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What to Know About Chipped Diamonds

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What to Know About Chipped Diamonds

It’s commonly believed nothing can destroy a diamond. 

While diamonds are the hardest mineral on Earth — rated 10 on the MOHS scale — they’re still susceptible to chipping as a result of hard impact or in everyday use.

Read below to learn what causes a diamond to chip, how to prevent it, and what can be done to repair it.

What Causes a Diamond to Chip? 

When looking at what causes a diamond to chip, it’s important to note how a gemstone’s durability is measured. A gemstone’s durability is measured by the following qualities:

  • Hardness: how resistant the gemstone is to scratches and abrasions.
  • Toughness: how resistant the gemstone is to breaking and chipping.
  • Stability: how resistant the gemstone is to heat, humidity, and light.

A diamond that scores low on the toughness scale is most likely to chip. This is because its structure is weak. Cleavage lines along the diamond are areas where the atoms are not as tightly bonded together, making them a weak point.

Additionally, diamonds are vulnerable if the girdle is too wavy or thin. The girdle is the part of the diamond that separates the top from the bottom.

Girdle of Diamond

Third, the type of setting it sits in may leave it more vulnerable to a chip. Prong settings leave more of the diamond exposed, allowing it to be damaged more easily. On the other hand, a bezel setting is more likely to protect your diamond.

Any of these characteristics could cause a diamond to chip if it experiences hard impact or is hit at just the wrong angle.

How to Prevent Chipping Your Diamond 

How to Prevent Diamond Chips

To keep your diamond safe, there are a few precautions to take. Below are seven tips to prevent chipping your diamond.

Don’t Buy Diamonds with Very Thin Girdles 

The first tip for how to prevent chipping your diamond is to not buy a diamond with a very thin girdle. Diamonds with a thin girdle can chip when being set or worn due to the structure of the diamond being compromised. 

A diamond with a thick girdle is shaped proportionally for both strength and aesthetically pleasing designs. Before buying your diamond, have the jeweler explain the thickness of the girdle.

Avoid Inclusions Near the Girdle

Inclusions are small, naturally-occurring imperfections in diamonds. Diamonds with inclusions such as twinning wisps, cavities, or clouds score lower on the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) clarity scale, and any inclusions mean it likely won’t be graded as internally flawless (IF).

IF diamonds cost a premium, so some inclusions are acceptable at the right price. But inclusions near the girdle leave the diamond more susceptible to chipping because it impacts the structural integrity of the whole diamond. When having your diamond inspected, request the jeweler inspect for inclusions near the girdle to avoid potential chipping.

Consider Shapes Without Points or Sharp Corners

Another factor that contributes to the odds of your diamond chipping is its shape. Diamonds with points or sharp corners have an increased chance of chipping. 

Sharp corners and points are the weakest section of a diamond and can easily chip if struck across a hard surface. This is much like any other type of stone or mineral.

To avoid this, look for one with a round or oval shape. This shape, in any setting, has a stronger overall structure that can withstand more impact than points or sharp corners.

Choose a Setting that Best Protects the Diamond 

The type of setting for your diamond ring affects its chances of chipping. The most common types of settings are tension, prong, and bezel. 

Prong Setting Diamond Ring

While the tension setting has a unique aesthetic, it exerts significant pressure on the diamond. This means it has a higher likelihood of chipping.

The prong setting shows off the full surface of the diamond and has exceptional light performance, but because more of the diamond is exposed, there’s a higher chance of chipping the stone.

The safest bet is to use a bezel setting. While it may not be your first choice of setting, it will keep your diamond more safe and secure than other settings. A compromise is to choose a half bezel, which has many of the advantages of a full bezel but exposes more of the diamond.

Check Prongs for Damage 

If your diamond is held in by prongs, periodically check the prongs for damage. The prongs not only hold your diamond in place but also protect its sides from damage. Think of the prongs as a sort of a protective, decorative basket for your diamond. 

If the prongs become damaged, they lose their effectiveness at protecting the diamond and may result in it chipping or even falling out of your setting.

Remove the Ring During Physical Activity 

One of the easiest ways to reduce the chances of chipping a diamond on your ring is to remove it when engaging in physical activity. 

If you’re lifting weights, playing sports, or simply working around machinery, remove your ring. Your diamond can chip and your ring can become easily damaged when doing these activities, and taking it off is a quick and easy way to prevent this. 

It’s also a critical way to keep your finger safe, as a ring can cause your finger to become trapped in narrow places.

If the diamond on your ring already has a slight chip, it’s best to take it off immediately to prevent further damage or the chip turning into a larger crack. 

Chipped diamonds can be repaired by a professional jeweler. As soon as you notice your diamond has chipped, quit wearing it, and have it inspected as soon as possible. The sooner your jeweler can repair it, the smaller the chance the diamond experiences irreparable damage.

How to Fix a Diamond That Chips

There are a few ways to fix a diamond that chips. Take it to a professional jeweler to assess the damage and suggest the best repair route.

Let’s explore the options you have.

Recut It 

If a diamond is large enough, one option is to recut it to remove the chip. This is usually reserved for diamonds that can be recut without losing too much of their shape. 

It results in a smaller diamond but is one way to keep the same diamond without having to replace the whole thing. This is one of the more expensive options, but it’s an effective way to preserve a diamond with sentimental value.

Cover the Chip with a New Setting 

Another option is to cover the chip with a new setting. For example, if you have a chip near the side of your diamond that could be covered by a prong or with a bezel, your jeweler may change the setting on your ring. 

Bezel Setting

This may have a drastic effect on the overall look of your ring, but in some instances, it could be a nice upgrade. It all depends on the shape of the diamond, the size and location of the chip, and the current setting type. 

Consult with a professional jeweler on your setting options to see if there’s a way it can be covered with a new setting.

Check with Your Jewelry Insurance 

If you purchased jewelry insurance on your diamond ring, now is the time to look over your plan to see if your chip is covered. 

Some jewelry insurance plans cover the repair or replacement costs of a chipped diamond, saving you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Check your insurance policy or call the company you bought your ring from if you’re unsure. 

If you currently don’t have an insurance plan on your jewelry, it may be a good time to invest in one that covers a chip.

Upgrade to a New Diamond 

If you have the funds and want to replace your diamond with a new one, this is the time for an upgrade. 

Upgrading means you’ll receive a newer, undamaged diamond put into your current ring. It’ll give you a new look on your ring, and you won’t have to worry about having your chipped diamond repaired, resized, or reset. 

When upgrading to a new diamond, remember to have it checked for inclusions near the girdle, its girdle size, and then consider a diamond with no points or sharp edges. You don’t want to experience the same problem over again.


There are many ways your diamond can chip. However, there are plenty of ways to prevent it from chipping, both as you wear it and the quality checks before you purchase. 

The good news is a chipped diamond can often be repaired through a recut, or it could signal it’s time for an upgrade. 

If you do experience a chip, have a professional jeweler assess the damage as soon as possible to minimize any further issues and to explore your available options.

They all have a quality selection of diamonds and the best online buying experience.

Jacob Clarke

Jacob Clarke

Jacob Clarke is the founder of TeachJewelry.com.

He earned an Applied Jewelry Professional Diploma from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and now brings you essential information about diamonds, settings, and more.

Jacob has consulted with leading jewelry brands, and his work has been cited in Clean Origin, Diamond Nexus and industry publications.

He's also a member of the International Gem Society.

He enjoys discussing jewelry with readers, so contact him with any questions at jacob.clarke@teachjewelry.com.

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