When choosing an alternative to diamond for your engagement ring, one of the most overlooked factors is the HARDNESS of the gemstone. Most women simply decide they like a certain color, and begin to explore their gemstone options in that particular hue. It should be noted that within a certain color category, there are also different DURABILITY considerations that should be made.
Diamond will always be coveted, not just for its sparkle, but for its durability. On the Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness, diamond is the hardest and most resistant to chips, breaks, and scratches. It is this characteristic of diamond that has always made it the most suitable to be worn on an everyday basis.
I can't think of a single woman who wouldn't want to wear her engagement ring everyday, so it is important to make sure you do not buy your fiance a gemstone that is NOT durable enough to be worn everyday.
Here is a brief rundown of some of the more popular gemstones in today's market and how they compare as far as hardness/durability.
(The Mohs Hardness Scale is a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the hardest and 1 being the softest)
10: Colored Diamond: Fancy Yellow, Blue, Pink etc.
9: Corundum: Ruby, Sapphire, Fancy Color Sapphire
8: Alexandrite, Chrysoberyl, Topaz, Spinel
7: Beryl: Emerald, Aquamarine, Morganite
Quartz: Amethyst, Citrine, Lemon Quartz etc.
Tourmaline: Rubellite, Chrome Tourmaline, Paraiba Tourmaline
6: Tanzanite, Iolite, Peridot, Garnet, Zircon, Chalcedony, Jade
5: Opal, Lapis, Diopside, Turquoise
Gemstones softer than a 5 on the Mohs Hardness scale are risky choices for engagement rings. Many jewelers will even warn consumers about wearing Emerald or Tanzanite as engagement rings, as these stones tend to scratch and abrade easily.
Just keep in mind that Sapphire comes in any color of the rainbow, and should be considered as the first choice for a woman looking for a specific colored stone engagement ring!
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