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Chapter 6 Notes - Chapter 6 Notes The Durability of a...

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Chapter 6 Notes The Durability of a Gemstone Hardness must also be taken into consideration when talking about durability The reason for this is that the gem must be capable of withstanding the wear and tear to which jewellery is subjected in everyday use The hardness of a material is defined as the ability of that material to resist abrasion This ability of a gemstone to withstand abrasion is not due to the ‘hardness’ characteristic of atoms that make up the structure, but rather to the strength of the bonds between these atoms when they combine together In addition to hardness, durability also encompasses ‘toughness’ , which gives a gemstone the ability to resist fracture and ‘stability’ , a quality which enables a material to resist alterations due to heat, light or chemical attack The hardness of a gem also has an effect on its appearance as hard gemstones usually take on a brighter polish than soft ones
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