Tibetan quartz is a rare crystal that is mined from an isolated and remote region in the Himalayan mountain range.
It is a variety of clear quartz – one of the most common gems on earth.
What makes Tibetan quartz different? Why do people value it so much?
In this article, we’ll compare Tibetan quartz and clear quartz and show you how to tell the difference.
Tibetan Quartz vs Clear Quartz (Explained)
What is Clear Quartz?
Quartz is the second most common mineral in the earth’s crust, and it is found on every continent.
It is the oldest and most ubiquitous gemstone.
Quartz is hard, a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale.
Early humans used quartz as flints to create blades, or as arrowheads themselves.
Eventually, the Greeks named these stones “krystallos” – their word for ice.
Quartz is composed of silicon dioxide – Si2O – and it can be found as a colorless crystal.
However, there are as many varieties of quartz as there are mineral impurities.
Amethyst is a purple-tinged quartz variety and citrine is quartz that appears yellow or orange.
Quartz has many different industrial and commercial applications. It is used in clocks and watches because it vibrates at a consistent frequency that can be used to tell time.
Ground quartz is used to make glass and is also widely used as an abrasive (in sandpaper, for example). Q
uartz is used in the production of rubber and putty, as well as in roofing tiles, and the mining industry.
Aside from its industrial usefulness, quartz is beautiful. These stones have always been used as cosmetic gems and embedded in jewelry.
Some people believe that quartz has spiritual powers because it resonates at a precise frequency.
You can buy or collect quartz crystals to use for meditative or ritual purposes. There is no scientific basis for the belief that quartz has spiritual or meditative properties, but there are many who claim anecdotally that these crystals help them focus or channel certain types of mental energy.
Clear quartz refers to varieties that have few impurities. These crystals are clear and look almost like diamonds or zirconia.
What is Tibetan Quartz?
Tibetan quartz is a variety of clear, colorless quartz that is mined from a single location on the Tibetan plateau.
Like clear quartz, it is primarily composed of silicon dioxide with some impurities.
Some people claim it has the same property as moonstones – adularescence: an optical phenomenon that makes it look like the stone is glowing from beneath the surface.
Scientists are still studying the geological cause of this phenomenon in Tibetan quartz.
Although you can find clear quartz in locations around the world, you can only harvest Tibetan quartz from a single location within Tibet, where its extraction is inconvenient and expensive.
This makes Tibetan quartz rarer and more valuable than clear quartz.
All Tibetan quartz is mined from Lake Chabyer Caka, in the Gangdise mountains.
This deposit was discovered in 2002, and since then Tibetan quartz has been exported to the international market.
However, production has always been limited for a few reasons:
First, there is not a lot of it.
Although quartz is relatively common, this single location provides all of the Tibetan quartz for the entire world and has a limited quantity.
Second, the mountainous conditions preclude any kind of large-scale mining. Lake Chabyer Caka is an isolated location on the Tibetan plateau, and it would be difficult or impossible to transport the heavy mining equipment used in other quartz mines to such a remote area.
Third, this location happens to be at a high altitude in the Himalayan mountain range, with extreme seasonal weather.
During the winter, this area is not accessible at all due to extreme and sudden storm conditions and avalanche risk.
For these reasons, Tibetan quartz is harvested by hand and transported in small quantities from Lake Chabyer Caka to Lhasa or other cities in Tibet, where it is evaluated, appraised, polished, and exported.
This process is more expensive and less efficient than other quartz-mining operations and results in a smaller supply, both of which drive up the price of Tibetan quartz.
How Can You Tell The Difference?
Geologically, Tibetan quartz and clear quartz are incredibly similar if not identical.
They are both composed of silicon dioxide in macrocrystalline form. They are both clear and colorless, with minor impurities. They both vibrate at a precise frequency.
It would be technically wrong to say that Tibetan quartz is identical to clear quartz, simply because every variety of quartz is contaminated to some extent by minerals in the area where it is mined.
These trace minerals are like a fingerprint that makes each quartz deposit slightly different. Tibetan quartz, whatever its purity, does contain trace elements of other minerals in the area, which makes it different from quartz that is mined in Brazil, Africa, or North America.
However, the differences between Tibetan quartz and clear quartz are more theoretical than scientific, right now.
Although some people claim that Tibetan quartz has adularescent properties like moonstone, this is anecdotal and not scientific.
As of right now, there is no conclusive test that can be done to differentiate clear quartz from Tibetan quartz.
Why Is Tibetan Quartz so Valuable?
The value of Tibetan quartz is centered around its alleged spiritual properties.
Tibet is the spiritual home of Tibetan Buddhism. It is a mystic region where meditators and spiritual seekers have sought enlightenment for millennia.
Quartz is a gemstone that many spiritual seekers use for meditation, healing, and channeling.
Tibetan quartz has a special cache because it comes from a famous spiritual region, where some of the most accomplished meditators in history lived and practiced.
Tibetan quartz is too rare and expensive to be used for commercial applications like glass or sandpaper, and it looks almost identical to much cheaper variations of clear quartz that are found around the world.
The primary reason people value Tibetan quartz is that they believe it has special energy properties.
The market for Tibetan quartz is heavily focused on the use of these stones for spiritual purposes.
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