There are many misconceptions about the fragility of stones, particularly opals. There is a misconception they need extra attention; they are delicate and cannot be banged around or even immersed in water. But while this is the popular conception of opals it is largely untrue.
Opals rate a 5.5 to 6.5 on the Moh's scale. The Moh's scale was a scale created in 1812 to characterize the hardness of various stones. It ranges from 1 to 10 with 1 being the softest, the softness of talc and 10 being the hardest, the hardness of a diamond.
So what exactly is a 5.5 to 6.5 on this scale? Well, to give some every day hardness analogies, a penny is a 3, a knife blade is a 5, a glass window is a 5.5 and a steel file is a 6.5. So while not the hardest thing on earth, an opal is pretty darn sturdy.
As are many stones, many much sturdier than an opal, although falling short of a diamonds astronomical strength.
Zircons are a 6.5, Tourmalines and Garnets a 7, Emeralds a 7.5, Topaz an 8, Sapphires & Rubies a 9. All of them strong enough to weather the vagaries of time. All of them strong enough to wear as an engagement ring, strong enough to last a lifetime.
There is a reason we choose jewelry to be our heirlooms, the pieces we pass from generation to generation. Sure you could make a car an heirloom, but besides being obsolete in forty years, most cars do not last longer than twenty. A piece of jewelry can last for many generations, as loved and worn by the last person as the first.
TO ENGAGEMENTS RINGS
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