Quartz vs Amethyst: What Are They, And What’s The Difference?

Quartz is a six-sided hexagonal mineral deposit that creates clear crystals.

Amethysts are purple quartz crystals.

Keep reading to learn more about what quartz and amethyst are, and how to tell the difference.

Quartz vs Amethyst (EXPLAINED)

What is Quartz?

Quartz is an igneous rock made of silicon and oxygen atoms that form in a crystal shape.

In quartz, each oxygen atom has two tetrahedra atoms (SiO2).

Quartz is one of the most abundant minerals found in the continental crust.

Quartz comes in two forms; alpha and high-temperature beta quartz.

The type of quartz created depends on how it cools down.

Some quartz will cool down and have very small crystals.

Other types of quartz will have very large crystals after they cool down.

When small amounts of other crystals et to quartz, it can give it different appearances.

Quartz with a bit of iron in it will appear pink or purple.

Purple quartz is often referred to as amethyst.

Some types of quartz have no color at all and are almost transparent.

The hardness of quartz makes it ideal for use in jewelry.

What is Amethyst?

Amethyst is a type of quartz.

Amethyst is any quartz crystal that has violet to dark purple color.

Amethyst can have secondary hues of both red and blue.

The purple-colored quartz is created through irradiation, iron impurities, and either transition or trace elements that helped the quartz create a complex crystal lattice pattern.

The hardness of amethyst is the same as quartz.

The crystals’ hardness makes it great for jewelry.

Most amethyst crystals show crystal zoning with the thickest and brightest shades of purple towards the crystal terminations.

The color of amethyst can fade if overexposed to light and can also be darkened through irradiation.

What are the Similarities and Differences between Quartz and Amethyst?

Quartz is the second most abundant mineral on Earth.

Quartz and amethyst are almost identical in physical properties.

The only difference between quartz and amethyst is color.

When quartz has shades of purple, it is amethyst.

If quartz minerals aren’t purple, it is not amethyst, but it may be a different type of semi-precious stone.

Why are Quartz and Amethyst Often Confused?

Amethyst and quartz are often confused because all amethyst is made of quartz, but not all quartz crystals are purple.

Other types of quartz include tiger’s eye, aventurine, and agates.

What makes quartz Amethyst is its purple hue.

The purple color is created by impurities.

Other impurities create different colors of quartz.

In its purest form, quartz is transparent. 

How to Identify Amethyst

One of the easiest ways to identify amethyst is by color.

Real amethyst will have color zoning and won’t be purple throughout.

Amethyst crystals also has shades of red and blue.

Next, it’s important to consider the crystals’ clarity.

When examining the crystal with a magnifying glass, you should not see any bubbles.

Quartz is known to create threads when pressure and heat are present and no bubbles.

If you see any bubbles in the stone, it may not be an authentic amethyst.

When you hold up the amethyst to light, you should be able to see through the crystal without the presence of bubbles.

If you are buying amethyst jewelry, you’ll often see the stone cut into shapes like hearts and circles.

Jewelers often cut amethyst because it is easy to cut and creating shapes allows the jeweler to hide flaws.

But like crystals, you can examine the stone for clarity and color.

Amethyst has a Mohs hardness scale rating of 7, which means you shouldn’t be able to scrape or scratch it with anything duller than a 7.

When shopping for amethyst, be wary of fancy names for amethyst.

Common names given to fake Amethyst stones include Japanese Amethyst and Desert Amethyst.

Neither of these names is real, and just a way to trick people into thinking they are getting a designer amethyst.

Lastly, consider the price.

Price will vary greatly depending on stone quality, whether it’s cut or raw, and the grade of the stone.

But, amethyst is also common, which keeps the price relatively affordable.

Shoppers should expect to pay no less than around $20 US for a nice amethyst.

And, the price will go up significantly for better stones and stones placed in jewelry settings.

If an amethyst is going for less than $20 US, it’s important to realize it may not be an authentic crystal.

How to Identify Quartz

Once you know what you’re looking for, it is very easy to identify quartz.

Regular quartz, also called rock crystals, are clear, white, milky-colored rocks.

Once you’ve found what you think is a rock crystal, it’s important to look for the following qualities.

  • A glassy luster
  • Hardness 7 on the Mohs scale
  • It breaks into curved shards rather than flat-faced cleavage fragments
  • Almost always clear or white
  • Quartz always has a hexagonal cross-section like that of a common pencil.

Where is Amethyst Found?

It’s possible to find amethyst just about anywhere in the world.

Amethyst can be found in plenty in the Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil.

Amethyst is also found in several regions across the United States.

States include Arizona, Red Feather Lakes, CO, Deer Hill, and Stow, Maine. It can also be found along the coast of Lake Superior in Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

The largest North American amethyst mine is in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The crystal is also found in Nova Scotia.

Amethyst is the stone of South Carolina.

The state is proud of the amethyst stone and offers several places to tour large amethyst geodes.

Where is Quartz Found?

As stated before, amethyst is purple quartz.

But, quartz can be found in a variety of colors including clear, green, and tiger’s eye.

Clear quartz can be found in several locations in the world.

Most quartz mines are found in Russia, Brazil, Madagascar, and the US. Rose quartz, pink crystals, is also found in Brazil.

It’s also most common in Maine and California in the United States, and Nambia, and Sweden.