When you find a clear or white rock, crystal, or stone, it can be hard to identify what kind it is.
Here are 8 white or clear rocks you should know.
8 Types of Rocks That Are Colorless
There is a large range of rocks that are colorless and, for this reason, they are very popular.
Although calling them “colorless” does not mean that the stone is without color, it just means that the tint of the stone is close to white but has low saturation.
Which results in their washed-out or pale appearance.
A Word on Impurities
Another reason these rocks are colorless is that they contain hardly any impurities.
These impurities are small amounts of elements that end up inside the rocks, which are called inclusions.
The inclusions are not a part of the pure compound of the rock but end up there because of other natural impurities like clay, minerals, carbonates, sulfates, decayed plants, or even oxidation.
Therefore, gems that have beautiful vibrant colors end up that way because they contain impurities from inclusions, resulting in their color.
Below are some well-known colorless gemstones you will have heard of.
White Topaz Al2SiO4(F,OH)2
One of the most popular near-colorless gemstones, White Topaz, is pale enough to be mistaken for a diamond, making it very popular for jewelry.
It has a very high diffusion, which helps it shine brighter than any other gem.
White Topaz forms by crystalizing in hard pegmatites or in cavities in rhyolite lava streams, including those at Topaz Mountain in western Utah and Chivinar in South America.
They often form in complex shapes that collectors adore.
Although it is a very soft gem, rated eight on the Mohs scale of hardness, and needs to be protected from scratches and blows.
A colorless Zircon is a transparent gem with a beautiful sparkle.
They have high levels of clarity, with inclusions that are invisible to the naked eye.
Zircons can be found on many continents and have been produced for hundreds of years from alluvial deposits in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Myanmar, and the Antarctic.
Zircon is an 8.5 on the Mohs hardness scale and can be scratched easily.
The natural color of zircon varies between colorless zircon, yellow-golden, red, brown, blue, green, and orange. Colorless varieties are a popular substitute for diamonds.
Heat treatment can sometimes change the color of zircons. Common brown zircons can be transformed into colorless and blue zircons by heating to 800 to 1000 °.
White Quartz SiO2
White Quartz is a clear gemstone, but its pale color makes it look almost white.
The crystal is formed when pure quartz grows in parts of lava ridges and is then exposed to the weather.
Slowly, these small pieces of crystal form into large opaque white hunks.
Quartz was famous during the Art déco era because its smooth, white, pure appearance went well with the modern designs.
It can be found all around the world, but mostly in Brazil, Mexico, and Madagascar.
It is not uncommon for quartz to have inclusions of other minerals (Chlorite, Hematite, Goethite, Rutile, Clay, Mica, Specular Hematite, Epidote, Tourmaline, Liquid or gasses, and even Gold and Silver, which can sometimes give the rock some amazing effects.
Moonstone is composed of two minerals–orthoclase and albite. Because manganese, it forms a colorless stone.
However, if there are tiny amounts of iron and titanium present, it will turn its color from white to blue or gray.
With the presence of K-feldspar (aluminum and silica ion, potassium, lime, and aluminum silicates of soda), the stone takes on a yellowish-brown hue.
The finest moonstones are largely found in Sri Lanka and Southern India. Other varieties can be obtained from Australia, Armenia, Mexico, Brazil, and the United States.
White Sapphire Al2O3
The white sapphire is the most expensive of all white gems, as they are rare.
They are often confused with diamonds, as they look very similar to each other.
Most of the white sapphires come from Sri Lanka and Thailand, but they can also be found in Cambodia, Australia, Kenya, and Madagascar.
Standard industry practice is to heat and treat sapphires to produce colorless sapphires.
They are tough and scratch-resistant, but they should be protected from blows as they can shatter.
The most well-known rock that is colorless is the Diamond.
Which is one reason they are used in a good deal of different jewelry, watches, and glasses. The diamond is the best-known and most studied gemstone of them all.
They were formed deep in the Earth, hundreds of miles down, where very high temperatures and pressure exist.
Diamonds are the only gemstones that are not affected by heat.
The best places to find diamonds are in Russia, Botswana, Canada, Angola, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Namibia.
Many diamonds contain impurities, such as nitrogen and boron, and these can cause a definite yellow or brown tone.
But the purest diamonds are colorless. The fewer inclusions the diamonds have, the more popular they are.
White Agate SiO 2
White agates are semi-translucent stones that are very popular, as they resemble snow or milk.
The nodules are found worldwide situated within the cavities of volcanic rocks, but the best specimens come from Australia.
Natural impurities such as minerals, carbonates, clay, and sulfates can become trapped inside the rocks, which then form white agate.
Eventually, these inclusions build up to form matte white spots or bands in the center of the otherwise colorful agate. Which is how we get the White Agate rock.
White Opal SiO₂·nH₂O
The white opal is a precious stone that can be found in South Australian deserts. Although most white opals are mined from fields at Lightning Ridge.
Most people have seen an opal that contains many colors, but it is rare to find one that is pure white.
The way color plays in opal is stunning, and they can change from shades of white to yellow, orange, and pink.
Tiny impurities inside the silica gel structure of the opal cause the white opal color, while pure forms of silica gel have a transparent appearance.
I hope this has given you some insight and inspiration on your hunt for colorless rocks. As you can see, there are many types and varieties which would look beautiful in a rock collection.
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