The hard truth
Unless you’re a jeweller, you may not be aware of the durability of the individual stones – and you probably won't know how important the hardness is – especially when choosing an engagement ring.
Engagement rings are intended to be worn, and cherished, every day for the rest of your life, so the hardness of the stone is crucial for the longevity of your ring. You don’t want to get a year into your married life to find your beloved stone has become scratched, gone cloudy, suffered a chip or even worse – smashed altogether. These are all things that can happen if you wear a ring every day and it isn’t durable enough for the job.
There are many beautiful precious and semi-precious stones and the durability of each can vary greatly. To save this disappointment down the line – as well as choosing a style you love – it’s just as important to consider when and how often the jewellery will be worn and pick a gem that can withstand your lifestyle. Make sure you select a stone that can cope with your every-day activities, then you don’t need to worry about it getting damaged.
Also, the harder the gem, the better it will withstand scratches and stay shiny and sparkling for longer. Microscopic scratches can dull a stone, so opting for a harder stone will hugely reduce the chance of it becoming damaged or losing its brilliance.
Moh’s Hardness Scale
The way to tell how well your gem will last is to check it against Moh’s Hardness Scale. This is a world recognised chart used for identifying gems and minerals based on their hardness and their resistance to being scratched.
This method was developed in 1812 by German geologist Friedrich Mohs and is still the most used practice today. By using this scale when shopping for your dream ring, you’ll be fully informed on durability and wearability.
The basic principle of the scale is based on the ability of one sample of mineral being able to scratch another mineral. The minerals are used to scratch each other to determine the hardest. The standard scale runs from the softest mineral talc, at 1 – right up to the hardest, which are diamonds, at 10. If neither mineral can scratch each other, they’re classed as the same hardness. For some context, copper rates at 3.5, with glass at 5.5 and steel at 6.5.
Diamonds are the hardest known mineral which led to the slogan, ‘Diamonds are forever.’ However, they aren’t the only durable gem available. If you take a look at the chart, you’ll see the second hardest mineral is moissanite, which has a hardness of between 9.25-9.5 which is extremely enduring, almost as hard as a diamond.
As moissanite has a similar appearance to diamonds, is also highly scratch resistant, will never tarnish or become cloudy – it is an ideal choice to consider for an engagement ring. It has many benefits including being a much more eco-friendly option, avoiding harmful mining and the risk of buying blood-diamonds. Not only that, but these brilliant gems cost up to 90% less than a traditionally mined diamond and are just as breathtaking!