A gemstone’s hardness will determine its ability to withstand everyday wear, so picking the right stone is vital for any jewelry design. Whether you're a jewelry enthusiast, a gemstone collector, or just someone looking to make an informed purchase, understanding gemstone hardness will help you find the right piece for your needs. Here we’ll cover the essentials of stone hardness by introducing the Mohs scale, and learning how the scale categorizes minerals from softest to hardest. We’ll also apply that knowledge to jewelry so you’ll know exactly how to choose or create your perfect long-lasting gemstone piece.
In this blog you’ll find all the info to answer your questions like: What is stone hardness? What hardness should my stone be? And what is the Mohs scale?
What is gemstone hardness?
Gemstone hardness refers to the ability of a gemstone to resist scratches. It measures how tough or resistant a gemstone is to surface damage caused by everyday wear and tear. It does not mean a stone won’t chip or break when it comes into contact with other surfaces though. For everyday jewelry, it’s best to choose harder stones. If you have your heart set on a softer stone, just wear the jewelry piece on special occasions - it shouldn’t be worn in moments when it could come into contact with things that could scratch it.
How is gemstone hardness measured?
Gemstone hardness is measured using the Mohs scale, which ranks minerals on a scale from 1 to 10 based on their scratch resistance. The scale compares one mineral's ability to scratch another, with diamond ranking as the hardest mineral at 10. The scale is not linear so for example a diamond, a 10 on the scale, is about 4-5 times harder than sapphire, a 9 on the scale, which is about 2 times harder than topaz, an 8 on the scale.
How do I pick the right gemstone for my jewelry?
To determine if a gemstone is hard enough for your jewelry needs, consider both the type of jewelry and your lifestyle. For everyday wear jewelry like rings and bracelets, opt for harder gemstones like sapphire or diamond that can withstand regular use and resist scratches. For occasional wear jewelry such as earrings or pendants, you have more flexibility and can choose softer gemstones like pearls or opals. Also make sure you consider the types of activities you engage in regularly - if you’re involved in sports or hands-on tasks, we recommend choosing harder gemstones for durability. If you know that you’re great at caring for your jewelry pieces during wear, a pearl ring can certainly work for you.
Still not sure which gemstone is right for you?
We are here for you! If you’d like to consult us about any of our catalog jewelry pieces, we are happy to help ask and answer the important questions. If you don’t see exactly what you envisioned, we can also collaborate with you on a custom design that is perfectly paired for you. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our custom design form here!
Check out some more resources to help you find the perfect jewelry piece: