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 GEMSTONE HARDNESS (MOHS SCALE)
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In 1812 a scale of hardness was devised by the German geologist/mineralogist Frederich Mohs (1773-1839). He selected ten minerals that were common or readily available and made a relative scale that is still used today. Absolute hardness on the other hand is measured by a device called a sclerometer.
MOHS 
Hardness
Mineral used for comparison Examples of Simple Hardness Absolute Hardness
10
Diamond  
1500
9
Corundom - Ruby, Sapphire, Alexandrite  
400
8
Aquamarine, Emerald, Morganite, Spinel, Topaz  
200
7
Amethyst, Citrine, Garnet, Iolite, Kunzite, Peridot, Tanzanite, Tourmaline, Zircon Scratches window glass
100
6
Diopside, Lapis lazuli, Orthoclase, Turquoise Can be scratched with a steel file
72
5
Apatite, Obsidian, Sphene, Glass Can be scratched with a knife
48
4
Coral, Fluorite, Pearl Can easily be scratched with a knife
21
3
Calcite (limestone), Ivory Can be scratched with a copper coin
9
2
Amber, Gypsum (plaster of paris) Can be scratched with a fingernail
2
1
Talc (talcum powder) Can be scratched with a fingernail
1

Examples of other items

2.5
Fingernail
2.5 - 3
Gold, Silver
3
Copper penny
4 - 4.5
Platinum
4 - 5
Iron
5.5
Knife blade
6 - 7
Glass
7 +
Hardened steel file


Sources and Resources
Corundom - About.com
Friedrich Mohs - Wikipedia.com
Mohs scale of mineral hardness -
     Wikipedia.com

Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness -
     American Federation of Mineralogical
     Societies

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