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No gemstone’s value is as elusive and variable as quartz, but at the end of this article, we’ll have learned a smattering about the cuts, colors, intricacies, and, most importantly, the things you can take for granted when you search for the value of a quartz specimen.
Quartz’s clarity earns it a raw price of around $0.01/carat and a gem price of $1-$7/carat. Amethyst, or purple quartz, is the most valuable variety (can reach $15/carat), but pink, rose, and smokey quartz is also valuable. Clearer, more vibrant, and unbroken specimens are the most valuable quartz.
The prices per carat do vary widely throughout time, and there are many things to look out for – including imitations and fractures – when appraising a quartz gem.
Is Quartz Crystal Worth Anything?
Because quartz is a seemingly common material, used for things that span beyond gemstones and beauty, this is naturally the first question to ask for someone entering the world of quartz gemstones. Luckily, there is a clear and precise answer which will not disappoint you.
Yes, quartz is indeed common but it is also a very special mineral and has value. Of course, it won’t see prices rivaling that of diamonds or other popular colored gems, but because it is beautiful and useful, it will always run a price.
If you don’t know already, outside the gemstone industry quartz is well known and widely used. It has electromagnetic properties which make it used in the most luxurious of Swiss watches and has become a buzzword analogous to time-telling quality in the watch and micromechanics industry.
In fact, quartz (silicon oxide or SiO as a chemical composition) is used in almost every high-end consumer electronic as a stable semiconductor.
Inside the gemstone industry, it has a curious relationship with cost that other gemstones do not. For other gemstones, the labor used to cut and polish and manufacture the gemstone is just a fraction of the cost of the final product, because the mineral being processed is rare.
However, for quartz, the labor is a huge fraction of the final price. This will be discussed more below because it is one of the most important aspects of selling, dealing with, and trading quartz.
Value of Quartz: Different Varieties & Units
To start off by diving into the value of all the types of quartz, and what can make that different, let’s take a look at the average value for these different kinds.
The values in this chart (except for the raw category) are all for cut and polished quartz gemstones.
Of course, gemstones go through a long life cycle, so depending on if you have just found the stone, if you’ve, bought it at a reputable raw gemstone supply, or have a display case specimen, this will change the price a lot.
It can also change depending on where it has been found and how it is cut. However, these variations and more will be discussed down below.
Here are the average prices per carat of different quartz varieties.
Because conversions are sometimes confusing, here is how much average clear quartz gems cost for different weight units.
Purple quartz is the most valuable variety and will be looked at in more detail in the following section.
The next most valuable type of quartz is pink or strawberry quartz. This variety takes on light clear pink with darker freckles and is usually cut into round cabochons.
The price for this type can vary widely and is mostly characterized by its clarity. Clearer specimens will deposit themselves higher in the price range, especially when the specks are clearly visible.
Though similar in color, rose quartz has some distinguishing features which set it apart from pink quartz. This variety is typically cloudy and therefore not cut into sharp gemstone shapes.
On the other hand, it is most popular when tumbled and completely round. Such cloudy minerals are most valuable when uniform, so try to look for imperfections in color variation which may push the price down to the 2 $/carat range.
Smokey quartz (also spelled smoky) is a very valuable variety, which comes in all ranges of browns of equal value. You can find tan smokey quartz or an almost completely black variety.
Color variations are also responsible for price variations in gemstone quality smokey quartz – you’ll want to find a specimen without fractures that has the same shade of brown throughout.
Smokey quartz is also popularly displayed in its raw crystal form. In this case, color variation is desired and even typical – usually near the base of the crystal is a clearer shade, while the tip can display an infinitely dark shade.
The highest quality smokey quartz gems are also popularly cut into gemstone shapes such as the emerald or assher cut and used as backdrops for more colorful and expensive colored stones.
Any color imperfections or an easier cut will decrease the value, while a pure color emerald cut smokey quartz will be at the top of the price range for this stone.
Green and yellow quartz stem from the same mineral relationship and usually fit into similar categories. They are more common than many of the other colors and for that reason are much cheaper, but because of their clarity and reflective properties, are also sometimes faceted and sold as gems in jewelry.
Clear quartz is actually rarer than yellow quartz but is not as popular as a gemstone because of its seeming simplicity. If you’re looking to sell raw clear quartz, you may even want to look in the industrial sector.
TIP: Quartz is the mineral with the greatest amount of varieties. Check out the complete list of quartz varieties in the article below:
Complete List of Quartz Varieties: Know Them All!
What is the Most Valuable Quartz?
Purple quartz, or amethyst, is widely recognized as the most popular and most valuable variety of quartz. Amethyst is treated as a true gemstone most of the time – meaning it is found in much the same places as other colored gemstones, where you may not find clear or any other variety of quartz.
Though not the rarest, amethyst is the most famous variety which drives demand much higher. Because you may be as curious as I am about the different aspects of amethyst as a gemstone, I will take you through the 4 c’s of this wonderful variety of quartz.
