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Diamond cutting

  1. Sep 10, 2011 #1
    Hello all.
    I was inquisitive whether a diamond can be broken by a hammer. I think it can be, because diamond is the most hardest material found, and hence the most brittle which can crack when hit by a tough and comparably hard material.
    If I am wrong can someone highlight how diamonds are cut to give desired shape?
    Thanks for your Help :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 10, 2011 #2


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    if the diamond has major flaws (most of the natural diamonds do I believe), shattering it with a hammer shouldn't be too difficult.

    As to produce desired shape, I think you can do that with laser
  4. Sep 10, 2011 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Diamond saw.
  5. Sep 13, 2011 #4


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    Well, I used to cut gems as a hobby (never diamond, but I read books covering this). Note that diamonds are reasonably brittle, but there is no general law that says something that is hard (resists scratching) must be brittle. There are substances much harder than sapphire that are also much tougher (opposite of brittle) than sapphire. Diamond crystals a have good cleavage. The crystal will break cleanly along certain planes. A sharp metal tool hit with moderate force is used to 'rough' out a size and shape exploiting cleavage. I was about to explain more about the process after cleaving, but found that wikipedia has a good description (note the point about hardness variation with crystal orientation; the process would be much less practical without this):

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