, clarity – 1st grade imperfect”.

    I have a pretty good photo of my rings (experimenting with close-up photography) if there’s any way to post.

  22. Paul Gian-
    April 25, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    For old diamonds like these, they are usually cut to pretty bad standards and having an imperfect clarity grade could have resulted in the durability issues you faced. I’m not sure what you mean when you say to make the rings prettier. If you want to do a recut, that would alter the look of the diamond completely. If you want to do a reset of the ring in a new setting, that might also change the look completely. If you want to, you can send the images to my email and I can uploaded them here in the comment section for you if you don’t mind.

  23. Xavier Torres-
    July 16, 2019 at 1:52 am

    I quickly heated my diamond and dropped it into water. The diamond shattered internally but the extior remainted unblemished. Is it possible for an authentic diamomd to do so when super heated and cooled in water immediately after

  24. Paul Gian-
    July 16, 2019 at 3:56 am

    Well, that’s a really unscientific way to test and destroy what you have. Diamonds with poor make and heavy inclusions can shatter and there’s nothing concrete I can tell you about the nature of the stone.

  25. Noel-
    October 22, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    18-year old diamond engagement ring…woke up the other morning and one of the (3) diamonds looked like it had been shattered from the inside, no scratches or markings on the outside. We were near shopping outlets when I noticed it so I popped in a Kay Jewelers hoping it was just dirty. The gal there called her manager over, he tested the diamond (authentic) and put in under the scope. He said he’d never seen anything like it and that it likely had an internal fracture when it was originally cut that finally just gave way. We have paperwork for the ring, so I am hoping the warranty will be honored when we bring it in. Can I send a picture?? It’s really interesting and I am finding it very hard to find any information about this.

  26. Paul Gian-
    October 23, 2019 at 6:02 am

    Normally, good quality diamonds don’t “shatter” the way you describe without large impacts or shocks. You are probably right that the internal feather might have grown over the years and finally got triggered by some external forces. You can send a picture if you want to my email and I can take a look but I doubt I will be of any use as this problem would require a replacement of the stone. Bring it back to the jeweler you bought from and see if they can replace the diamond.

  27. Louise-
    January 9, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    Hi there, I left my 1 carat engagement ring in to be cleaned and rhodium plated today. When I collected it the jeweller said there’s a crack in the diamond and showed it to me using the loupe.
    I’ve never noticed it before and it wasn’t there when we bought it 7 years ago in Antwerp as had it valued when we came home to Ireland.
    Could this have happened during process by jeweller today?

  28. Paul Gian-
    January 9, 2020 at 5:42 pm

    It’s very very very very unlikely the crack happened during cleaning. Cleaning and replating with rhodium doesn’t exert force that will crack a diamond. It probably was there all along and you may want to refer to the GIA grading report clarity plot for the diamond.

  29. Tammy-
    March 21, 2021 at 12:58 pm

    Hi can you tell me anything about diamonds from the 40’s?
    I used my grandmother’s round diamond for my engagement ring and was told the the girdle is thick and that diamonds were cut differently back then.

  30. Paul Gian-
    March 25, 2021 at 9:56 am

    They are likely old miner cut or old european cut diamonds. At that era, diamonds are often cut with larger facets. These 2 articles should offer more info:

  31. george-
    September 27, 2021 at 11:00 pm

    When you buy a gorgeous 3 stone old European cut gypsy set diamond on Ebay and the seller sends it to you in a plain white envelope and it gets put through the postal rollers and gets stuck. That will chip your diamonds for sure, sadly I speak from experience.

  32. Paul Gian-
    September 29, 2021 at 10:27 am

    That’s an issue with the seller and the value of the ring. If the ring is really worth any money, there’s no way someone with any sense would mail a piece of jewelry out like that. Even the lower-tier scumbags from eBay don’t send their garbage tier jewelry out in this way.

  33. Robert-
    February 23, 2022 at 11:50 pm

    I want to counter the person who said you were rude and condescending. You are giving out free advice and telling people the truth. Thank you

  34. Ann Kurchack-
    June 7, 2022 at 2:16 pm

    I had a diamond appraised and then took it to a “trusted” jeweler to sell. They called back with a ridiculously low offer stating there was a crack in the girdle. No where in the appraisal (done by someone else) did it note this. Is it possible that the jeweler cracked it taking it our of the setting for examination?

  35. Paul Gian-
    June 9, 2022 at 3:02 am

    I have no idea. It’s like trying to pinpoint whose fault is it without seeing the ring before and after the event above happened. But one thing’s for sure. If you expect to get a jeweler to buy your diamond and expect to get more than 30-40% of what you paid, then you are oblivious to the diamond industry. Get this, whatever figure that the appraiser gives actually holds no weight other than to make you feel good. In short, the piece of paper (appraisal) is likely as useless as toilet paper when it comes to determining “value”.

  36. Debbie-
    October 5, 2022 at 7:12 pm

    Would you buy a “clean to the eye” 2 carat diamond solitaire with a tiny chip on edge?
    Thank you
    Please advise. I have a chance to buy at good price.

  37. Paul Gian-
    October 6, 2022 at 5:30 am

    Depends on the severity of the chip and more importantly, whether the diamond is well cut or not. Generally, I won’t bother wasting my time on a chipped diamond when there are literally hundreds of well cut stones available in the market. Why would I want to pick a mediocre stone or a stone that makes me 2nd guess myself which hurts the enjoyment of the ring in the long run.

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