Gemstones come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, and are used for various purposes including jewelry making, crystal healing, and even industrial uses. One important factor to consider when working with gemstones is their hardness, which is measured on the Mohs scale. In this guide, we will explore what the Mohs scale is and how it can be useful for understanding the hardness of different gemstones.
What is the Mohs Scale? The Mohs scale is a system that ranks minerals based on their hardness, or resistance to being scratched. It was created in 1812 by Friedrich Mohs, a German mineralogist, and consists of 10 minerals arranged in order of increasing hardness. The scale starts with talc, which is the softest mineral, and ends with diamond, which is the hardest mineral.
How is the Mohs Scale Useful? The Mohs scale is a useful tool for identifying and comparing the hardness of different gemstones. When a gemstone is scratched, it can leave behind small grooves or pits that can affect the stone's appearance and value. By understanding the hardness of a gemstone, you can better assess its durability and determine what type of setting or care it requires.
Gemstones on the Mohs Scale: Here are some examples of popular gemstones and their hardness on the Mohs scale:
- Talc: 1 (very soft)
- Amber: 2-2.5 (soft)
- Moonstone: 6-6.5 (medium-hard)
- Amethyst: 7 (hard)
- Sapphire: 9 (very hard)
- Diamond: 10 (hardest)
Caring for Gemstones: Knowing the hardness of a gemstone is important for determining how to care for it. Soft gemstones such as amber and pearls should be stored separately from other jewelry to prevent scratching. Harder gemstones such as diamonds and sapphires can be safely cleaned with a soft brush and mild soap. However, it's important to avoid exposing all gemstones to extreme temperatures or chemicals that can damage the stone.