39 Types of Quartz You Should Know
While many people know that quartz comes in many varieties, most don't realize just how many types of quartz there are on the planet. Here's a closer look at the quartz crystal and an overview of the different quartz varieties.
What Is Quartz?
Quartz is a silicon dioxide mineral that's incredibly the most abundant minerals. It naturally occurs across the entire planet, so many people stumble across it while hiking along streams. Plus, it's a durable, typically translucent to transparent stone, making it popular for jewelry, pendulums, and more.
If you'd like to learn more about quartz gemstones – such as its metaphysical properties, uses, and more – check out our article: Quartz Gemstone Information.
Frequently Asked Questions About Quartz
How Do You Identify Quartz Crystals?
Quartz has specific characteristics that make it reasonably easy to identify at a glance. Usually, it has a glassy lustre, and the stone is either transparent or translucent. Additionally, quartz is known for a white or colourless streak, and it has hexagonal cross-sections.
Are Quartz and Crystal Quartz the Same?
Generally, the terms "quartz" and "crystal quartz" refer to the same stone. However, there may be differences in the crystal shape formation itself. Crystal quartz has a classic shape commonly associated with crystals, and the name is most widely used to describe clear, colourless quartz varieties. Quartz pieces may also be found in different forms or colours, and those may be referred to simply as "quartz" even though the base composition is functionally the same.
What Is the Rarest Kind of Quartz?
While quartz is common overall, specific varieties are rarer than others. For example, citrine is less commonly occurring than amethyst. Crystalline rose quartz is a rarer variant of rose quartz, and both prasiolite and dumortierite are rare types of quartz.
Some versions of quartz contain specific inclusions that lead to greater rarity, too. For example, rutile inclusions aren't common, but some collectors or jewelry wearers highly desire them.
Additionally, certain formations are rare. For example, spirit quartz has a unique structure that doesn't widely occur.
What Is the Most Common Quartz Crystal?
Generally, milky quartz is considered the most common mineral variety of quartz. It has a colourless base that ends up slightly white due to the presence of various inclusions, most of which happen relatively frequently.
How Many Types of Quartz Are There?
There's some debate about the exact number of quartz varieties on the planet. The degree by which one type of quartz needs to differentiate itself from others to qualify as a separate type isn't always agreed upon. However, most would agree that the number easily measures in the dozens.
What Are the Varieties of Quartz?
Attribution: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0
Actinolite is a green mineral that can form as thin fibrous inclusions within quartz crystals. When that occurs, it can cause otherwise clear quartz crystals to exhibit chatoyancy, an optical effect commonly referred to as a cat's eye. However, it may also result in a striated look, not unlike blades of grass crossing through a colourless quartz base.
Agate is a type of chalcedony that usually features banding or patterning in various colours and transparency levels. Its composition typically includes quartz, but it may feature several varieties instead of a single one or stones of mixed composition, such as carnelian.
You can find a variety of agate colours on the market, but most feature segments that are either white, gray, or colourless mixed with earthy hues like brown, red, or yellow. However, other shades do exist, though it's critical to be cautious with seemingly unnatural hues, as agate is often dyed to exhibit different colours.
Ajoite is a light to mid-toned blue-green mineral that's typically transparent to translucent, and it can form within quartz to create ajoite quartz crystals. The most widely sought ajoite quartz hails from South Africa, as the ajoite can create a sense of a blue glow emanating from the quartz.
Ametrine is a naturally-occurring quartz variety featuring a mix of amethyst and citrine. Since amethyst is purple and citrine is yellow, the gem has exceptional colour contrast, making it striking. Usually, they're cut, faceted, or polished to highlight the segmentation, ensuring the colour zoning takes center stage.
Amethyst is a purple or violet version of quartz, and it's one of the more common colours found on the planet, so it's highly accessible. Typically, the colouring falls in a mid-toned to deep range, though lighter versions do occur. The gem is also a February birthstone, which boosts its popularity.
Many associate amethysts with royalty due to their colouring, but their high durability means it's suitable for everyday wear. Its high accessibility also makes it affordable.
Blue quartz features specific inclusions that lead to the unique colouring. Usually, magnesia-riebeckite or crocidolite are present, though some may feature tourmaline instead. While the exact shade can vary, many have a deep denim hue, making them visually striking.
Brandberg quartz is a variety that originates from Namibia. Usually, the crystals feature a mix of colourless, smoky, and amethyst sections, exhibiting strong colour-zoning instead of blending. In some cases, lepidocrocite or goethite inclusions are also present, adding in flecks of red. The lustre is typically exceptional, and the clarity often exceeds expectations.
