Lesson 1: Destructive Gemstone Tests: Scratch Testing

Step 3: Practical Gemology

Lesson 19

Scratch testing (or hardness testing) is one of the most destructive gemstone tests. Never perform a scratch test on a finished stone. This can fracture or shatter the gem, even if tested on an inconspicuous area.

Gem rough can be scratch tested, but caution is needed. Keep in mind that the rough may have incipient fractures that can’t be seen or internal stress that will open up easily to pressure. For these reasons, scratch testing should only be performed on small protrusions. Whenever possible, saw a piece off of the main rough stone for testing.

gemstone scratch testing

Scratch Testing Tools

Scratch testing requires a set of “pencils or” rods with ends of known Mohs hardness value. Hardness sets are available commercially, or you can make your own. Get some wood dowels about the size of a pencil. Attach small, sharp pieces of …

Every Gemstone Is Unique - Here's How The Experts Evaluate Them

in this training-course, discover the tools, tests & valuation process used by expert gemologists for colored gemstones, opals & diamonds

Course: Hands-On Gemology: Gemstone Identification Grading & Testing
Purchase Course: $79.00
Skill Level: Intermediate - Advanced
Lessons: 60
Time: 480 min