Hardness is a physical property of Gemstones. Hardness is the resistance or surface strength of the stone against scratches. Hardness defines the durability of the Gemstone, the ability to retain its Surface Finish & Polish. Moh’s scale is a relative and not an absolute scale and mainly referred to compare the hardness of gemstones. This Scale rates Hardness of minerals on a scale of 1 to 10. Position 10 is allotted to Diamond, being the hardest mineral on Earth. Moh’s Scale is a Qualitative scale characterizing the Scratch Resistance of the mineral through the ability of Harder Material to scratch softer material (Scratch Test). As Scratch test is destructive, so only rough/unpolished stones are tested through this method.
Hardness is often confused with Toughness, but Toughness is different property related to the internal strength of Gemstone. Toughness is the resistance against breakage, how easily a Gemstone can be broken into two or more pieces. A hard stone may be not be essentially tough and vice-a-versa. Like Diamond is the Hardness but not the Toughest and Jade is toughest but not the hardest.
Gemstones with less hardness are not preferred to be used in Jewellery as they lose their luster & finish in very short span. Sapphire, Ruby, Topaz & Diamond are durable due to more hardness & thus widely used in jewellery.
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