While someone who is new to selenite and quartz could confuse the two materials based on looks, these minerals are very different.
In this article, we’ll explain the differences of selenite vs clear quartz.
What Are Selenite and Quartz?
Selenite is a variety of gypsum, composed of calcium sulfate.
Funny enough, the selenite that most people are carrying around as wands or worry stones, sleeping with, or making jewelry out of contains no selenium whatsoever.
Most of the compounds containing selenium (like sodium selenite) as hazardous and wouldn’t make good materials to handle with bare skin. In contrast, the gypsum form of selenite is not toxic.
Quartz is a hard, crystalline mineral made of silicon and oxygen atoms.
It is a really common material, and many of the common crystals and even semi-precious stones are actually varieties of quartz with impurities that give the stones their beautiful coloring.
For example, the following stones are actually a form of quartz: amethyst, agate, onyx, and Tiger Eye.
How Are Selenite and Quartz Physically Different?
While you may be looking at pieces of selenite and clear quartz that look similar, it isn’t difficult to tell them apart once you start handling them.
Quartz is a pretty hard material.
On the moh’s scale of hardness, it generally rates in the range of a 6-7 out of 10.
This means that only materials of equal or greater hardness can scratch it. It is difficult to break apart.
Selenite, on the other hand, is a pretty soft material.
On the Moh’s scale of hardness, it generally rates around a 2 out of ten. This means that most materials out there can scratch selenite.
You could probably even scratch the surface of a piece of selenite with your fingernail and make a mark. It is easy to break apart.
Another pretty significant area that people notice a difference is in how the material acts when placed in water.
Gypsum selenite is water soluble, and even more so when placed in a salt water bath.
Quartz is not water soluble, though long term soaking can encourage fractures in the crystal or rusting.
If you place a piece of selenite in a water bath overnight, the odds are good that your selenite will look different (meaning smaller) in the morning, while a piece of quartz will look exactly the same.
Should Someone Interested in Working With Crystals Buy Selenite or Clear Quartz?
Crystals practitioners understand selenite and clear quartz to have some pretty distinct similarities.
Both stones are thought of as powerful healing stones, that are also used to protect against negative energies.
They tend to be pretty common ‘entry level’ stones for a few reasons: they are plentiful substances in the world, easy to acquire, and affordable.
They are also an ‘all-around’ stone that beginner’s can use to get a feel for the whole rocks/minerals/crystals metaphysical world.
In the end, whether stones ‘work’ for someone (or how they work for someone) is really personal and individual.
Some people feel a lot, while others feel nothing.
We recommend that if you are interested in exploring the metaphysical side of minerals, that you start small and slow, and see how you feel as you acquire pieces.
How To Care For Selenite vs Clear Quartz?
One of the main reasons for needing to understand whether you have selenite vs clear quartz is it will help you understand how to care for your stone.
Selenite is easily damaged due to its softness.
It is not an idea stone to be carried around in your pockets, or to be jumbled in with items that are harder than it is.
You need to guard it against falling to keep it from denting, cracking, or breaking apart.
You cannot clean selenite it as you might quartz.
Selenite can be dipped into water quickly, but it should not be allowed to remain in water for any significant amount of time.
Even rinsing it can start to dissolve the outer polished finish of the stone, which could leave the stone looking full or even feeling rough.
You cannot use selenite to make crystal infused water (if that’s your thing), or bathe with the stone.
More than one mineral enthusiast has tried to take a bath with their selenite wand, only to discover that the wand shrank a lot, and that their skin felt extra smooth when they exited the bath tub.
We don’t really recommend tumbling selenite, unless you plan to tumble it only with other selenite pieces, and include cushioning material to prevent dents and dings.
Quartz, on the other hand, is much more hardy.
While soaking quartz in a water bath (or a salt water bath) can damage the finish on the stone or encourage cracking/rusting, there is certainly no worries about the stone dissolving or losing its shape.
Quartz is a stone that is much better suited for handling, going into your pockets, and holding up to the daily activities of an active life.
How To Tell The Difference Between Selenite and Clear Quartz?
As discussed above, selenite is really soft, and clear quartz is pretty hard. You should be able to scratch selenite with your fingernail or a copper coin.
If you try to scratch the clear stone with your fingernail and nothing happens, you probably have clear quartz.
Or at the very least, your clear stone isn’t selenite.
If you aren’t sure what your clear or whitish stone is even after doing the scratch test, make sure to keep it out of reach of children and animals until you do figure it out.
Salt is another common material used in crystals practice, and block of it can sometimes look like quartz or selenite (think salt lamps).
These salt blocks can cause cats or other small animals injury if they get to licking it because they get too much sodium into their small bodies. To Read More: Are Selenite Lamps Dangerous To Cats?
Interested in learning more about selenite, quartz, or other interesting minerals? Check out our blog for our latest articles.