Candle Quartz (aka Pineapple quartz)
Candle quartz – also referred to as pineapple quartz – is a version that's typically bright white in colour with a waxy lustre, though it can also feature shades of cream, pink, or tan. They can feature hundreds of small terminations across the larger surface, creating exceptional texture across the surface.
Carnelian is a chalcedony variety that's primarily known for its striking orange colour. Typically, translucent versions are more valuable than opaque ones, and those with fewer colour inconsistencies are generally preferred.
Historically, carnelian is associated with royalty. There was even a time when wearing carnelian was a silent form of communication among the upper classes, signalling goodwill to those they encountered.
Cat's Eye Quartz
With cat's eye quartz, you have a quartz crystal that exhibits chatoyancy, an optical effect that resembles looking into a person's eye. The effect is caused by specific fibrous inclusions or tube-shaped cavities in a parallel orientation. When they're present, how light moves through the stone is altered, leading to the optical effect.
Chalcedony is a silicate mineral featuring quartz and moganite. It occurs in a wide array of colours, including white, black, gray, pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and brown. Typically, it's translucent to opaque, depending on the exact structure. The lustre usually ranges from waxy to glassy.
Chlorite quartz is essentially any quartz crystal that features a chlorite coating or inclusion. Chlorite can be colourless, lightly tinted, or a distinctly green hue, and what it resembles can vary depending on how it's formed. In some cases, it may look like collections of speckly moss, while others may look like a ghost form within the crystal.
Citrine is one of the rarer naturally occurring quartz types, featuring a distinct yellow colouring that's typically sunny or golden in nature. However, the stone ends up widely available because specific heat treatments can cause other crystals of amethyst or smoky quartz to take on the characteristic yellow colouring.
Along with its striking golden colour, citrine is popular due to being a November birthstone. It's commonly faceted, though some are turned into cabochons or beads, particularly if there are inclusions that reduce its overall clarity.
With dumortierite quartz, a quartz crystal has dumortierite inclusions, leading to a royal blue colour. Usually, the colouring is splotchy or somewhat blended in, and you can occasionally find additional hues in the mix, such as gray or purple.
Elestial quartz – also referred to as window quartz – is a variety with specific termination patterns that flow throughout the crystal. It's a relatively uncommon crystal structure and is most widely seen in smoky quartz specimens.
Fenster quartz is technically a variety of elestial quartz, and it's a highly desirable variant. However, elestial quartz is widely popular with collectors, too.
With faden quartz, you have quartz crystals that feature white lines or threads throughout the gemstone. The threads occur due to fracturing or fissures during the formation process. Essentially, the lines are similar to scars that are often filled with gas or liquid inclusions, representing the healing of the stone.
Flint is an opaque, fine-grained microcrystalline variety of quartz. Along with quartz, it includes a range of impurities or other minerals. Due to its composition, flint is technically characterized as a sedimentary rock and not a mineral.
Historically, flint was used to create arrowheads and various tools. However, its current use is typically more ornamental.
With a name derived from the German word for "twisted," gwindel quartz has a unique structure. As they form, they slightly rotate on an axis, resulting in large crystals that have a twisted appearance. They're more commonly comprised of smoky quartz, though some rock crystals have been found, too.
Hematoid Quartz (aka Fire Quartz)
Hematoid quartz – also known as fire quartz – features quartz, hematite, and iron, creating earthy hues of yellow and orange, with some even including reddish colouring. The stone is typically translucent, featuring striations in deeper brown shades or a mottled appearance.
Himalayan quartz is a variety found in the Himalayan Mountains. This quartz variant is more fragile than some alternatives, and it can form in a variety of shapes. The smoky version is the most widely available, though it can occur in other colours, such as light pink or pale yellow. Generally, it's rarer not due to the lack of a solid source but the difficulty in retrieving it from such high altitudes.
Inclusion quartz is a variant that includes various inclusions that may resemble hair, moss, spheres, or other structures. Depending on fluid inclusions and the overall look, the stone may go by various names, including lodalite, lodolite, shaman quartz, shamanic dream quartz, and garden quartz. At times, it's even phantom quartz, although that is a misnomer.
Jasper is an opaque cryptocrystalline quartz. It can be solid or patterned, and it typically easily accepts a polish. Generally, jasper is durable, which makes it suitable for jewelry. Usually, you'll see cabochons or slices, though some pieces are also carved.
In most cases, jasper is found in earthy hues, though some can have surprisingly striking colouration. The number of patterns is also quite high, ranging from bands to raindrops and more.
