Diamonds have long been admired for their elegance, rarity, and resilience. They’re also known to be one of the hardest and most durable substances on earth. We’re going to explore why diamonds are so strong, and how their strength and beauty have made them one of the most valuable and sought-after gems in existence.


The science of strength

 To understand why diamonds are so strong, you must examine their atomic structure and the unique properties they contain. Diamonds are comprised of carbon atoms arranged in a crystal lattice, wherein each atom is bonded to four other carbon atoms. These strong covalent bonds form a tetrahedral structure, resulting in one of the hardest known natural surfaces on the planet.

A diamond's hardness can be measured on the Mohs scale, named for German geologist and mineralogist Friedrich Mohs, which is used to identify minerals and rate their resistance to scratching from one (softest) to ten (hardest). A diamond is considered a perfect ten on the Mohs scale, making it incredibly resistant to scratching.

Various minerals on the Mohs scale, from softest to hardest.

In fact, diamonds are so resistant to scratches, that other diamonds were traditionally needed to cut and shape them. Diamond cutters used a special saw impregnated with tiny diamonds on the blade to cut along the stone’s tetrahedral plane, its weakest point, to create the diamond shapes that would then be polished into their glittering final form. Today, the use of precision lasers has largely supplanted diamond-on-diamond cutting, though some cutters still employ the traditional method.


Why are diamonds so strong?

The strength and hardness of diamonds can be attributed to their unique atomic structure and the strong covalent bonds between carbon atoms. Natural diamonds are made from carbon that has undergone extreme heat and pressure miles deep in the Earth’s mantle, where they are created over the course of billions of years. Man-made diamonds undergo the same process, condensing billions of years into a few months by producing high-pressure and high-heat conditions in a lab setting.

Diamonds on black backdrop.

The extreme heat and pressure cause the diamond atoms and molecules to change until they are so close together the molecules can’t move. This is known as covalent bonding, and it gives diamonds their distinctive traits, such as:

Thermal Conductivity. Diamonds are excellent thermal conductors, meaning they can efficiently transfer heat. This makes them valuable in various industrial applications, semiconducting, and electronic devices, where they are used to dissipate heat and extend the lifespan of certain components 

Hardness. As the hardest known natural material, diamonds are incredibly resistant to scratching and abrasion. This makes them the ideal mineral for use in cutting tools and abrasives, but it also gives them a resilient quality perfect for jewelry and keepsakes meant to endure for generations.

Optical Properties. Diamonds also have a high refractive index, which contributes to their stunning brilliance and fire when properly cut, shaped, and polished.


Finding your own strength in a diamond

At Eterneva, we recognize that a diamond’s strength is something wonderful to behold and admire for its amazing physical properties. But we also know that a diamond can contain another kind of strength as well.

Holding a diamond created from the ashes or hair of a loved one presents such a poignant representation of what it means to lose someone and how hard it can be to move forward without them. The beauty and brilliance of a memorial diamond can serve as a wonderful symbol of the remarkable life contained within it. But its resilience and durability can also represent the strength and resolution of the person who carries it on in life.

Woman wearing a diamond necklace.

Diamonds are mesmerizing to look at. They seem to reflect endless and innumerable shimmers of brightness in their depths, often appearing to be made of the light itself. And yet they are stronger than steel, unflinching artifacts made up of some of the oldest and most mysterious molecules found in our universe.

If you choose to start your Diamond Journey with Eterneva, you can find healing and courage in the process. And when you look at your loved one's diamond, you will be able to see beauty and draw strength from the magnificent stone and the unique life shining inside it.