In order to properly clean and care for your jewelry, it’s essential to understand the components that make up the piece. The hardness of the gemstone dictates what type of cleaning formulation is safe to be used. Most consumers have a vague idea that some gems are harder than others. It’s pretty common knowledge that diamonds are hard and that pearls are softer. But how can you determine how hard other stones are?
If you ask your jeweler that question, she will likely reference the Mohs scale. The Mohs scale of mineral hardness characterizes how scratch resistant various minerals are. Minerals are compared by their ability to scratch the surface of other minerals. The scale is named for German geologist and mineralogist Friedrich Mohs, who created it in 1812.
Ten minerals make up the scale, and all other minerals fall on the scale based on the hardest mineral that mineral can scratch. The Mohs scale minerals range from softest (talc) to hardest (you guessed it – diamonds). The scale does not measure absolute hardness, but rather the relative hardness of one mineral to another.
What does that mean for cleaning your jewelry? You need to be cautious of the type of jewelry cleaning formulation you use for different types of jewelry.
So now you know Mohs!
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