Picking Jewelry That Will Last, Gemstone Hardiness and Hardness

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Everyone wants to have unique beautiful jewelry to wear, often with natural gemstones.  Natural gemstones differ In wearability, refractive index (sparkle) and color.  These characteristics should be taken into account when choosing what stone and how to wear it.

  • For me everyday rings that will see a lot of abuse (it happens) should stick to gemstones 7 and above like diamonds, sapphire, spinel, ruby, topaz, aquamarine, alexandrite and chrysoberyl, with sturdy settings.  My preferred are channel or bezel for sturdiness. Prongs thin and wear, silver wearing faster than gold.  Tourmaline, beryl, garnets (vary) and zircon can also be everyday but may show wear over time.
  • For special occasions where you hopefully are less likely to cause undue wear you can have softer stones like amethyst, ametrine iolite, jasper, tanzanite, opal etc with a hardness below 7-5. Stones 5 and below may really not be suitable for rings.
  • Earrings and necklaces see less wear so these are ideal for softer gemstones like amber, corals and rhodochrosite 

Cleaning and storage is also important for longevity.  Many gemstones can be damaged by ultrasonic cleaners.  I soak mine in warm water with a few drops of Dawn dish detergent. Store where they will not be bouncing against each other, and touch up metal with a sunshine cloth for polishing.  My silver jewelry is sometimes stored in ziploc bags during humid weather, silver can tarnish, if warn often usually not as much of an issue.

Below is a chart I found online which lists different materials and gemstone hardness, great for comparisons.

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