The hardness of a mineral is often used by geologists to help determine the identity of a sample. The Mohs Hardness Scale as developed by a German geologist, Friedrich Mohs, in 1812. The Mohs scale is a relative scale which lists the hardness of 10 common minerals. Talc, #1 on the scale is the softest and diamond, #10, is the hardest. Other common household item have also been assigned to the hardness scale such as glass, fingernail and penny. The Mohs mineral scale and common object are:
Mohs’ Hardness Scale Trivia: The first nine minerals on the Mohs’ Hardness Scale have nearly the same relative hardness between them. For example, fluorite is four times harder than talc, quartz is seven times harder than talc and corundum is nine times harder than talc. However, the tenth mineral on the scale, diamond, is 40 times harder than talc. Talk about your hard gemstones!