When it comes to stones I’m equal opportunity. I love tourmaline, opals, diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, the list goes on. With this love comes understanding. Understanding that they are not formed equally. Some cannot withstand mild chemicals, like chlorine. Some scratch and chip easily, like opals & emeralds. Some scratch glass, and one is used as a glass cutter…diamond. Diamonds are reigning king when it comes to hardness. How do we know this? Jewelers all over the world use the Mohs Scale of Hardness as reference for scratch resistance with precious & semi-precious gemstones.
Backstory…So, 1812, enter Frederick Mohs. A German mineralogist who developed a scale for comparing the resistance of a mineral to being scratched by 10 reference minerals. Back in 1812 not a lot of information was available regarding mineral hardness. So, Mohs decided to create a relative scale based on ten minerals that varied in hardness and arbitrarily placed them on an integer scale from 1 to 10. He created a scale in which a mineral of unknown hardness could be tested against a group of ten index minerals to see where it positioned on the scale.
You can still buy these kits today to run your own experiments. The minerals are:
9- Corundum aka Sapphires & Rubies
Since 1812, several different ways to test hardness have been invented. Mohs Scale of Hardness is obliviously not the end-all test of hardness, but is still used today and is the most referenced.
When choosing stones for our collections we keep ol’ Mohs in mind. We want to keep our customers happy but we also want to create something for you that’s built to last. We recommend avoiding setting stones that are below a 7 in a ring. Rings tend to take a beating. From car doors to gardening, we subject our rings to a lot of opportunity to get scratched. Earrings come in second-mainly because of cellphones. When buying a piece of jewelry keep in mind the quality & it’s lifespan. Our hard-earned dollars should be spent on something that will be around for a while, hopefully a future heirloom.