Have you ever wondered why some stone is harder to crush than others, or why different rocks are used for different formations? Even if you haven’t, here’s an answer for the question you may or may not have asked yourself. All minerals are judged on a hardness scale called Mohs’ scale of mineral hardness. It is based on a minerals ability to scratch another mineral, and they are ranked accordingly. This mineral scale is pretty useful to help determine the chemical makeup of stone and what uses it would have. This scale is constantly being updated and changed with each discovery.
Hardest Stone: Diamond/ 1600
The diamond is considered one of the hardest and impenetrable minerals on the scale. Recently, several minerals have been found to be harder than a diamond but they are man-made and therefore not naturally occurring. For now, diamond set the standard for how hard a mineral can be and the only thing that can scratch a diamond is another diamond. While diamonds are mostly valued for how beautiful they are set in jewelry, diamonds are used for a multitude of things from dentist tools to construction equipment.
Second Hardest: Corundum/400
This mineral is best known for becoming a ruby or sapphire after impurities are introduced to the mineral. It is a transparent mineral that is not as well known as diamonds but can be just as useful.
Second Softest: Gypsum/3
Gypsum is used as a building material for such a long time that it can be traced back to the Neolithic period. It is mainly used for plaster, which is used in almost every house built. Gypsum is so soft that you can scratch it with your fingernail, which actually registers as a 2.5 on the hardness scale. The fact that this stone is so soft is what makes it such a useful mineral.
Softest Stone: Talc/1
If you look at the number scale, you can grasp just how soft it is compared to diamonds. Talc is a type of clay, which gives it its incredibly soft texture, almost greasy to the touch. It is so soft that it is widely used for baby powder and other cosmetic products. The main concern with talc is that it contains asbestos, a chemical known to cause cancer, especially in the lungs. Talc can be asbestos-free, but it needs to be tested first before being put into products.
It is incredible the range of different minerals and how we have found so many different uses for them. Minerals are in so many household objects that they are a part of our everyday life. Here at Crush Boss, we appreciate the diversity of these stones and think it is important that we study them.