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difference between cut glass crystals and natural crystals like quartz

article about what is the difference between cut glass crystals and natural crystals like quartz - natural quartz vs glass crystals

What is the difference between cut glass crystal and quartz crystal?

Every year we get many questions regarding the difference between glass crystal and quartz crystal.

This short article will attempt to explain the major differences, but is not meant to be a complete technical white paper on this subject.

Our company sells both kinds of crystals, including Chinese Crystal Balls, Austrian Swarovski cut crystal jewelry, quartz crystal jewelry,
and quartz specimens. It can be confusing to consumers when these terms are used in commerce.

Difference #1
Natural Quartz crystal has 99 percent or more silicone dioxide content verses glass items that contain 80 percent or less silicone dioxide.

In the gift trade one might hear terms like "crystal" or "cut crystal" "fine crystal" "Austrian crystal" "Swarovski crystal" or "cut glass". Usually these terms are references to forms of GLASS. Items made from this type of GLASS include jewelry such as beaded necklaces or pendants, stemware, chandeliers, prisms, sun catchers, window hanging balls, rainbow makers, and other household gift products. Most of these types of glass products contain lead, for example most if not all of Swarovski items contain 32 percent lead.

The addition of lead in the molten stage of glass making yields superior clarity and light refraction. The higher the lead content the higher the quality of the glass product. This is the first distinction between glass crystal and quartz crystal - both items contain Silicone Dioxide but glass products have much less Silicone Dioxide than natural quartz crystals.

Difference #2
Quartz has a symmetrical structure and glass has a random structure

In the jewelry trade you also hear terms like "crystal" "quartz crystals" "natural or genuine crystal" "gem crystals" or stone or rock crystal". Usually these terms are references to naturally occurring crystal formation in the EARTH. When conditions and materials were right, crystals like quartz actually GROW into a shape similar to a pencil, with multiple well formed sides and many times a termination or come to a point like a pencil on one or both ends of the crystal. Sometimes the growth is very symmetrical producing crystals of uniform parallel sides and sharp terminations / points. Sometimes the crystals grow in irregular shapes, bent or deformed, and often grow in "clusters" with dozens or hundreds of crystals growing from a common base.

Many common precious and semi-precious gemstones started out as natural crystals just like quartz crystals. They also grow under the right conditions.
Gems like topaz, aquamarine, sapphire, ruby, emerald, and diamond were all crystals before being cut and polished into gemstones used in jewelry.
Other gemstones like amethyst, citrine, were special cases of quartz that had various other elements present when forming like small amounts of iron that caused the quartz to turn color - purple for amethyst or golden yellow for citrine. Also common is smoky quartz and rose quartz (pink).

Quartz is a big family of materials that also contain gem materials like chrysoprase (green). onyx (natural cream /tan color commonly dyed as black and other colors), amazonite (mottled green), and chalcedony ( blues, and other colors). While these gemstone materials have a definite crystal structure , they generally do not form in the pencil like crystals that the other quartz items do they form into masses / irregular shaped rocks. I am not a gemologist so I may not be stating these groups exactly as a gemologist would but I think you can get the idea. This brings us to the second difference between quartz verses glass, the structure of the material. Quartz items have a very definite crystalline structure and glass has a liquid like non crystalline structure. The molecules in quartz are lined up and the molecules in glass are random.

There are other general differences in comparing glass items verses quartz crystal, I don't have much to to say about these other differences so I will just list them.

Difference #3
Quartz crystal can withstand a much higher temperatures and pressures than glass

Difference #4
Quartz is an electrical conductor and glass is an electrical insulator

You may also want to visit our page about different treatments and enhancements of gem stones

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What is the difference between cut glass crystal and quartz crystal?

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Greetings form Diane and Mike McKnight at We Hug Jewelry - www.wehug.com
Crystal vs Crystal - What is crystal?
Welcome to our corner of the internet, perhaps you have followed a link from a search engine like Google or Yahoo looking for CRYSTALJEWELRY?
We have found that the term CRYSTAL JEWELRY means different things to different people and can be confusing.

Half of the folks that start to search for crystal jewelry are looking for jewelry that is made with leaded glass pieces like those in the photo on the left side. The other half are trying to find crystal jewelry made from natural gemstone materials like the natural quartz crystal in the right hand photo.

manufactured cut glass crystal

These crystal items are also know as cut glass crystal, fine crystal or leaded glass crystal. They are all manmade crystals manufactured by companies such as Swarovski Strauss, Lalique and others. Manufactures of leaded glass crystal are found in many areas of the world like Austria, Germany, The Czech Republic, Egypt and elsewhere. Many of these companies started out making crystal chandeliers and stemware. I'm sure that someone somewhere along the way took a chandelier piece and mounted it so it could be worn as a pendant, earrings, or a broach and the rest is history. Now these companies make specialized cut crystal and crystal beads specifically for the jewelry trade. We stock and sell several cut glass leaded crystal pendants earrings and crystal bead necklaces. There is nothing quite a striking as a sparkling piece of fine cut crystal set in a piece of jewelry.
Perhaps the King of Bling!

natural crystal from the earth

Just the opposite of manufactured cut glass crystal is naturally occurring crystal as found and mined from earth deposits. These crystals are also known as gemstone crystals and are available in what's called semi-precious, precious, and common gem stone crystals. Gems like diamond, ruby, sapphire, topaz, amethyst, citrine, peridot, garnet, tourmaline and aquamarine, were all mined in a crystal form before being cut and polished in to the various gemstone shapes. When you buy a garnet or citrine ring, an amethyst or peridot pendant, you are still buying a natural crystal, only its shape has been altered and polished by the stone cutter know as a lapidary artist. We try to provide both cut and polished crystals and gemstones and all natural uncut crystals set in to jewelry like pendants, rings and earrings.

The good news is we make and sell both kinds of crystal jewelry so we hope you might browse around our jewelry gallery pages and maybe find just the perfect new piece for yourself or a friend. Remember for special occasions flowers, candy or greeting cards are ok, but if you want to make a lasting impression, do it with a beautiful piece of jewelry.

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what is the difference between cut glass crystals and natural crystals like quartz - natural quartz vs glass crystals

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