Clear crystals and diamonds….it is okay if you think they look the same.
Sometimes they do.
In this article, we’ll help you understand their similarities and differences between the two types of stones, and give you some tips for how to tell them apart.
Clear Quartz vs Diamond: The Show Down
Clear Quartz: What Is It?
Clear quartz is what comes to the mind of most people when you mention a crystal.
Clear quartz crystals are extremely popular due to being extensively used in the jewelry industry.
Clear quartz is a trigonal crystal made of a silicon atom and two oxygen atoms to form silicon dioxide SiO2.
Apart from being one of the most prevalent silica minerals on earth, clear quartz is one of the hardest minerals, with a reading of 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
You are probably familiar with the hexagonal shape.
Still, clear quartz comes in varying shapes and figures ranging from the massive form to the perfect hexagonal shape culminating in a six-sided pyramid.
Perfect quartz occurs in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks.
The atoms are usually held together by strong covalent bonds to form a network structure giving excellent quartz an impressive density of 2.65g/cm³.
Characteristics of Clear Quartz
How do you tell a crystal when you see one?
The most defining characteristic of perfect quartz is the hexagonal figure making it look like a pyramid.
The mineral is colorless or transparent, thus earning the name ideal quartz.
You can also get translucent colored crystals with colors ranging from milky, cloudy to almost opaque.
The best quartz crystals have clarity and shimmer like crystal clear water with a vitreous luster in usual sizes and a waxy luster for massive crystals.
Did you know that quartz crystals can shock you?
Well, not quite.
It generates an electrical charge when placed under pressure.
In fact, it doesn’t burn when touched and is highly resistant to both chemical and mechanical weathering.
This quality makes perfect quartz useful for making jewelry, lab apparatus like test tubes, ceramics, and abrasives.
Uses Of Clear Quartz
One of the perfect quartz key characteristics is piezoelectricity, which means the crystal creates negative and positive charges on alternately opposite prism edges when put under pressure or tension.
The charges developed equal the pressure change. Quartz is used to make pressure gauges, for example, the depth-sounding equipment.
While compressing and applying tension can produce opposite charges alternating these opposite charges will produce an alternating contraction and expansion.
A perfect quartz crystal has a perfect orientation and dimension, which produces the natural ability to expand and contract or vibrate in a simpler term.
Therefore, perfect quartz crystal cuts are useful for frequency control in radios, televisions, and other communication equipment.
When you buy a watch, look for the word quartz since it is used to make crystal-controlled timepieces.
Diamond: What Is It?
Diamond is a solid form of pure carbon allotrope with individual atoms bonded 120° apart to form a crystal.
They come in many shapes depending on the type of chemical bond.
With a tetrahedra shape, diamond is the hardest and the least compressible substance in the world due to the high number of atoms per unit volume.
Diamond has a high density of between 3150kg/m³ for natural diamond and 3120kg/m³ for pure diamonds.
Diamond has the highest ability to conduct heat and sound velocity.
It has low adhesion, friction, and thermal compression with high electrical resistance and a high ability to disperse light.
It is chemically inert, meaning it does not react with other chemicals and is highly biologically compatible.
What Does A Raw Diamond Look Like?
Rough or raw diamonds typically look like lumps of pale-colored glass, usually transparent with a slight yellow or brownish tint.
It is usually difficult to tell them apart from other minerals such as silica and quartz.
Contrary to popular belief, raw diamonds don’t sparkle because they have an oily appearance.
Very few raw diamonds will meet the criteria because only the colorless or very pale colored ones will be picked for jewelry use.
Where To Find Raw Diamonds?
Let’s make one thing clear here.
The chances of finding a raw diamond while casually strolling or hiking around random mountains are one in a billion.
Yeah. You heard that right.
Raw diamonds are only found in well-known mining areas.
They are formed deep within the earth’s crust and only brought to the top layers by volcanic action.
You then have to dig deep mines to look for raw diamonds.
The only place in the United States that we know of to hunt for diamonds on their original volcanic state is at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas.
Outside of a diamond mine, if you are walking around and think you see a stone that looks like a raw diamond, it is probably quartz.
How To Identify A Raw Diamond?
The quickest way to identify a raw diamond is using a hardness test.
Don’t scratch glass using the shiny rock because the glass with a Mohs reading of 5.5 can be scratched by pretty much anything.
Get a mineral known as corundum and scratch the suspected diamond on its side.
Corundum has a hardness of 9, which means the only thing that can scratch it is a diamond with a hardness of 10.
If the corundum scratches the piece, you know that it is softer than an 9, and is likely quartz.
Well, at least, it’s not a diamond.
You probably know of the transparent diamond, but most diamonds usually have a yellowish tint because of impurities.
Gemologists use a scale of D to J to rate diamond colors, with the colorless S-rated diamonds being the rarest.
They are so rare that one can spend an entire career as a jeweler without coming across the totally colorless diamond. J-rated diamonds are “near colorless.”
The color difference gives diamond enthusiasts a wide range to choose from, with some customers being penchant about the yellow tinge, which throws off multi-color sparks and fire.
Being yellow doesn’t mean the diamond is flawed.
