No one likes to lose money. When something you spent a bunch of money on breaks, it makes you sick to your stomach. That’s especially true of your Engagement rings and wedding ring because of the added sentimental value. So, you may be wondering…
Can Moissanite scratch, break, chip, or crack? Moissanite is extremely hard (9.25-9.5 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness), but it isn’t indestructible. As with Diamonds, it is possible to scratch, chip, crack, or break them with a harder item or a big enough impact. Still, Moissanite is considered a ‘forever’ stone, which can last for generations.
What kinds of activities and impacts are capable of damaging your Moissanite? We’ll address that and some of the things you can do to protect your ring through the remainder of this article.
How Hard is Moissanite?
Moissanite is a very hard stone. It’s not the absolute hardest—that claim-to-fame belongs to diamond, but it is the second hardest stone known to man. Moissanite is harder than other, much more expensive, gems that are also considered to be ‘very hard’, like Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald.
The Mohs (pronounced like “Moe’s”) Scale of Hardness is the most common way to communicate regarding the hardness of various stones. More than two hundred years ago (1812), a German mineralogist named Friedrich Mohs selected ten minerals that clearly had different levels of hardness. Through a series of simple tests, he then arranged those minerals in order from softest to hardest, and then assigned a number to each based on its order in line (it’s relative hardness). Each mineral is capable of scratching the minerals that have lower numbers assigned to them, because the smaller the number, the softer the material. In other words, a mineral that’s a 6 could scratch a 1,2,3,4, or 5, but couldn’t scratch a 7,8,9, or 10 (because anything with a higher number is a harder material). The 10 minerals that were originally selected and used are listed below, in order of hardness (with 1 being the softest and 10 being the hardest).
The Mohs Scale of Hardness:
That background will help us to communicate more effectively on the hardness of materials from here on out. Using the numbered minerals outlined above, other materials could then be tested against the known minerals to measure the hardness of almost any material. Moissanite, for example, is rated 9.25-9.5 on the scale. Obviously, Moissanite wasn’t something that Fredrich Mohs originally tested, but we know it’s score because of the minerals that it can scratch (as well as those it can’t).
Why Hardness Even Matters
Hardness matters because it means scratch resistance. Scratch resistance means longevity for your ring. The desire for longevity is about more than the cost of replacement, it’s about the sentimental value that can’t be replaced. You want your special ring to remain a beautiful reminder of your vows and relationship for generations. You can only hope to leave that kind of memento for future generations when you choose to use one of the hardest stones available for your ring.
A moment ago, I mentioned a widely used relative scale of hardness. Well, every solid object in your environment could be put somewhere on that scale. A nail, a paper clip, the corner of a desk, your keys they all could be assigned a relative hardness rating based on Mohs Scale. Anytime that one object is harder than another object it can scratch the surface of the softer item. That means that if your keys are harder than the stone in your ring, they could scratch the stone when you reach in your purse or pocket to grab your keyring. The same is true for a flower pot, stone, pan, or any other object that it comes in contact with.
Having a hard stone helps to ensure that the daily accidental bumps and scrapes that you hardly even notice, don’t gouge and scar the surface of your beautiful ring. The harder your ring is, the less likely that this kind of accidental damage could possibly happen.
What Can Scratch Moissanite?
The list of items that are harder than 9.25 in your everyday environment is pretty short. That means that simple brushes against most of the items that you come in contact with daily shouldn’t harm the beauty of your Moissanite ring. Glass, nails, staplers, door frames, and countless other things are softer than Moissanite when assigned a number from Mohs Scale.
Again, diamond IS harder than Moissanite, so diamond can scratch the stone, but little else can. Because of the risk that diamonds can pose to Moissanite, you need to be sure to keep a Moissanite ring from coming in direct contact with a diamond.
Having said all that, I wouldn’t advise tempting fate and by intentionally rubbing your ring against things through the day to test hardness. While most things simply can’t scratch diamond or Moissanite, you’d hate to find something that can, and only realize the danger after the damage has been done. Also, there could be some slightly different results based on the pressure applied to the ring. In other words, if I lightly drag a diamond along the surface of a sidewalk, I may not see any marks or scratches. If I put all my weight on the diamond as I drag it a second time, I might find that I collected some surface scratches. The hardness of the surface didn’t change, but the pressure I put on the diamond did.
How Tough is Moissanite?
Hardness (scratch resistance) ISN’T the only important consideration when it comes to the durability of your Moissanite stone. The other critical component is ‘toughness’. Hardness and toughness aren’t the same. Toughness has to do with how resistant the stone is to cracking, breaking, or chipping.
The extreme hardness of diamonds makes them brittle. That means that they’re a lot more susceptible to cracking, chipping, or breaking than Moissanite is.
How to Protect Your Moissanite Ring?
If you’re still shopping for the perfect Moissanite ring, you can intentionally select a setting that’s more protective of the stones that are mounted. Some solitaires leave the diamond very exposed to bumps and scrapes on almost all sides. Other settings naturally protect the stone much better. Protection shouldn’t be your primary consideration, but it could be something you think about as you narrow the field of options and try to select your e-ring or wedding ring from your collections of a few favorite final contenders.
Prevention is the best form of protection. Ideally, you would remove your ring before engaging in work or hobbies that could introduce threats. Yard work and house cleaning are two activities that rings are often removed for. If you want to wear a ring during higher-risk activities, you might consider getting an inexpensive Cubic Zirconia ring, or a simple Silver or Stainless Steel wedding band. All of those options are so inexpensive, that you can work, or play, without stressing about protecting the ring. To read more about choosing CZ rings as an inexpensive option that won’t set you back much if it gets damaged, check out this article that I recently posted.
When you remove your Moissanite ring, it’s important that you put it somewhere that it can’t harm, or be harmed by, other rings. Because diamonds are harder than Moissanite, if you put the ring in a pile of other jewelry that included some diamonds, it could easily be scratched when you pull it back out. Similarly, the Moissanite could scratch the surface of any other stones that might be sitting in the pile (other than diamond).
Ring insurance is one other element of protection that’s worth considering. Even when you do everything in your power to protect your ring, unanticipated things can happen that could lead to ring damage. Insurance is a really inexpensive source of peace of mind. I know many people that own Moissanite or Diamond rings that never remove them and don’t worry at all about damage. Their ring is insured, so if the ring gets damaged, they simply replace the stone with the money collected from the insurance claim. Some of those people have already filed claims in the years since they originally purchased the policy.
My younger sister had a diamond ring that cracked in half after falling from their counter onto a tile floor. That kind of thing typically wouldn’t crack a diamond, but in this case, it did. Fortunately, the ring was insured, so my sister got a check that allowed her to replace the stone. A similar kind of unexpected accident can happen with Moissanite or any other stone. A good insurance policy means that you’d be covered if the unexpected happened and left your ring damaged.
I recently posted an article on how to insure a lab-grown diamond ring, but the process and considerations are exactly the same for insuring Moissanite rings. There’s a lot of really helpful information there. I’d suggest that you take a moment to read the article, so you have a better understanding of how it works and what the common limitations are.
Scratching, chipping, cracking, and breaking are all possible, but they’re very unlikely given the characteristics of Moissanite and the natural tendency that most people have to protect a ring that’s special to them. Moissanite is absolutely hard enough to be an heirloom stone that’s passed down to your children and grandchildren if you don’t abuse it.