Quartz Crystals
Written and researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska, B.F.A.

Rock crystal is often referred to as quartz (silicon dioxide), which makes up 60 percent of the earth's crust. "The term crystal is commonly used in reference to gemstones because of the geometric symmetry of their internal structures" (Chase, 3).


Rock crystal has the Mohs hardness rating of 7. The refractive index (RI) of rock crystal isa 81. It has vitreous luster; and is transparent. Stones as hard as 7 on the Mohs scale were carved by the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, and Chinese. In fact, the Chinese carved gemstones back to the Neolithic period. Carving requires tools harder than the material being worked. Rock crystal is noth pyroelectric and pieezoelectric. This means that, when the crystal is heated, an electrical charge is generated on its surface. The same thing happens when the crystal is subjected to strain.

Quartz are used in quartz analogue clocks and watches. Tiny computer chips make the clock mechanism move via the necessary number of vibrations. Radio frequencies are also carried by quartz.

Most gemstones have crystalline properties with varying degrees of opaqueness and inclusions.


Chase, Pamela Louise and Jonathan Pawlik. The Newcastle Guide to Healing Gemstones. North Hollywood, CA.: Newcastle Publishing Company, Inc., 1989.

Hall, Cally. Gem Stones. New York: A Dorling Kindersley, Inc,, 1994.

Melia, Dorothee L. Stone Power. New York: Warner Books, 1988.

Newman, GG, MA, Renee. Gemstone Buying Guide. Los Angeles: International Jewelry Publications, 1999.

O'Donoghue, Michael. VNR Color Dictionary of Minerals and Gemstones. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1982.

O'Neil, Paul. Gemstones. Alexandria, VA.: Time-Life Books (Planet Earth Series), 1983.

Richardson, Wally & Jenny and Lenora Huett. Spiritual Value of Gemstones. Marina del Rey, CA.: De Vorss & Company Publishers, 1988.

Walters, Raymond J.L.. The Power of Gemstones. New York: Chartwell Books, Inc., 1996.

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