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Gemstones Hardness

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Instructions for making jewelry with gemstones including Moh's hardness of gemstones

The most common scale used to define gemstone hardness is the Mohs scale.  In the table below, we will show the Mohs hardness and the absolute hardness for several common materials including gemstones.  For more information on the Mohs hardness scale, please select here.  The absolute hardness of any material is determined in a laboratory using a tool called a sclerometer.  This tool a stylus with a defined hardness and draws the stylus across the material being tested (scratches the material being tested).  The size of the scratches is then used to determine the absolute hardness of the material being tested. 
Mohs
Hardness
Absolute
Hardness
Mineral or
Substance
Other Materials
1 1 Talc Sulfur
2 2 Gypsum Human Skin
Human Fingernail (2.5)
Gold, Silver (2.5-3)
3 9 Calcite Calcium Sand (Florida)
Pearl
Coral
Malachite
Copper Penny (3.5)
4 21 Flourite Platinum (4-4.5)
5 48 Apatite Iron
Lapis Lazuli
Turquoise
Opal
Knife Blade (5.5)
6 72 Orthoclase
Feldspar
Moonstone (6-6.5)
Tanzanite (6.5-7)
Peridot(6.5-7)
Window Glass (6.5-7)
Steel File (6.5)
Zircon (6.5-7.5)
7 100 Quartz Most Sand
Citrine
Amethyst
Tourmaline (7-7.5)
Garnet(7-7.5)
Hardened Steel (7-8)
Emerald  (7.5-8)
Aquamarine  (7.5-8)
8 200 Topaz Topaz
Alexandrite (8.5)
Cubic Zirconia (8.5-9)
9 400 Corundum Ruby
Sapphire
10 1500 Diamond Diamond

It is worthwhile to note that on the absolute hardness scale, a diamond is 15 times harder than quartz and about 4 times harder than the next hardest gemstones, ruby and sapphire.  This hardness is the reason that the diamond has so many industrial applications beyond making jewelry. 

It is also worthwhile noting that gold and silver are very soft, which is one reason why they are combined for making jewelry with other materials like copper to make alloys which are harder and more durable.

The date used to populate the above table was obtained from the Wikipedia article on hardness and other public sources. 

Birthstones in Gemstones

 

 



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