Can Diamonds Really Cut Glass?

can diamonds really cut glass

Diamonds are one of the most astonishing wonders that have been discovered by humankind. But, whenever we say the word, “Diamond”, it is most likely that the first picturization. That someone will have in their mind is beautiful rings and jewelry and its majestic shine and luster. And maybe also diamond jewelry and royalty and stuff. Isn’t it so? Well, such is the case for most of us because we have a general notion (thanks to media and advertisements).

That diamonds are only associate with gemstone and jewelry. But, in reality, majority of the diamonds produce in the world (70 percent to be specific). Be it naturally mined or lab-grown; are for industrial or non-jewelry purposes. And the remaining (30 percent) is considered to be of “gem quality” and are used for the jewelry business. And if one is thinking that these are all false claims. We certainly will negate such accusations as such are the claims made by The World Diamond Council themselves.

kohinoor diamond

Not all the diamonds in this world are the same as The Kohinoor or The Hope, and not all of them have the valuation and preciousness of a jewel or gemstone.  

Can Diamond Cut Through Glass?

Now, the question that the readers are often seen confused about frequently is that can diamond cut through glass? Because it may seem to the naked eye that both diamonds and glass have crystal-like properties. And diamonds are nothing more than well cut and polished glass. 

can diamonds really cut glass

To answer the question appropriately, we will be taking the help of science, that’s all. Yes, scientifically speaking, diamonds and glass are not at all equal to each other; be it their physical, chemical, or their visual properties. Moreover, the idea of diamond cutting glasses or not can be understood. Better if we understand certain chemical terminologies and classification scales. It is advised to please follow through.

The hardness of an element


There is a term called “Hardness”, which is specified and associated with every element known to exist on this planet. It is nothing, but the ability of resistivity of material from being scratched or cut. In simple words, it is the degree of scratch resistivity, that’s all.

Now, every material or element in this world has its place on a certain scale. Which is known as the “Mohs Scale of Hardness”. The scale got its name from the German scientist Friedrich Mohs, who developed it in the year of 1812. Now, this scale consists of 10 selected minerals that have distinct degrees of hardness for each of them. And generally are categorize in a descending order, where 10 is the highest degree of hardness (diamond has a rating of 10), and 1 being the lowest (talc). Except for diamonds, all the other nine elements in this scale are relatively easy to find. And are commonly known minerals.

Below we will be listing the scale for better understanding of the readers:

Mohs Hardness Scale:

Name of the Minerals                                Hardness

Talc                                                                1

Gypsum                                                         2

Calcite                                                            3

Fluorite                                                          4

Apatite                                                          5

Orthoclase                                                    6

Quartz                                                           7

Topaz                                                             8

Corundum                                                    9

Diamond                                                       10

Now, the thing is as the number of the hardness increases, so does their hardness property. Each of the later minerals can scratch the former if both the bodies are brought in contact. But the alternative is not possible, which proves the increased hardness of the later. 

For example, if we take quartz and apatite and rub both of them with each other. Apatite will be the mineral that will get scratched and grazed by quartz but not the opposite. Thus proving the superiority of quartz’s hardens.

Can diamonds cut glass?

can diamonds cut glass

Glass, be it of any kind generally falls in between the hardness number of 4 to 7 according to Mohs Hardness Scale. And by the above-listed table, we already know that the hardness number for Diamond is an absolute 10. It means that diamonds can scratch and cut anything that falls beneath it in terms of harness number. Therefore, they can cut glass.

Differences between glass and diamond

differences between glass and diamond

People often have a misperception that glasses are similar to diamonds or vice versa. Well, this is an absolute false concept, and to be true. There are many differences between glass and diamond according to their physical and chemical properties. From the above discussion, we already have come to know the difference in their hardness factor and number. Let us look upon some more points between these two elements which aid in their differentiation.

1. First and foremost is the difference between the atomic structures of both of these minerals. The atomic structure of glasses is incoherent and hence they are non-crystalline. Whereas, in the case of diamonds, the atoms are perfectly arrange hence they have a crystalline atomic structure.

2. Also as the atomic structure is being discuss here, it is essential to include. That the atoms responsible for the formation of diamonds are carbon atoms. Whereas glasses are generally known to be silicates.

3. Though not one of the crucial differences, yet this is a noteworthy difference. Glass is more transparent in comparison to diamond. Meaning one cannot see or read as clear through a diamond as they can through a glass.

4. During formation or their growth processes diamonds contain various types of impurities and inclusions within them, i.e. they are mostly not flawless. On the other hand, glasses contain no such imperfections or impurities within them and are flawless information.

5. Diamonds occur in various ranges and varieties of color; from colorless ones to even red, blue, and yellow colored ones. Glasses, on the other hand, do not come with any original color of their own, i.e. they are colorless.

6. Though all the diamonds are not believe to be of gemstone quality. Yet they possess some or the other kind of natural shine to them. Which can be notice if they are observe under natural lighting conditions. Glasses, unfortunately, have no shine of their own and are made to shine by artificial means, i.e. by polishing them.

7. Even the origin of each of their names has different sources. Glass is believed to have been derived from the German word “gelsum” which stands for a lustrous and transparent substance. On the other hand, Diamond comes from the Latin word “Adamas”. Which is original of Greek origin and stands for unbreakable and invincible.

8. Lastly, as for the valuation for each of these compared elements. Glasses are not nearly as expensive or of similar valuation as that of Diamonds. This is the only reason why diamonds are used for expensive jewelry pieces and ornaments. While glasses have no such uses or demand in the jewelry business. Also, the degree of rarity is not the same for both of these elements as glasses are very commonly available substances. And can almost be seen everywhere in our day to day lives. But, diamonds are extremely rare and are very scarce in their terms of form in nature. This is exactly why humans have come with artificial means to replicate the natural processes for diamond formation. And have successfully started growing diamonds in laboratories.

There it is; the answer to the question of whether diamonds can cut through glass. And also the other potential differences among both these elements. Thank you.