Lemurian quartz is a colourless variety only found in three areas of the world. You typically see ladder-like groves or striations along one surface, though other sides may be highly smooth. The interior is typically incredibly transparent, and significant inclusions are often rare.
Lithium quartz is primarily mined in Brazil. With lithium quartz, you usually have gentle pinkish-purple colouring, potentially due to the inclusion of lithium-containing minerals like lepidolite, though that isn't certain. The stone can range from translucent to opaque.
Milky Quartz (AKA Snow Quartz)
Milky quartz – also referred to as snow quartz – is the most common quartz variety. Its inclusions usually give a colourless quartz base white streaks, swirls, or colouring. Typically, this lowers the transparency, which makes the stone less suitable for industrial applications. However, the look of milk quartz can be intriguing and often highly affordable.
Nirvana quartz is a relatively new variety found in the Himalayan Mountains. The crystals are usually wand-shaped, though other formations can occur. When it comes to the colouring, they're typically a soft, rosy hue.
Onyx is a chalcedony variety primarily known for its striking black colouring. However, there's also a white variety, ranging from a snow colour to a gentle cream. With onyx, you usually find distinct colour layering, which can work well for creating cameos and intaglios when skillfully carved. Generally, onyx is translucent to opaque.
Phantom quartz features unique layering caused by the overlapping growth of quartz crystals. As a result, you can usually see an outline of a crystal within the larger crystal, almost like an apparition within the stone.
Prase (Prasem Quartz)
Prase – or praseum quartz – is a version that has a yellow or sage green colouring, typically described as a leek-green hue. In most cases, it's turned into cabochons to highlight the unique shade. Due to visual similarities, prase is often confused with chrysoprase, though the former usually has darker, less saturated colouring compared to the latter.
Prasiolite (aka Green Amethyst or Green Quartz)
Also known as green quartz and green amethyst, prasiolite is a green variety of quartz that gets its colouring from iron ions. It's one of the rarest occurring natural quartz varieties, and many of the pieces sold on the market are actually artificially produced, as heat-treating amethyst can create similar colouring. Genuine specimens primarily originate from Brazil, though some have also been found in Poland and Canada.
As the name suggests, rose quartz is a variety known for its pink colouring. Usually, trace amounts of iron, manganese, or titanium lead to the striking hues, which can vary from light to dramatic. In some cases, rose quartz may exhibit asterism – an optical effect – if rutile needles are present within the quartz structure.
With rutilated quartz, you typically have a transparent quartz base and black rutile crystal inclusions that look like straight strands, ribbons, or even tumbling confetti. The inclusions are generally opaque, causing them to stand out dramatically.
Scepter quartz has a unique growth pattern, where the crystals have a multi-generational formation. Usually, the second-generation tip is significantly larger than the first-generation. When the opposite occurs, it's referred to as a reverse scepter quartz formation.
Smoky quartz crystal is a translucent to nearly opaque variety that usually features earthy gray colouring. How intense the hue is can vary, as some are just lightly coloured while others may have deep enough coloration to appear nearly black. The shade occurs due to trace aluminum in the crystal being naturally irradiated.
Spirit Quartz (Cactus Amethyst)
With spirit quartz – also called a cactus amethyst – you get a central crystal covered with slews of tiny terminated points. This rock crystal formation is typically only found in South Africa, and the unique structure makes it a popular collector's stone.
As it features amethyst, you do get some purple colouring. However, it can vary from strong to slight. Additionally, some versions feature smoky quartz or citrine instead of heated amethyst, leading to other hues like gray, yellow, or tan.
Strawberry quartz is a variety known for its strawberry-like pinkish-red colouring. The hue is created by inclusions of minerals like hematite, lepidolite, alurgite, or piemontite. The inclusions are often visible as specks or flakes, depending on the mineral involved. In some cases, the inclusions are reminiscent of strawberry seeds, another reason for the gem's name.
Tiger's Eye Quartz
Tiger's eye quartz features chatoyancy, creating a shimmery or wavy optical effect not unlike a cat's eye. Usually, it occurs when quartz features altered amphibole fibres, causing a mix of golden or warm brown hues.
With titanium quartz, you have a coated quartz variety. It's a manufactured variant, where titanium oxide is bonded to quartz to create a metallic, iridescent effect. Usually, the titanium leads to a blue base hue, though other colours may appear due to viewing angle and lighting conditions.
Tourmalinated quartz occurs when quartz and tourmaline grow together. The base stone is usually a transparent or nearly transparent quartz, and the tourmaline creates black strands throughout the crystal. Usually, the strands resemble paper slivers or long confetti pieces in shape. Most jewelry-quality pieces originate from Brazil, though it's also found in other parts of the world.