Yes, Strawberry Quartz is natural, and can be found in nature. That being said, most of the material out there in the world being sold as “strawberry quartz” is not actually strawberry quartz at all.
In this article, we will explain what strawberry quartz is, where you can find it, and what people are usually selling when they label something as “strawberry quartz.”
What is Natural Strawberry Quartz?
Strawberry quartz is quartz with inclusions of various forms of iron oxide, such as lepidocrocite, goethite, limonite, or hematite. Iron oxides are usually a reddish color (think of rust, for example), though you can occasionally find them in other colors.
Not sure what an inclusion is? Let us back up a little bit to explain.
Quartz is one of the most varied materials as it comes to looks. You can find it in just about every color. Sometimes that color is consistent throughout the piece (meaning a solid piece of blue, yellow, green, or pink), and in others, that color comes in the form of what often looks like streaks or lines of material going through the piece.
These streaks/lines are called inclusions. “Inclusion” is the general term for any material trapped inside a mineral during its formation. This may be a similar material (like more quartz) or one that is different altogether.
In the case of strawberry quartz, the main portion of the mineral is quartz, usually clear or a milky white color. The material is full of these tiny lines, streaks, flakes, fans, or even lumps of pinkish or reddish variety of iron oxide.
Sometimes the red streaks are so small but close together that the quartz just simply looks uniformly pink or red, and only a view with a microscope would tell you different. The uniform version can sometimes be confused with rose quartz.
Quartz that comes with different colors of inclusions is still quartz, but would probably carry around a different name.
Where Does Strawberry Quartz Come From?
While you might see strawberry quartz being sold in chunks, in jewelry, and in bulk beads all over the internet, true strawberry quartz is fairly rare.
In fact, the only places we know of where strawberry quartz was actually found/dug up/mined is in Russia, Brazil, and Kazakhstan, as well as a small site in the US.
If the Strawberry Quartz Isn’t “Natural,” Then What Is It?
Commercially, it has become the norm to call various types of materials based upon their color as a type of “fruit quartz.” Think pineapple quartz, kiwi quartz, watermelon quartz and the like.
Sometimes the quartz is just clear or light colored quartz dyed the pink/reddish color. In these specimens, you won’t see the inclusions. The material will be much more uniform.
But in most cases, if the strawberry quartz is fake, it is made of plastic/glass.
What Is Green Strawberry Quartz?
Green strawberry quartz a strangely named material. Sometimes called “cherry quartz” or “scarlet quartz,” it is usually a material that is clear or milky with green inclusions (streaks or flakes) in the material. In most cases, the inclusions are so significant that the material looks mostly green like a piece of jade.
True strawberry quartz is quartz plus iron oxide inclusions, which are usually some form of pink to red to brown. Green inclusions of a form of iron oxide as extremely rare.
Sadly, most materials for sale in the world that claim to be “green strawberry quartz” are not truly quartz with inclusions of iron oxide. Instead, the material is probably quartz plus another green material inclusion, like aventurine.
Or the material is synthetic (plastic or glass).
How Can I Tell If I Have Real/Natural Strawberry Quartz?
Is It Real Quartz?
The easiest way to tell if your quartz is a real piece of quartz (or any kind) is to do a scratch test. Real quartz has a Moh’s hardness rating of 6-7. There are some materials that should be able to scratch it, and others that should not.
In general, you could start by attempting to scratch your strawberry quartz with something softer on the Moh’s scale, such as your fingernail, a copper penny, or selenite. If you try scratching your quartz with one of these materials and you are able to leave a mark, then the quartz is not true quartz.
By the same token, if you try to scratch softer materials with your strawberry quartz but cannot leave a mark, then your strawberry quartz isn’t true quartz.
Dyed Quartz Challenges
The hard part about the scratch test is that it won’t do you much good if you are trying to tell if your piece of true strawberry quartz versus dyed quartz of a different color. Dyed quartz is still quartz, and will behave similarly in a scratch test.
Examine the stone for evidence of the dying process. In most cases, the stone will have some cracks where the dye accumulated and was not polished or cleaned away. If the color of the quartz is deeper in those cracks than it is anywhere else, this is a sign that you might have dyed quartz.
The other thing you could do (which most people aren’t interested in doing or don’t have the materials to do) is to cut the material up. You’ll be able to see how uniform the color is on the inside of the quartz. Obviously if the outer edges don’t match the inner edges, then you’ll know the material was dyed.
Caring for True Strawberry Quartz
If you have strawberry quartz (or suspect that you do), then avoid using chemical cleaners/acid that remove iron stains (like Iron Out), even if you have irregular reddish marks that you’d like to get rid of.
The Iron Out would eat away at any exposed inclusions, and if you did not soak the stones long enough after using the cleaner, there is the risk of turning the clear quartz areas yellow from iron that did not get removed.
Try polishing or even grinding away those iron stains before going down the road of acids.
Want to learn more about rocks and minerals? Check our our knowledge page for more articles.