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Gemstone Hardness & Wearability

Why most stones are not suitable for everyday wear…

The Mohs hardness scale and why it’s important for your jewelry’s durability!

It is becoming more and more common to choose an alternative stone aside from diamonds for engagement rings. We love the appreciation for beautiful gemstones of all colors and The Mohs hardness scale is a useful tool to help determine whether or not a stone is suitable to be used in jewelry that will be worn daily. This is particularly important when a jewelry piece is worn on the hand where it will get the most wear and tear. Today we are taking a dive into the Mohs Hardness Scale and how it determines gemstone hardness & wearability.

The Mohs Hardness Scale is a set of ten mineral references numbered 1 through 10 that are used to determine the relative hardness of other minerals and materials. In this particular test the hardness of a mineral is defined by its resistance to being scratched. Below you will find the scale with the base reference minerals, their classified hardness, as well a stone commonly used in jewelry to compare if applicable. This scale is not arithmetic, it is logarithmic (each increase in number is 10x harder than the previous.

Mohs Hardness Scale Minerals:

Mineral Hardness Gemstones/Jewelry Minerals (If Applicable)

Talc 1 N/A – Can be scratched easily with a fingernail

Gypsum 2 Amber – Can be scratched with fingernail

Calcite 3 Pearl – Can be scratched with coin

Fluorite 4 N/A – Can be scratched easily with a knife; cannot scratch glass

Apatite 5 Turquoise – Can be scratched with a knife; can just scratch glass

Feldspar 6 Tanzanite – Can be scratched with steel file; easily scratches glass

Quartz 7 Amethyst and Citrine – Easily scratches glass and softer stones

Topaz 8 Emerald and Topaz – Scratches quartz and softer stones

Corundum 9 Sapphire and Ruby – Scratches topaz and softer stones

Diamond 10 Diamond – Scratches ruby and sapphire

Diamonds are a tried and true choice for gemstone hardness & wearability in engagement rings since they are ranked with the highest durability and are of course extremely beautiful (Not to mention, they can come in a variety of colors). While other gemstones are just as beautiful they aren’t as durable which can create a problem when worn all the time. We encourage clients to stay within the hardness scale of 9 or 10 when shopping for an engagement ring, oftentimes when a stone with a lower rating is chosen we see lots of chips, scratches, and breaking of the stone within a fairly quick time frame.

If there is a sentimental connection to a stone below a hardness of 9 on the scale we recommend using it in a complimenting piece to the engagement ring, a set of earrings, a necklace, a bracelet, or even a right hand ring to be worn on special occasions. After Midnight Jewelers strives to provide clients with an engagement ring that fits their personal style, unique love story, and a quality that will last for generations to come.

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