What Is The Most Durable Gem In The World?

By | October 9, 2023

What Is The Most Durable Gem In The World?

What Is The Most Durable Gem In The World? Have you ever wondered which gemstone is the toughest in the world? When it comes to durability, we often associate strength with gems, but not all gemstones are created equal. In this article, we will explore the fascinating world of gemstones and reveal which one holds the title of being the most durable gem in the world. Get ready to be amazed by the incredible resilience of this remarkable stone.

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Overview of Gems

Definition of a gem

A gem is a mineral or organic material that possesses beauty, rarity, and durability, making it highly valuable and sought after for use in jewelry and other ornamental purposes. Gems are prized for their natural colors, transparency, or luster, and their ability to be cut and polished to enhance their beauty.

Different types of gems

There are numerous types of gems, each possessing unique characteristics and properties. Some of the most well-known gems include diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, tanzanite, and topaz. Each gemstone is formed through different geological processes, resulting in variations in color, hardness, and durability.

Factors that determine gem durability

While all gems are valued for their durability, certain factors play a significant role in determining their overall strength and resistance to damage. These factors include the gem’s hardness, toughness, stability in different environmental conditions, and resistance to scratching and breaking.

Formation and Composition

Natural processes involved in gem formation

Gems are formed through a multitude of natural processes that occur deep within the Earth’s crust. One common process is the crystallization of minerals under high pressure and temperature conditions. Another process involves the cooling and solidification of molten rock, known as magma, which can carry mineral-rich fluids that eventually crystallize into gemstones.

Chemical composition of gems

The chemical composition of gems varies depending on their mineral makeup. For example, diamonds are composed of carbon atoms arranged in a crystal lattice structure, while rubies and sapphires are composed of aluminum oxide with small amounts of impurities that give them their vibrant colors. Emeralds, on the other hand, are a variety of the mineral beryl and contain elements such as chromium and vanadium.

Impact of formation and composition on durability

The formation and composition of gems have a direct impact on their durability. Gems that undergo intense heat and pressure during formation tend to have a higher density and are more resistant to scratching and breaking. Additionally, certain chemical compositions can influence a gem’s stability under different environmental conditions, ensuring its durability over time.

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Hardness Scale

Introduction to the Mohs scale

The Mohs scale is a system used to measure the hardness of minerals and gemstones. Developed by Friedrich Mohs in 1812, this scale ranks minerals from 1 to 10 based on their ability to resist scratching. The higher the ranking on the Mohs scale, the harder the mineral or gemstone.

Explanation of how hardness is measured

Hardness is measured by testing the resistance of a gemstone to scratching using various tools and minerals of known hardness. The commonly used minerals for this purpose are referred to as the “Mohs test minerals.” Each mineral is scratched against the gemstone, and if the gemstone is scratched, its hardness is lower than that particular mineral.

Comparison of gem hardness on the scale

Diamond, the hardest known mineral, is ranked at 10 on the Mohs scale a benefit when you buy diamonds. Rubies and sapphires, which are both varieties of the mineral corundum, rank 9 on the scale. Emeralds, composed of the mineral beryl, have a hardness of 7.5 to 8, while tanzanite has a hardness of 6.5 to 7. Topaz ranks 8 on the Mohs scale.

Gem Durability

Factors affecting gem durability

Gem durability is influenced by several factors, including hardness, toughness, stability, and resistance to scratching and breaking. Gems with higher hardness are generally more durable, as they are less likely to get scratched or damaged during everyday wear. Toughness refers to a gem’s ability to resist breaking or chipping, while stability ensures that the gem retains its properties under different environmental conditions.

Resistance to scratching

The ability of a gem to resist scratching is determined by its hardness. Gems that rank higher on the Mohs scale, such as diamonds and rubies, are more resistant to scratches compared to softer gems like tanzanite or emerald. However, even relatively softer gems can still have good scratch resistance if they have other factors contributing to their durability.

Resistance to breaking and chipping

The toughness of a gemstone determines its resistance to breaking or chipping. Gems that have a high toughness, such as diamonds, are less likely to break or chip under impact. On the other hand, gems with a lower toughness, like emeralds, may require extra care to prevent damage through accidental impacts.

Stability under different environmental conditions

The stability of a gem refers to its ability to withstand changes in temperature, humidity, and exposure to chemicals. Some gems may be more prone to damage or discoloration when exposed to certain chemicals or extreme conditions. Understanding the stability of a gem is crucial in determining its long-term durability and maintaining its beauty over time.



Formation and properties of diamonds

Diamonds are formed deep within the Earth’s mantle, where intense heat and pressure cause carbon atoms to form a crystal lattice structure. This unique formation process gives diamonds their exceptional hardness, brilliance, and fire. Diamonds are known for their colorless appearance, although they can also be found in various colors due to impurities within the crystal lattice.

Unique characteristics that contribute to durability

Diamonds, with a hardness of 10 on the Mohs scale, are the hardest gemstone and highly resistant to scratching. Their exceptional toughness ensures minimal risk of breaking or chipping, making them one of the most durable gemstones available. Additionally, diamonds possess excellent chemical stability, maintaining their properties even in harsh environmental conditions. These characteristics are good for when you buy diamonds.

Uses and applications of diamonds

Diamonds have long been treasured for their beauty and durability, making them a popular choice for engagement rings many choose to buy diamonds and other high-end jewelry pieces. In addition to their use in jewelry, diamonds also have various industrial applications due to their hardness and thermal conductivity. They are used in cutting tools, drill bits, and even in scientific equipment.


Formation and properties of rubies

Rubies are formed from the mineral corundum, composed primarily of aluminum oxide with traces of chromium, which give rubies their vibrant red color. The presence of chromium impurities during the gem’s formation leads to the development of the striking red hue. Rubies are highly valued for their intense color, brilliance, and durability.

