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Let's say I have a plenty of supply of diamonds for my archer's arrows and my blacksmiths can easily work with diamonds.

Would diamond arrows be superior to iron arrows?

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    $\begingroup$ You have blacksmiths that can work diamond? Who exactly are you hiring, and where can I hire them? $\endgroup$ – Gryphon Jul 10 '18 at 20:42
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    $\begingroup$ @JBH If he actually does have people who can work diamonds, the first thing to do is forge a few hundred 1-2 carat diamonds into a single diamond. Then sell it for far more than the original 1-2 carat diamonds. Rinse and repeat. $\endgroup$ – Gryphon Jul 10 '18 at 21:32
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    $\begingroup$ @Gryphon, Economic warfare? There's a point to be made, there. Why lick 'em when you can own them? $\endgroup$ – JBH Jul 10 '18 at 21:33
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    $\begingroup$ They would be substantially more fabulous. That could be seen as superior. $\endgroup$ – Brizzy Jul 11 '18 at 7:02
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    $\begingroup$ As a joke answer (which is why it's a comment, not an actual answer), diamond arrows are far superior to iron arrows in one specific way. "Say, I want to spend the night in your barn. I'd be more than happy to pay you... say, one arrow?" $\endgroup$ – Ghotir Jul 11 '18 at 20:05
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No

Diamond is brittle. It is hard (resistant to scratches) but not tough (resistant to breakage). So the diamond arrowheads would be no better than flint or obsidian arrowheads in this regard. This makes your arrows a consumable. Once fired the most likely case is that the arrowhead is broken, and needs to be replaced even if the shaft and fletching are still intact. Whereas iron arrowheads may be only dulled.

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    $\begingroup$ Also worth noting that an arrowhead that shatters upon impacting a hard surface wont help at all with penetration, while a steel arrowhead might be able to pierce even well made armour. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Jul 10 '18 at 20:55
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    $\begingroup$ But diamond hunting arrowheads would be much less likely to break since they wouldn't be used against armored beings. $\endgroup$ – M. A. Golding Jul 10 '18 at 21:03
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    $\begingroup$ the weight could also be a consideration as a lighter arrowhead carries less momentum than a heavier one, I can't say I know whether iron/steel is denser than diamond as to which is better in that regard $\endgroup$ – BKlassen Jul 10 '18 at 21:37
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    $\begingroup$ "no better" no they would be far worse. since diamond is a crystal not an amorphous glass it also will not be sharp like obsidian. $\endgroup$ – John Jul 11 '18 at 1:14
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    $\begingroup$ The head breaking can be an advantage in some cases. You don't need to worry about your enemy firing your own arrows back at you. The Roman pilum purposefully had a soft tip, so it would bend and be unable to throw back. $\endgroup$ – Ryan_L Jul 11 '18 at 1:18
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No, they would be far worse, diamond is dull and brittle.

Diamond cannot be made sharp like flint or obsidian, diamond has a regular crystalline structure, but flint is a amorphous glass, it has no crystal lattice, so it forms conchoidal fracture, which is what gives flint and obsidian such super sharp edges.

As Nate pointed out it is also brittle, so it will not be any stronger either. There is absolutely no benefit.

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    $\begingroup$ It rather depends on the technology level available - some of my best lathe tools are diamond tipped, and are both sharp and reasonably tough (no worse than carbide), but that's polycrystalline diamond (effectively diamond power fused in a matrix) rather than gemstones. But you can sharpen natural diamonds as in en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamond_knife if you have reason to. $\endgroup$ – Pete Kirkham Jul 11 '18 at 16:43
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    $\begingroup$ That's a good point, with modern shaping you can make almost anything sharp, but those surgical blades are still not as sharp as glass ones even is they are less brittle (although still brittle enough dropping one can destroy it). Of course if you are using arrows I just assumed pre-firearm technology, or at least pre-rifled firearm. . $\endgroup$ – John Jul 11 '18 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ You can make razor-sharp flint or obsidian blades with a rock. There's a reason why diamond blades had to wait until the middle of the 20th century before they could be made, and are hideously expensive to manufacture. $\endgroup$ – Keith Morrison Jul 11 '18 at 19:06
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There is one use case I can think of for diamond arrows, and it's not really something you'd find in the real world, but you might be able to create some "trick arrows" like you see in shows like Green Arrow or RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons. If, for some weird, contrived reason, the materials for glass are so hard to come by that it's cheaper to use diamonds, you could create diamond casings to put behind your arrowheads and add poison, acid or other dangerous fluids in them. When the arrow hits, the casing shatters and whatever is in the container is released.

example image of a trick arrow head with a casing

Poison applied directly into a fresh arrow wound is extremely dangerous because it directly enters the bloodstream. Acid can inflict hideous injuries and might be usable to damage larger objects that you otherwise would do little damage to with an arrow. Depending on the tech/magic level, you might be able to create 2 somewhat safe chemicals that when mixed combine into something explosive and/or highly flammable. There might also be chemicals to suffocate small flames, but I don't really know how feasible that is.

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  • $\begingroup$ It would be nice if you could add a simple image description to your uploaded images in order to help people using for example screenreaders to understand what you are showing. The standard "enter image description here" isn't really helpful for them. $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Jul 11 '18 at 11:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Secespitus ah, I see, so that's what that text is for. Didn't know that, sorry. $\endgroup$ – Nzall Jul 11 '18 at 12:18
  • $\begingroup$ This answer is the bombdiggity. $\endgroup$ – Erin Thursby Jul 11 '18 at 18:57
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Technical reasons aside, I think this would be a very bad idea. Once it became known that your kingdom could afford to spend well over $1000.00 per arrow, you would open yourself to invasion by every other kingdom - that is presuming that diamonds are as valuable in your world.

I remember reading a story once about an Indian tribe that, not knowing its value, began to fashion bullets using gold. That tribe was entirely wiped out soon afterward.

Greed is a very powerful motivator.

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    $\begingroup$ If this is a world where diamonds are plentiful, they won't be. $\endgroup$ – Piomicron Jul 11 '18 at 19:05
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    $\begingroup$ @Piomicron The op stated "I have", not "the world has" with the reasonable, although still perhaps incorrect, implication that diamonds are a valuable commodity. I'll withdraw this answer if further clarifications show that diamonds are as plentiful and as easy to obtain as say, iron. $\endgroup$ – Michael J. Jul 11 '18 at 19:52

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