Quartz is the second most common mineral found on our planet. It is a crystallized, glass like gem that is most readily used in the making of jewelry. This specific family of gems can come in a multitude of different colors. Sometimes crystals can be found multicolored or even colorless. Some jewelry even utilizes quartz in its natural uncut form. In nature quartz mineral deposits are often found distorted and lacking in obvious crystalline features.
Quartz is identified as a mystical substance in Australian Aboriginal mythology, and is also found regularly in passage tomb cemeteries in Europe. Historically, Quartz was also used in many ancient cultures to create stone tools. In the modern day, Quartz continues to have ongoing relevance – for example, there are many industrial applications that require Quartz, particularly in the electronics industry.
This article will list some of the different types of quartz gemstones you can find today and explore some of the identifying properties of each.
Amethyst, the traditional birthstone for February, is the purple variety and it is the most popular type of quartz. Some ancient cultures held the belief that Amethyst could help protect against the negative effects of alcohol. Amethysts range in color from a light violet to a deep purple and may exhibit secondary, red and blue hues. Top grade Amethyst is called “Deep Siberian” and has a excellent, intense purple color. Amethyst can occur in huge flawless crystals, and thanks to this gems of all shapes and sizes can be cut from deposits.
Citrine is a variety of quartz that ranges in color from a pale yellow to orange with brown tints. Lightly colored Yellow citrine is often given the name yellow quartz. Citrine is a very popular pendant stone, especially when cut into rectangular or oval shapes. The name Citrine comes from the French word ‘Citron’, meaning lemon. Despite, this, Citrine often verges towards being gold/orange rather than being the pure yellow color of the fruit. Natural Citrine is very rare; in fact most citrine on the market is produced by heat treating amethyst or smoky quartz. One way to tell the difference between natural Citrine and the heat-treated variety is that after treatment, Citrine gems often display a reddish tint that is not necessarily seen in the natural variety.
Smokey quartz is the gray, brown or black variety of Quartz that can range from completely transparent to almost opaque. This gemstone is often flawless. Darker brown or black gems are sometimes referred to as Morion, which is the German name for Smoky Quartz. This variety of Quartz is quite common and very affordable, and is a great choice of gemstone for those buying on a budget. Due to the large crystal formations this specific gemstone is often used in rings and pendants as the centerpiece gem, and can also be used for carvings or statuettes.
Rose quartz is (obviously) named after the rose, but it often has a softer, pinker color than that of the flower. Rose Quartz crystal often has many impurities, which makes it turbid (hazy or milky on the inside rather than clear). Rose Quartz is quite common, and is extremely affordable, so its a good choice for someone looking for a pink gemstones choice that won’t break the bank, but lacks the clarity and transparency that some other, higher end pink gemstones have. It is often used for jewelry, and you’ll sometimes find it cut into heart shaped pendants or shaped into beads for necklaces or bracelets.
Rock crystal is the variety that is free from any impurities, making the crystal itself transparent and colorless. This pure, flawless quartz gemstone is perfect for jewelry of any kind as it reflects the light making the most amazing sparkle. Rock Crystal, or Clear Quartz, also contains special significance in crystal healing circles – they believe it to be the ‘mother stone’, and in the crystal healing community, many believe Rock Crystal to have a large number of positive effects.
Rutilated Quartz is a golden yellow variety with needle or hair like inclusions within the gem. While being transparent, each gemstone is unique in its pattern, and inclusions can vary in color from gold and silver through to red and green. Although flaws are generally seen as a negative in the gemstone world, Rutilated Quartz is one of the few varieties where flaws are seen as desirable. Because each piece of Rutilated Quartz is unique, this specific type of crystal is often used to add a distinctive, one-of-a-kind feature to jewelry, and is often cut into larger cabochons or spheres for use as a centerpiece in pendants and charms.
Ametrine is a distinctive gemstone that basically combines amethyst and citrine. Each ametrine has its own individual combination of a purple and yellow pattern. When used for jewelry, this gemstone is often cut in a rectangular shape, trying to keep the two base gems separate, to create a matchless look of the two origin gemstones side by side. Natural Ametrine is exceedingly rare, coming from only a single significant source in Bolivia, and somtimes Ametrine you can find on the market is artificially created by heat-treating Amethyst. If you are looking to buy natural Ametrine, keep an eye out for colors that are too intense – natural Ametrine normally has a subdued color profile, and vivid or intense shades of purple and yellow in a gem are signs that it is synthetic or simulated. Despite its rareness, Ametrine remains quite an affordable gemstone, and is a good choice for people looking for something distinct or unique.
There are actually many more varieties of quartz both natural and artificial. The level of transparency of a Quartz gemstone is often the determining factor when judging what kind of jewelry can be made from it. The commonness of the Quartz group, its good hardness, and the overwhelming variety of colors and properties make it one of the most popular mineral types for use in jewelry.
For more information about the Quartz family of gemstones, click here.