Are Diamonds Stones Or Metals? (9 Facts You Should Know!)

Diamonds are gemstones made out of carbon and are found deep in the Earth.  However, you may be surprised to learn just how amazing these little stones can be!

So, if you’ve ever wondered if your diamond can last you a lifetime – you’ve come to the right place!

Here’s the Breakdown on Diamonds, Stones & Metals:

Diamonds are gemstones, but they are not metals. Diamonds are formed from carbon in the crust of the Earth, where the intense pressure forms that carbon into a gemstone. Steel is made from iron ore transformed into steel by humans using blast furnaces.

Understanding the Structure & Properties Of Diamonds:

You may be surprised to learn that the structure of a diamond is pretty complicated yet impressive.

It all begins when a group of atoms bonds together in a carbon structure to form one single object.  This is called a diamond cubic and is the very pure form of a diamond.  When we think of diamonds, we often think about the shape and how each layer can be seen and sparkle.

However, they don’t start that way.  When a diamond is mined out of the Earth, it is in this diamond cubic shape.  Only through “cutting” the diamond, which professionals do, do you get the result of a beautiful piece of jewelry.

Because a diamond is made of mainly carbon material, it needs to be exposed to intense heat to form completely.  Luckily, natural diamonds are found just below the Earth’s surface, where intense temperatures commonly make them the perfect breeding ground for a diamond.

Due to how they are formed, diamonds can withstand high heat and pressure, making them nearly indestructible.  However, this has much more to do with chemical science and not a lot to do with the shape of a diamond itself.

Are Gemstones Considered Stones?

Gemstones are technically considered stones.

However, they are in a category all their own!  Gemstones are a wide variety of natural materials found on the Earth, like crystals and diamonds.

Gemstones are typically cataloged as “precious stones.” When talking about gemstones, there are 7 different factors to consider.

This is how scientists can classify them by checking each of these factors.

The 7 boxes to check to be considered a gemstone are:

  1. Hardness
  2. Fracture
  3. Cleavage
  4. Luster
  5. Streak
  6. Color
  7. Crystal form

A diamond hit all of these points perfectly!

We already know that diamonds are a crystal form because they are subjected to heat and pressure to fuse the crystals.

Once a gemstone is mined out of the Earth, it will be cut and polished to create its final form.  However, some gemstone crystals can be found in their rarest form.  In the case of diamonds, they are always treated before being sold.

Are Diamonds Stronger Than Metal?

Diamonds are one of the strongest natural materials found on Earth.

However, steel is stronger.  Diamonds are not stronger than steel.  This has very little to do with how they are created and much more to do with the internal structure.

The reason why diamonds are so strong is because of the way the atoms in carbon are formed.  They are so tightly fused that a diamond is rock hard and very strong.

Yet steel is even denser than a diamond, making it stronger and harder to break. 

While steel is stronger than a diamond, most other metals do not even come close to the strength of a diamond.  When you consider softer metals like aluminum, the strength cannot measure up to a diamond.  However, some metals are equal in strength, like titanium.

However, both still conduct massive amounts of energy.  So, when we talk about strength, it is important to remember that being “strong” has many different meanings!

Are Diamonds Magnetic?

Diamonds are not magnetic.

Learning whether a natural material is magnetic has a lot to do with the internal structure.  Magnetic material will have its magnetic field in the center, meaning that it can stick to metal surfaces.

Natural gemstones, like diamonds and crystals, do not have this magnetic pull.  If they are mined from the Earth, you will find that your diamond will not stick to a metal surface.

If you have a diamond or crystal that has a magnetic pull, the chances are that they were manmade in a lab.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing either.  People are becoming more open to the idea of synthetic diamonds and crystals.

This is because they are far less expensive and much earlier to craft than ones that must be mined.  This is a common test that many professionals do to check the validity of a diamond.  So, go and grab your favorite tennis bracelet!

If it sticks to your refrigerator, chances are you have a synthetic gemstone on your hands.

How Strong Are Diamonds?

When rating the strength of a gemstone, like a diamond, there are a few factors to consider.

Important things to ask are: do they scratch?  Can they break under pressure?  Can they last forever?  In the case of a diamond- you are in very good hands.  This is because diamonds are widely regardest as the hardest material on Earth.

When talking about materials on Earth, we are only talking about diamonds that come directly from the Earth and not synthetically processed ones.

A diamond is rated 10 out of 10 on the Mohs scale.  Experts use this rating system to rank just how strong the material is. 

