The Mohs Hardness Scale

Ever wondering why some stones scratch easier than others? 

Today we are discussing gemstones and their durability based on the Mohs Hardness Scale. The Mohs Hardness Scale was created by Friedrick Mohs in 1812 and it is “a measure of how difficult (or easy) it is to scratch the surface of the gemstone” (Gem Select). Diamonds are at the top of the scale being the only one with a rating of 10. The ratings continue down to a 1 with some of the softest gems which can be seen on the scale shown below. 

When picking a colored gemstone for your jewelry it is important to reference the Mohs Hardness Scale to know what gemstone will fit your lifestyle best. While some gemstones are lower on the scale, meaning they are a softer stone, they can still be a wonderful option, and look for your piece. When a stone reaches a hardness value lower than a 7, there is a “ risk of damage which results in loss of value and necessitates expensive repairs” (Gem Select). It’s important to know what wear and tear a stone can manage when purchasing your ideal jewelry piece. 

It is important not to confuse hardness with toughness. The Mohs Hardness Scale again measures how difficult or easy it is to scratch the stone. Jade is a good comparison, as jade is very tough. “Tough” meaning it is very difficult to break but is a 6.5-7 on the hardness scale making it easier to scratch than a diamond. A common misconception about a diamond is that they cannot be broken. They in fact can break but they can only be scratched by another diamond, which is why they are the hardest stone on the scale. 

Below is a scale of some commonly used gemstones used at J. Brooks Jewelers for a quick reference. These various gemstones are made up of different properties which change their makeup and overall hardness level. We want to ensure you choose the best gemstone for your jewelry piece that will make you feel like the fashion icon you are. At J. Brooks Jewelers we are here to provide that experience. If you have questions regarding what stone is best for you, message our team here