Monday, June 16, 2014

Mohs Hardness Sapphires and Your favorite gems

Sapphires: Easy to be Hard
Different gemstones on

The Mohs scale of Mineral Hardness

Sapphire belongs to the mineral family, Corundum, a colorless stone until it
Sapphire ring (made around 1940)
Slovenčina: Zafírový prsteň
has chemical impurities also known as trace elements. Blue sapphires get their color by a combination of the trace elements iron and titanium. 

The term Sapphire, often assumed to mean only a blue gemstone, encompasses other gem varieties and colors of Corundum. 

The different colors depend on what trace elements are present. You'll see sapphires in orange, gold or green but still called green sapphire

There is a white sapphire, which is the gem in its colorless state.

It's said to be one of the more difficult stones to color match for instance with earrings and bracelets.

Some of the most beautiful, naturally occurring sapphires come from Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) where Ceylon sapphires are mined. They're prized for their beautiful, rich blue color. Some of the legendary sapphires owned by Mary Pickford back in the very early 20th century were Ceylon sapphires. Because they're natural, they won't be identical in hue.
Sapphire, radiant cut
Untreated, Sri Lanka

There are a couple of exceptions, two which have their own names. Ruby, the red variety of Corundum and padparadscha when pink-orange. When chromium is the only trace element, it makes a sapphire pink or a ruby red.
The information on my pages is about natural sapphires.
Those familiar with Swarovski Austrian crystals may know that several of their crystal colors are named for gemstones. There are colors (blue) Sapphire, Ruby and Padparadscha.

Mohs Hardness Scale
The Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness characterizes the scratch resistance of various minerals through the ability of a harder material to scratch a softer material. 

Tests like the Rockwell Hardness test does it differently. It tries to make an indentation into the mineral.

The diamond is well known for having a 10 on the scale. 

What are your favorite gemstones? Your children's birthstones? Those associated with the months you and your special someone were born? 

Maybe you choose something to complement the color of your hair or eyes. Pick something for the evening that goes with what you're wearing.

Hardness testing gives jewelry designers an idea of how best to use a gem. The sapphire is a precious and durable gemstone with a hardness of 9 out of 10 on Mohs Scale.

Number one, the softest mineral on the Mohs scale is Talc. You could scratch it with your fingernail.

Number 8 is Topaz/Beryl. This includes Aquamarine, Emerald and Morganite. Topaz comes in a wide range of colors.

A gem such as Tourmaline falls into the 7-7.5 hardness range.

Amethyst, citrine and other types of quartz such as smoky, milky and the pink rose quartz are at number 7. I also like the organic look of rutilated quartz with needle-like rutile inside, sometimes looking like strands of saffron. It's said to be energizing, assisting with love and mental focus.

Peridot is 6.5-7. Jade is about 6-6.5. If you're a lover of blue gemstones, Lapis Lazuli and Turquoise are said to both be in the 5 - 6 range.

The Opal falls about 5 or 5.5. 

I have a friend whose favorite gem is Apatite, number 5 on the scale. She prefers the blue-green variety. There are other gems with this type of color, but not quite with the color of apatite.

Coral is 3-4. The Pearl, one of the birthstones for the month of June may be 2.5-4.5 on the scale. Amber, an interesting stone if you're talking about inclusions, is really low on the scale and one of the softest, at 2-2.5.

There are far too many gemstones and variations on on them to list here. There are many types of garnet that have varying degrees of hardness.

Large 14x10mm Cushion Cut Created Sapphire Pendant
Choosing crystals, a lab created or a simulated sapphire may allow you a larger gem and one at a more budget friendly price. 

A white sapphire is an alternative but still genuine gemstone compared to a more costly diamond. When buying online be sure you know what you're getting. What size is it? Does the seller have good feedback?

The information here is from various sources and believed to be correct, but I am no expert. Please double check before making any decisions and purchase from reputable sources.

This page is part of a short series.

Related Pages of Interest:

Sapphires Old Hollywood, Symbolism, September Birthstone

Carole Lombard and William Powell married 1931-1933; their sapphires, My Man Godfrey. Pre-Jean Harlow and Clark Gable

Colored Gemstone Sapphire & Emerald Engagement Rings, Princesses Diana and Catherine, Joan Crawford and Elizabeth Taylor, Halle Berry and Penélope Cruz ....

Princess Car Accessories, for your wedding, prom, gifts or every day

Bill Powell, Jean Harlow and a 152-Carat Sapphire Ring: Hollywood's biggest star sapphire

Some of us wear jewelry, maybe a heart, that represents our relationship, maybe memorial jewelry such as the bracelet Lou Costello wore in memory of his son. He was half of the team Abbott and Costello.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Matched Pearl

Siamese Cats in the Media: Talking on TV, Meowing in Movies and more 

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