Markets are thronged with a huge variety of crystal jewelry. Some common items are crystal jewelry, Austrian Swarovski cut crystal jewelry, quartz crystal jewelry, American crystals, etc. This confuses consumers to distinguish between natural quartz crystal and a glass crystal. Some of the characteristics about natural and glass crystals helps to distinguish between them.
- Natural quartz crystal has more silicone dioxide percentage while glass items have very little or no silicone dioxide. “Austrian crystal”, “cut crystal”, “fine crystal”, “Swarovski crystal” are references to forms of GLASS. Some items composed of this type of glass include beaded necklaces or pendants, chandeliers, prisms, window hanging balls, and rainbow makers. These crystals have lead. The mixing of lead in the molten stage of glass manufacturing warrants clarity par perfection and light refraction. The more the lead quantity, the higher the clarity and quality of the glass product.
- Quartz has a symmetrical structure while glass has a random structure. “Quartz crystals”, “gem crystals”, “stone or rock crystals” are the naturally occurring forms of crystals from the earth. Under favorable conditions, quartz crystals grow into a shape similar to a pencil with multiple well-formed sides. These crystals are symmetrical in shape, having uniform sides and sharp terminations or points. Some grow in irregular shapes, masses, or in “clusters” with hundreds of crystals growing from a common base.
Most of the precious and semi-precious gemstones first started out as natural crystals like the quartz crystals growing under right conditions. Gems like topaz, ruby, aquamarine, emerald, and diamond are natural crystals before they are cut and polished into gemstones used in jewelry.
Other gemstones like amethyst and citrine are special cases of quartz having some other elements present in them during formation. For example, small amounts of iron that lead to color change in the quartz – purple for amethyst or golden yellow for citrine. Other such gemstones are smoky quartz and rose quartz (pink).
There are some other gem materials like chrysoprase (green), onyx (natural cream color), amazonite (mottled green), and chalcedony (blue color). These gemstone materials possess definite crystal structure but do not grow into a well-defined shape. Quartz items have a very definite crystalline structure and glass items possess a non-crystalline structure.
- Quartz crystal can endure intense high temperatures and pressures as compared to glass crystals.
- Quartz crystal is an electrical conductor and a glass crystal is an electrical insulator.