Since diamonds get a perfect score, it is safe to say that diamonds are VERY strong.

Because of how they are formed, it is very difficult to scratch or break a diamond.  Some experts use the resistance of a diamond in crafting other materials since it is nearly impossible to crack one.

While diamonds get a perfect strength score, it is important to remember that they are not the stronger material on Earth.  However, diamonds have certainly earned their spot near the top!

Can You Scratch A Diamond With Metal?

No, you cannot scratch a diamond with metal.

Even though certain metals like steel are much stronger than a diamond, they will not scratch the surface of a diamond.  One of the only materials that can scratch a diamond is the diamond itself!

While metals cannot scratch a diamond, a diamond can certainly scratch the metal if rubbed together.

I remember being told as a kid that to test if a diamond is real, you should scratch it across a piece of metal to see if it leaves a mark.  If a mark is there – you have an authentic precious gemstone on your hands!

Are Diamonds Durable Or Brittle & Breakable? Check out our article here!

Are Diamonds Stronger Than Steel?

We’ve already established that a diamond is, in fact, not stronger than steel.

This may seem obvious, seeing as steel is used in buildings to ensure that the structure is stable.  However, a diamond does beat steel in many other ways that don’t include strength.

A diamond is far smoother than steel due to how the carbon atoms are formed.  Because of the high heat and pressure, a diamond’s atoms are very tightly woven together, giving it its structure.

This is the same thing that also gives diamonds their strength.

So, while steel may be technically stronger than diamonds, diamonds can hold their own for an extremely long time.  This is why so many people think that diamonds last them a lifetime.

It is also important to note that steel can also last a lifetime.  However, diamonds can hold up much better to the natural elements like rain and heat.

So, when it comes to strength, there are certainly many different factors working for each of these precious natural materials.

Are Diamonds Stronger Than Gold?

It’s hard to think about diamonds without considering gold.

This is because the two somehow seem synonymous with each other.  This is more than likely because diamonds are often found in a setting of gold.  Whether it is a diamond ring or a white gold necklace, the two defiantly are the perfect pair.

How do they stack up against each other when it comes to strength.  Diamonds are far stronger than gold.  It may surprise you to learn that gold isn’t all that strong.

Gold is considered to be one of the softer metals.  Gold is formed with gold atoms, whereas diamonds are formed out of carbon.  Carbon is much stronger than gold atoms in almost every way.  Gold can easily be bent and twisted, whereas diamonds are carved to make their final shape.

Another big factor to consider is heat.  Diamonds can withstand extremely high heat because they are formed from high heat.  Gold can easily melt under high heat.  This is actually how gold is shaped!

So, diamonds take the cake when it comes to the overall strength of these two materials!

Are Diamonds The Hardest Materials That Exist?

Diamonds are the hardest natural materials that are found on the Earth.

They are not the hardest materials on Earth!  Over the past few decades, scientists have been experimenting with lab-grown materials that are synthetically made.

While the process is tiresome at times, they have managed to create two different materials that, when tested against diamonds, are found to be harder than a diamond!  It is fairly safe that diamonds are the hardest natural structure found.

While this is a widely accepted theory, some believe that once a material that is also natural yet harder than a diamond.  In the late 1800s, a French chemist, Henri Moisson, claimed to have discovered a rare material that was tested over 15% harder than a diamond.

This material was found deep in the Arizona desert.  This material was found to be a member of the nitride family, unlike a diamond that is a carbon bonded material.

This material was given the name Moissanite after the man who discovered them and was said to be found within a meteor crater.  However, since it is believed to have fallen from the sky, can it be considered a material made from the Earth?

Final Thoughts

While we learned that diamonds are in the stone family, as they are classified as gemstones, they have quite a bit in common with metals.

Both metals and gemstones are naturally strong materials found in the Earth that are formed through atoms to give them structure.  But, much like different stones, metals also have different ratings for overall strength.

Steel is the strongest metal on Earth, while other metals like gold are far softer overall.

The same can be said for gemstones.  While diamonds are a gemstone that is naturally hard and resilient, other gemstones like talc and topaz can’t withstand the same amount of pressure as a diamond can.

The reasoning for this has everything to do with how the materials are initially formed and not much to do with how they are eventually harvested and cut.

So, next time you glance down at that rock on your finger, take a second to think about the journey it took to get there!

Reference Links:

The Chemistry and Structure of Diamonds

Can You Scratch A Diamond?

How Many Times Stronger Is Diamond Than Steel?

Scientists Create Crystal Stronger Than Diamond