Understanding Gemstone Strength

When shopping for gemstones or jewelry made with gemstones, you may come across statements like “Mohs Hardness 3-5” but what does this all mean? Today, I am happy to share with you a quick guide to understanding gemstone hardness.

A gemstone’s hardness also know as the stone’s scratch resistance, is measured using something called the Mohs Scale of Relative Mineral Hardness. It is a scale that has been in use since 1812 and was designed to test the ability of a harder material to scratch a softer material. If a mineral scratches another, they belong to the same hardness level/scale.

1 – 2       Soft:    Can be scratched with a fingernail
3 – 5       Medium Soft:     Can be scratched with a steel knife
6 – 7       Medium Hard:  Can be scratched with a window glass
8 – 10    Hard:      Can be scratched with a diamond

Some sample gemstones in each of these categories are:

 Hardness Group: Soft

English: Talc from Luzenac (Ariège) Français :...

Autumn Hickoryite – Hardness Group: Medium Soft

Amazonite – Hardness Group: Medium Hard

English: Amazonite, Museum of rocks and minera...
English: Amazonite, Museum of rocks and minerals, Faculty of Mining and Geology, Belgrade (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ruby – Hardness Group: Hard

The red colour of rubies is from a small amoun...

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  1. You post some of the BEST information! Thank you!

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