Guest Post By Abby Sparks Jewelry
Curious about those trendy iridescent moonstone engagement rings? What about the cool southwestern vibe of turquoise in yellow gold? We love these magical stones for their beauty and mystique, however, did you know these stones could break within a year or even less? Before you buy that trendy ring, you need to know what you’re getting yourself into.
Need to Know: The Mohs Scale of Hardness
The Mohs Hardness scale (pronounced “moze”), is a scale used for identifying gems and minerals based on their “hardness”, or resistance to being scratched. The Mohs Scale was developed in 1812 by German geologist Friedrich Mohs. Mohs’ findings for the original 10 gems and minerals he tested are still the undisputed authority today.
The Hard Truth About Trendy Engagement Rings
For most, seeing this scale can be a real wake up call. Many people believe that diamonds became the norm for engagement rings because of clever marketing, which has some truth. But, it’s also for practical reasons: diamonds are the hardest natural substance on earth, and engagement rings go through a lot of potentially damaging situations over a lifetime of wear.
Why Does the Mohs Hardness Scale Matter?
Jewelers like us reference the Mohs Scale because it helps determine which gems are the best to use when making jewelry that will last forever. The harder a stone is, the more able to handle the wear and tear of everyday tasks without being permanently damaged. Everything from putting your hand in your pocket to accidentally tapping it against your car door can seriously damage softer gemstones.
This opal ring (pictured above) was permanently damaged by being worn in the shower.
Some of the worst-case scenarios: opals can crack or craze, looking like a shattered glass if they get too dry. Both opals and pearls can dull to a translucent yellow resembling plastic if exposed to hot water. Turquoise can easily crack or shatter and is super sensitive to chemicals and soaps. Moonstones get scratches when rubbing up against everyday objects they come into contact with.
With obsessive levels of proper care and restraint, stones like these can be preserved, but you need to decide if proper care, like your future spouse, is something you can invest your time and devotion to. Reality check: after you get the ring, you’ll want to wear it 24/7. Do this with a vulnerable stone and it probably won’t last very long - leaving you with a ruined engagement ring, or worse none at all.
But You Definitely Don’t Have to Get a Diamond
So you know that diamonds of all kinds are the most durable choice for engagement rings, but what if you don’t want a diamond? That is totally ok! There are many stone options for a durable engagement ring. Moissanite, for example, looks exactly like a diamond and is second only to a diamond in hardness. Oh, and moissanite is totally ethical too - so need to worry about sketchy sourcing when choosing this stone.
Diamond or Moissanite? Only a trained eye can tell.
Sapphires and rubies are your next best bet. Both of these stones have been used in jewelry for millennia, and still are for a good reason: they last. Though blue is the most well-known color for sapphires, they actually come in all colors of the rainbow and different levels of clarity. You can find the milky color of a moonstone or pearl or the greenish/blue hue of turquoise that you love in a sapphire.
Before purchasing a trendy stone, you need to educate yourself. If a ring is not being marketed as an engagement ring, it’s for a reason. Don’t learn the hard way! There’s nothing more tragic than the most meaningful piece of jewelry breaking and having to scramble to replace it before the wedding. So trust us and make sure that you have evaluated all of the elements of that stone’s characteristics to determine if it is a good fit for you and your lifestyle.