Found something on the trail or in a shop that looks like quartz?
In this article, you’ll learn more about quartz and how to identify it.
How To Tell if Quartz Is Real (EXPLAINED)
What is Quartz?
Did you know that oxygen and silicon atoms can form a rock?
This is essentially what makes up what we commonly know to be a quartz crystal.
This is a crystal that is highly abundant on our earth’s surface.
In fact, it only comes second when we compare it to feldspar.
Quartz is chiral in nature.
This means that it exists in two different forms.
You can find alpha quartz and beta quartz.
The former takes more of a trigonal shape, while the latter is usually hexagonal.
Since it appears in a crystalline form, it follows naturally that it’s a 6-sided prism that ends in a 6-sided pyramid shape.
Since it’s considered the second most common mineral, it’s not surprising that it comes in different varieties.
There are common names that you one across that refer to a specific type of quartz.
Take amethyst, agate, jasper, and onyx for instance.
These are names of crystals that we’ve likely come across.
How is Quartz Identified?
It is easiest to do a stone identification if you actually have the stone in your hand (versus observing characteristics in a photograph).
The easiest form of quartz to identify is clear quartz.
This typical appearance of clear quartz is a colorless and transparent consistency.
It often presents itself as a clear stone with tiny inclusions that resemble smudges on it.
There are other ways that you can use to identify if your quartz is real or not.
Test the Hardness
This is generally the next thing that you should do once you’ve determined that the color and shape are similar to what you’re looking for.
If you want to know whether you have quartz or something else or your hands, you should scratch the surface of your crystal with something as sharp as your pocket knife.
The fact is that a quartz crystal should be harder than your knife’s blade.
It generally ranks a 6-7 on the Moh’s scale of hardness.
If your crystal has a scratch on its surface with a standard pocket knife or knife from your kitchen, then you know that it’s not the real thing.
Do the Streak Plate Test
Do you remember that quartz minerals come in different forms?
Well, one of these forms is powder.
When you rub a quartz crystal on a streak plate, you can test for its color as well as the presence of a streak.
With quartz, you should expect it to streak a white or colorless color.
The great thing about using a streak plate is that you don’t even have to worry about damaging the surface.
They’re the same hardness as a quartz crystal.
Test for Cleavage and Fracture
Some crystals are able to break along a smooth plane.
This is called cleavage.
Most of your crystals have this ability.
But, quartz doesn’t. What quartz does instead is that it will fracture.
As a result, it will show a rough surface along where it broke.
Generally, this is called a conchoidal fracture.
This is what we normally call a swirl pattern.
If you want to effectively test for your cleavage and fracture, you should break your quartz crystal with a hammer.
How Can Quartz be Confused with Other Materials?
Did you know that fluorite and quartz are very similar looking minerals even though they’re made up of very different atomic structures and compounds?
While there are many differences between these two minerals, they’re still commonly found in similar locations.
In addition, you might find that fluorite might form on top of quartz in certain instances.
Due to the fact that they have a similar appearance and are often found together, it’s common practice for you to confuse these two minerals.
Since the color test will likely show similar results, the best test that you should use to identify your quartz is the hardness test.
Even though fluorite is also considered a hard mineral on the surface, it’s still not as hard as a quartz crystal.
So, if your pocket knife blade scratches on its surface, then you should know that you’re dealing with fluorite instead of quartz.
Why is it Important to Identify Quartz?
You’d be surprised to find that quartz is one of the minerals that are resistant to weathering.
This means that it is likely the last one to dissolve.
Plus, since it’s so abundant, it is used in most things that we use daily.
From your toothpaste down to our smartphones.
There’s no denying that quartz is a vital component in our daily lives.
Yet, it’s easy for someone to confuse it with another mineral like fluorite.
Meaning that if quartz is correctly identified, there are a lot of components that can be affected.
Imagine using toothpaste with the wrong ingredients, and finding that it can damage your teeth.
In summary, quartz is one of the most important minerals that we have on earth.
Luckily for us, it’s also in abundance.
This is why it’s always crucial for us to determine whether we have the right crystal or not.
It’s easy for anyone to claim that they’re selling the real thing when it isn’t.
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- Feldspar vs Quartz (Compared)
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- Tibetan Quartz vs Clear Quartz (Compared)