When talking about gemstones we often hear about how “hard” or “soft” a stone is. The number attributed to the susceptibility of scratching on the stone is based on the Mohs’ scale of hardness developed by German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs. Diamonds are the hardest (diamonds could scratch all others) at 10 on the scale and talc is the softest at 1.
Despite being the hardest of the gemstones, diamonds can still be chipped, cracked and scratched. Over time, the abrasions on a stone can cause it to look dull. Often people think that the stone looks this way because the interior has somehow changed. This is not true. Often stones can be returned to their former glory by re-polishing.
A lady I spoke with recently presented a perfect example of this. She commented about an heirloom ring she inherited from her great-aunt, about how lifeless the emerald looked and how there were little chips off of the stone. She remembered how the ring looked when she was little and how she would play with it on her great-aunt’s finger. She was resigned to the fact that the ring would never look the same because emeralds are “soft”, but the reality is emeralds are harder than many gemstones. The issue of durability with emeralds is how brittle they are (tenacity). This leaves the stone more susceptible to chips, fractures and abrasions.
Similar to emeralds, all colours of topaz have a higher hardness but are brittle. While they do not have the same issues of inclusions, over time topaz become worn and dull looking.
Lapidary is the art and science of gem cutting. The facets of a gemstone can be re-polished or recut thereby bringing up the polish or removing chips. If your gemstone jewellery (including diamonds!) simply does not sparkle as it once did, come in and speak with one of our experts on how we can revitalize the look of your stones through re-polishing or recutting.
As for the lady with the emerald ring, she was hardly able to contain herself when she saw her great aunt’s ring for the first time after we re-polished the stone. She kept exclaiming how the ring now looked exactly as she remembered it from when she was a child.
Her happiness made our day.