Comparison of ruby hardness to other gems

Rubies have a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, making them one of the hardest gemstones. This high level of hardness contributes to their excellent scratch resistance and durability. Rubies are only surpassed in hardness by diamonds and provide an excellent option for gemstone jewelry that can withstand everyday wear.

Durability considerations for rubies

Rubies are renowned for their durability and an alternative to consider as a colored stone when you buy diamonds, with their high hardness and excellent scratch resistance. However, despite their durability, it is important to note that all gemstones, including rubies, can still be vulnerable to damage if subjected to extreme force or harsh chemicals. Careful handling and regular maintenance are essential to ensure the long-term durability and beauty of rubies.


Formation and properties of sapphires

Sapphires, like rubies, are also derived from the mineral corundum. While rubies are known for their red color, sapphires encompass all other colors within the corundum family, excluding red. Blue sapphires are the most popular and well-known variety, but sapphires can be found in a range of colors, including pink, yellow, and purple.

Comparison of sapphire hardness to other gems

With a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, sapphires possess exceptional durability and scratch resistance. They are second only to diamonds and rubies in terms of hardness among commonly found gemstones. This high level of hardness contributes to their ability to withstand daily wear, making sapphires an excellent choice for jewelry that requires durability.

Durability considerations for sapphires

Sapphires are highly durable gemstones that can withstand everyday wear and tear. However, it is important to note that not all sapphires are created equal in terms of durability. Some sapphires may have internal flaws or structural weaknesses that can impact their overall durability. It is crucial to choose high-quality sapphires and handle them with care to ensure their long-term durability and beauty.


Formation and properties of emeralds

Emeralds are a variety of the mineral beryl and are prized for their rich green color. The green hue is a result of trace amounts of chromium, vanadium, or iron. Emeralds are formed through hydrothermal and pegmatitic processes, which involve the crystallization of beryl under specific temperature and pressure conditions.

Comparison of emerald hardness to other gems

Emeralds have a hardness of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale, which is considered relatively lower compared to diamonds, rubies, or sapphires. Despite this, emeralds are still considered durable gemstones. However, their relatively lower hardness means that they may be more prone to scratches and require careful handling to maintain their beauty and durability over time.

Durability considerations for emeralds

Emeralds are prized for their stunning color but require special attention due to their unique characteristics. The natural inclusions and fractures commonly found in emeralds can impact their overall durability. Careful handling, avoiding exposure to harsh chemicals, and regular maintenance are essential to preserve the beauty and durability of emeralds.


Formation and properties of tanzanite

Tanzanite is a relatively new gemstone discovered in Tanzania in the 1960s. It is a variety of the mineral zoisite and is known for its striking blue-to-violet hues. Tanzanite’s captivating color is a result of the presence of vanadium and other trace elements during its formation.

Comparison of tanzanite hardness to other gems

Tanzanite has a hardness of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale. While it is not as hard as diamonds, rubies, or sapphires, tanzanite still possesses good durability for everyday wear. However, due to its lower hardness, it is more susceptible to scratches and should be handled with care to maintain its beauty and ensure its longevity.

Durability considerations for tanzanite

Tanzanite’s relatively lower hardness makes it more prone to scratches compared to harder gemstones. Careful handling and avoiding contact with abrasive materials are crucial to prevent damage. It is also advisable to remove tanzanite jewelry during high-impact activities or when performing household chores to protect the stone from potential accidents.


Formation and properties of topaz

Topaz is a silicate mineral widely used as a gemstone. It can occur in various colors, including blue, yellow, pink, and white. Topaz is formed through a combination of igneous, metamorphic, and hydrothermal processes. The presence of impurities and trace elements within the crystal lattice structure gives topaz its vibrant colors.

Comparison of topaz hardness to other gems

Topaz ranks 8 on the Mohs scale, making it relatively hard and durable. Its hardness is comparable to that of emeralds. The higher level of hardness contributes to Topaz’s resistance to scratching, ensuring that it can withstand day-to-day wear and maintain its beauty over time.

Durability considerations for topaz

Topaz is known for its good durability and scratch resistance. However, like any gemstone, it is not indestructible. While it can withstand everyday wear, it is important to handle topaz jewelry with care to avoid accidental impacts or exposure to harsh chemicals. Regular cleaning and maintenance will help preserve its beauty and durability for years to come.

In conclusion, the durability of gems is influenced by various factors such as hardness, toughness, stability, and resistance to scratching and breaking. Diamonds, with their exceptional hardness, are considered the most durable gemstone. However, other gems like rubies, sapphires, emeralds, tanzanite, and topaz also possess excellent durability and can withstand everyday wear. Understanding the formation, composition, and properties of different gems is crucial in assessing their durability and making informed choices when it comes to gemstone jewelry. By selecting high-quality gemstones and following proper care and maintenance practices, you can ensure the long-term durability and beauty of your precious gemstone jewelry.

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Author: marklsmithms1

Hi, I'm Mark, the author of Maura Gems and Jewellery. As a team of qualified gemmologists and goldsmiths, we bring you world-class jewellery at Bangkok prices. With offices in both Bangkok and the UK, we ethically source the finest gemstones directly, eliminating any middlemen. We offer a wide range of stunning ready-made jewellery items in our new online store, available for retail or wholesale. Additionally, we specialize in custom-made jewellery where we can bring any design to life. Whether you're a trade professional or an individual customer, we cater to all. Feel free to email me at mark@mauragemsandjewellery.com or call/WhatsApp me at 07470547636 or +66949355718. Discover our incredible collection by visiting our online store. I guarantee you'll love what you find there!

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