Perfectly transparent diamonds may seem icy blue, which may seem less lackluster.
Clarity is the second characteristic to look out for in a clear diamond.
Clarity is simply a blend of alternating internal and external flaws bringing out a flawless impression.
Internal diamond flaws are known as inclusions, while the surface flaws are called blemishes.
If the imperfection is unbalanced, the diamond will not sparkle as much.
These flaws mean that every diamond is unique with a lack of resemblance to any other.
Gemologists use an Internal Flawless scale ranging from VVS1, S1S1 to VVS2 when examining diamonds under magnification.
The initials stand for very, very slightly included and slightly included. The F class diamonds are top clarity ranked and extremely rare.
How a diamond is cut is a key determinant of beauty and price.
Excellent rated diamonds mean that the cutter carefully cuts the diamond into proportion.
Properly cut diamonds will sparkle due to the splitting of light and help to show imperfection, for example, the yellow tinge.
Carat is the size of a diamond.
One carat is 0.2 grams.
The higher the carat, the bigger the size.
However, don’t sacrifice quality for size, as bigger diamonds are prone to showing imperfection.
Clear Quartz vs Diamond: Differences
Difference in Sparkle
The fight for sparkle between diamond and clear quartz diamond takes the day.
Clear quartz has a natural luster that reflects light producing an irresistible twinkle effect.
But the diamond is king bearing in mind the inclusions and the blemishes—all diamonds sparkle, but the greater the balance of flows, the greater the sparkle.
How the diamond is cut also determines the sparkle.
Best cut diamonds naturally shine compared to poorly cut diamonds.
Difference in Brilliance
Brilliance refers to how a gemstone refracts or splits light and is measured using the refractive index.
Again, diamond takes the day with an impressive refractive index of 2.42 against 1.54-1.55 for quartz.
The higher the mineral ranks on the refractive index, the better the brilliance.
Quartz has a double refractive index compared to diamond which has a single refractive index.
This means that clear quartz can split the beams of light entering the gem into two beams.
The rays take different paths at different speeds when exiting the rock, which means you will see something different when you look at the quartz at different angles.
According to gemologists, the cut can increase or lower the brilliance in diamonds.
Well-cut diamonds will fair well in brilliance than poorly cut diamonds.
Diamonds are extremely brilliant, so much that even fairly cut diamonds can dazzle your eyes.
Ideal and super ideal cut ones top the brilliance charts.
Difference in Hardness
Do you recall we said diamond ranks higher than perfect quartz on the hardness scale?
Diamond scores a 10 while quartz a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale.
A 7 is the lowest a jewelry grade gemstone can go, while a diamond is the hardest substance.
However, don’t underestimate quartz.
A hardness of 7 means that quartz can scratch steel!
With such hardness coupled with the fact that it is chemically inert, quartz is used to sharpen knives, create test tubes, and make jewelry.
Store each jewelry separately because diamonds can scratch other gemstones in your collection.
Differences in Shape
Here is how you can differentiate between the two if you are holding them in your hands.
Diamond forms round or cubical crystals.
Quartz has unusual crystal formations.
Quartz has a hexagonal structure terminating in a six-sided pyramid, whereas diamonds are isometric.
Differences in Luster
According to gem experts, quartz usually has a resinous, vitreous, dull, and adamantine luster instead of diamond’s adamantine and greasy luster.
Diamond has an octahedral cleavage, while the quartz cleavage is indiscernible.
Clear Quartz vs. Diamond: Similarities
- Both diamonds and quartz have a jewelry class hardness of between 7-10 on the Mohs hardness scale. They are also hard enough to scratch steel.
- Both diamonds and clear quartz are chemically inactive. They have a wide array of uses, with quartz being used to make lab apparatus such as test tubes. Diamond is used to cutting metals and make abrasives.
- Both diamonds and clear quartz form crystals. Quartz forms hexagonal crystals, while diamond forms multiple pyramidal crystals.
- Both diamonds and perfect quartz have a color range between transparent to translucent with a streak.
- Both diamonds and perfect quartz refract and reflect light. This quality gives them the attractive sparkle and shimmer associated with crystals.
While the clear quartz and diamond may seem very similar at first, they are quite different.
You just need to be keen.
Clear quartz is the second most common mineral on earth, while diamonds are scarce and only occur very deep inside the earth’s crust.
Diamonds are made entirely of carbon crystals, while clear quartz is a compound of silicon and oxygen forming silicon dioxide (SiO2).
Look out for the following visible characteristics.
Quartz has a hexagonal structure that terminates in a six-sided pyramid, while diamond has a three-sided pyramidal structure.
Although both reflect light, diamond is shinier, harder, and much expensive compared to clear quartz.
There you have it.
Want to learn more about quartz? Check out:
- How To Tell If Quartz Is Real (Tips)
- Quartz Hunting In Connecticut
- Can Crackle Quartz Go In Water?
- Why Are Quartz and Gold Found Together
- All About Snow Quartz
- Identifying Titanium Quartz
- Is Quartz Magnetic?
- Chalcedony vs Quartz (Compared)
- Can You Scratch Quartz With a Fingernail?
- How To Identify Quartzite