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Diamond can be produced in large quantities by additive manufacturing.

We see some pretty wild dresses at various awards ceremonies. Could you make a workable diamond dress? Or wouldn't it be decorative if shaped to the body rather than in the normal pointed-base designs used to create reflections?

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  • $\begingroup$ what do you mean with "diamond dress"? $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Commented Jun 25, 2023 at 3:36
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch A dress made out of diamond. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 25, 2023 at 3:49
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    $\begingroup$ I've also gotta ask for some detail - we've seen dresses that are covered almost entirely in sparkly things (maybe not diamonds, but we'll get to that) but are still just 'dresses' with the extra things fixed on the top, or do you mean a dress that is made just out of diamonds? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 25, 2023 at 4:01
  • $\begingroup$ I get the impression it's supposed to be one big diamond. Like wearing a barrel, but shiny, extremely heavy, and more expensive than a jet. $\endgroup$
    – g s
    Commented Jun 25, 2023 at 4:07

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Made of, no. It's just not a flexible enough to make cloth or strong enough to make mail. You can have a dress covered in diamonds, which will give an effect similar to being covered in rhinestones, but that's the closest you could get. Also diamonds is only shiny when faceted, so basically you have a sequin dress with diamond sequins. If you want maximum shiny, go for metallic cloth like this covered in diamond chips instead of tiny metal discs, similar to a this rhinestone dress. Note the denser you make the weave the heavier the dress gets, like in the double-digit pounds range.

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  • $\begingroup$ Ah, that's what I was afraid of--no way to get the diamond sparkle other than covering fabric with them. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 3:17
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Not with a single diamond, no, but you can make cloth out of very hard parts if they are linked together in certain ways - NASA's "chainmail" for example. This makes a fabric by linking together shapes with rings, allowing the interlocked shapes to bend and twist while still remaining attached. However, although it would not be as dense as a metal version, it would likely still be quite heavy.

Images from model by TurboDork: NASA chainmail image showing interlocking parts enter image description here

Also, diamonds 3D-printed in this way would likely be yellow or black (see "polycrystalline diamond"), not the clear sparkle generally associated with diamonds.

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I've used this quote many times on this Stack

"Can you launch an ICBM horizontally?"

"Sure! Why would you want to?"
–The Hunt for Red October

Could you make a dress out of sheet diamond? Sure!

  • The skirt would need to be a ball gown shape to allow the legs to move.
  • The bodice would need to be in (at least) two pieces that are latched together.
  • The bodice must be sleeveless and have at least a Sabrina-style neckline to allow for movement of the arms, shoulders, and neck with minimum limitations to the shoulders, or a yokeless neckline to allow for full function of the shoulders.
  • The hemline would need to be no longer than ankle length, although mid-calf might be better, to ensure it doesn't clip the ground. As it is, this dress, unless the hem is that of a miniskirt, will have a lot of trouble with stairs and slopes.
  • Unless you're attending (*ahem*) one of those kinds of parties, your beauty will need to wear a slip or spray paint the interior of the dress. Diamond sheets are transparent unless cut to refract light. The wearer might want a slip anyway because diamond is notorious for its non-porosity, meaning it won't breathe a bit. The wearer will quickly begin sweating — much to the detriment to holding the dress in place. Might need those shoulder straps after all despite the limitation in shoulder action. (And we won't mention just how much sweat gets absorbed by normal clothes...)
  • The wearer can't sit down. Well, if it were a miniskirt, maybe, on a stool. Tough to use the loo. Did you know back in the Louie XIV era the loo was, in fact, more like a pedestal for exactly this reason? O'course, the fabric for those dresses still had some give.
  • Your beauty will want to wear this dress 6-8 hours a day for a couple of weeks before the event to grow accustomed to the weight — which will not be trivial.
  • And that party had better be attended by good security because the dress might be more valuable than the wearer. Not that diamond is all that expensive — it' just an international conspiracy that keeps it that way when jewelry is involved. Maybe I'm wrong. I'm just sayin' (I'm lookin' at you, De Beers.)

In a word, impractical. But that didn't keep Lady Gaga from wearing a dress made out of meat. That meat had to be treated with something or it would have stunk to high heaven by the end of the night. I'm just sayin' that, too.

But, if you're willing to walk away from the impractical side of this...

You'll discover that it's already been done.

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  • $\begingroup$ I was picturing a combination of conforming sheets and fill sort of like the dress you show. That dress completely does not get the effect I was hoping for--"transparent" but facets would break things up enough. And note that I said synthetic produced in scale--expensive but not astronomical like it would be now. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 3:25
  • $\begingroup$ the dress would also be super fragile, worse than if it were made of glass. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Jun 26, 2023 at 3:57

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