Mohs Scale of Hardness

This blog post is dedicated to Mohs scale of hardness. We use it frequently with our stone of the month series so we wanted to take this opportunity to dedicate an entire post to explain it. It is important to know the Mohs hardness in order to better care for different gemstones.

The Mohs scale is a way of measuring a stone’s scratch resistance against a harder material. It was invented in 1812 by the German geologist and mineralogist Friedrich Mohs and ever since has been used to test and describe the hardness of minerals. While Mohs was the first one to invent an actual scale, testing the hardness of minerals by scratching them against each other was nothing new to people at that point. As a matter of fact, people had been doing it for hundreds of years prior.

The scale goes from 1 being the softest to 10 the hardest. If you have been following our birthstone blog series, then you know that diamonds are the hardest of all minerals, measuring a 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness. The turquoise on the other hand only measures a 5-7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which makes this stone soft and prone to scratches.

To give you a better idea of how hard a diamond actually is let’s compare it to common objects. For example a fingernail is a 2.5 on the scale, while a copper penny is not much higher with a 3 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Glass on the other hand is already about a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it about as hard as quartz.

I hope this helped you understand what we are talking about when we get a little bit carried away with all of our jewelry and gemstone talk!

Quartz – Stone of the Month

Considered the “Universal Crystal” all over the world because of its transparent and colorless nature, Crystal Quartz is the perfect alternative to the diamond, the traditional birthstone of April.

The word “crystal” comes from the Greek word “krustallos”, meaning ice. Quartz was believed to be ice formed by the Gods. Since the Middle Ages, crystal balls made of clear quartz have been used to predict the future. The English word “quartz” comes from the German word “Quarz”.

Another theory, by Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder, was that quartz is ice that has been permanently frozen after a great length of time. Pliny supported this idea by the fact that quartz is mostly found near glaciers in the Alps, but not on volcanic mountains which were formed more recently in the geological history of the Earth.

The ancient Japanese theorized that quartz is formed from the breath of a white dragon, and therefore represents perfection.

Pure crystal quartz, which is often referred to as rock crystal, is found abundantly all over the world. Natural quartz can have inclusions and traces of other minerals in it, which is why larger stones are often synthetically enhanced. Because of its hardness (a 7 on the Mohs scale) and its glass-like properties it is often used for hard stone carvings. The crystals of quartz are generally six-sided and can grow either singularly or in groups taking on different shapes according to the temperature at the time of their formation. They can also come in a variety colors that are considered to be gemstones on their own. These include citrine, rose quartz, amethyst, smoky quartz, milky quartz, and many more.

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While quartz isn’t permanently frozen water, God’s ice or an object to predict the future, it has been said to have strong healing powers. Quartz is known to give its wearer power, energy and clarity. Quartz can help rid you of negative energy, clear your head, feel harmonious and give you new strength to carry on. The crystal quartz is simply an all purpose stone when it comes to natural healing properties.

Photo Credit: Flickr.com – cliff1066