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One of the differences between stones is their degree of hardness. The Mohs scale classifies stones from 1-10 with 1 being the softest and 10 being the hardest. In general we do not use gemstones softer than 3 as jewelry as they become worn under even the normal wear and tear. Even the 3-4 gemstones should be worn with care and we do not usually make bracelets from these stones.

Hardness Characteristics Stones
1 Can be scratched easily with fingernail Soapstone, Talc, Sulphur
2 Can be scratched with fingernail Gypsum, Rock salt,
3 Can be scratched with a coin Calcite, Amber, Jet, Pearl, Coral
4 Can be scratched easily with knife Fluorite, Rhodochrosite
5 Can be scratched with a knife Obsidian , Turquoise, Opal
6 Can be scratched with a steel file Feldspar, Lapis Lazuli
7 Can scratch glass and softer stones Quartz (Agate, Amethyst, Aventurine, Jasper), Jade
8 Can scratch glass and quartz Topaz, Aquamarine
9 Can scratch topaz and glass, and can itself be scratched only by diamond Corundum (Sapphire, Ruby)
10 Cannot itself be scratched, but can scratch all other gemstones Diamond
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Updated May 23 2013