Its cut is what differentiates it from other varieties of quartz and sends it closer to the colored gemstone realm. While other varieties may be cut in a cabochon (round with few edges) style, clear amethyst is most valuable when faceted.
It takes many of the shapes which other colored gemstones take, most notably: asscher, emerald (pictured below), and baguette for structured or step cuts. It also looks great with round, oval, and cushion cuts.
The color of amethyst ranges from very light lavender to a deep royal purple. Different colors will have different values, but the deeper and darker colored stones usually have more intrinsic value.
They also take on a more natural look – purple is not a color found often in nature and can therefore seem artificial sometimes. It can also vary in color throughout the material.
Because amethyst is just a variety of quartz that assumes its color because of the presence of other minerals around, it can sometimes have clearer portions, especially closer to the source of the crystal’s growth.
Quartz is usually characterized by a very high clarity but is susceptible to fracturing. Amethyst is not an exception to this, and most specimens that you may find are already fractured, with cracks everywhere and only very small elements existing without cracks.
Because of this, any specialist will look carefully for imperfections when buying amethyst, so you should too.
Amethyst exists in all carat weights, it can be found in geodes as hundreds of tiny specimens, and it can be found in large, unbroken pieces. Therefore, a rarity from the size will not affect the cost per carat price much.
There is one consideration that can actually provide a barrier for larger quartz specimens though. Quartz has a vitreous luster which appears as waxy most of the time, but this slowly looks duller and duller as size increases.
This property will not affect the average specimen but should be kept in mind when looking for massive gemstones.
TIP: Quartz is a hard and crystalline mineral that consists of two oxygen and one silicone atom. Find out more about quartz forming in the article below:
Forming of Quartz Crystals & Its Varieties Explained by PRO
What Makes Quartz Valuable?
Quartz’s value as a gemstone stems from the labor put into transforming it from a raw mineral to a gemstone. The value of raw quartz depends highly on its intactness, purity, and color.
Importance of Gem Cutters
Labor is an important piece of the quartz industry because the raw material is not so rare but the end product is still a beautiful, clear, colored gem.
However, it is also important because the mineral itself is not easy to work with. It has a conchoidal fracture and brittle tenacity, which are not common for gemstones, making it a specialized area of gem cutters.
Fracture is a property that speaks about how a stone looks after it is broken. Conchoidal fracture creates wavy, smooth curves along a broken surface.
If you think about the most attractive gemstones you’ve seen, you probably don’t think about curving surfaces – you usually think about clean, planar slices reflecting light in different directions.
Therefore, this property can be a large barrier between getting from raw quartz to a finished gemstone. It also notably makes it very hard for DIY’ers, who typically go for a round, tumbled look as a result.
Quartz imitations are extremely popular as a result of this property also. Glass has a similar fracture and a similar clarity also, which makes it very easy to make a nearly indistinguishable quartz imitation to an untrained eye.
You will recognize huge companies like Swarovski which make glass crystals that can be made to look very similar to quartz crystals.
While quartz is still more valuable than these crystals, it’s interesting to look at all the similarities between the two materials. Glass is made from melted sand, which itself is actually almost 100% comprised of silicon and oxygen.
So quartz and glass are both made of virtually the same thing and are both almost completely devoid of any crystalline structure to be noted.
The similarities don’t end there – when comparing the price structures of glass imitation crystals and quartz crystals, the labor price of both dominates the end gemstone price, due to cheap raw material cost.
The higher price of quartz can be attributed to the lower supply – since it’s easier to acquire glass than it is raw quartz, it’s relatively easy to find glass crystals for sale, but harder to find quartz crystals for jewelry.
BTW: Do you want to know more about rock and mineral identification? The books listed below are the best ones you can find on the internet (Amazon links):
- Smithsonian Handbooks: Rocks & Minerals
- Gemstone & Crystal Properties (Quick Study Home)
- Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Rocks and Minerals (National Geographic Kids)
Where Can I Sell Quartz Crystals?
So, if the imitations are so popular, you need to find a place where your natural material can be appreciated for what it is. There is a different market for raw and crystal quartz, so you must go to different places to sell it.
Etsy and other niche online marketplaces are fantastic avenues to take if you’re just starting out your gemstone merchant career. There are also established shops on these platforms which are very successful.
Another route is joining rock and crystal clubs and then attending their events. These are usually friendly, personal affairs where you can share your passion for minerals and exchange interesting specimens.
TIP: Do you know where to find quartz for selling? Beaches can be great places for finding quartz crystals. Check out how to find quartz on the beach in the article below:
Can You Find Quartz on the Beach? It Depends How You Look
Where Can I Buy Quartz Crystals?
When in the market for quartz, you must decide whether you want to buy from a reputable company where there are avenues to find the origin of each gem reliably or if you want a more personal experience and a more creative piece.
Etsy, Amazon, and Joom online marketplaces are great places to find raw quartz. There are many mineral wholesalers who sell quartz.
I recommend searching these online marketplaces for raw quartz because it is relatively common, so fraud and other attempts to lie to you about what you are buying are less common.
Quartz Crystals and Jewelry
The best place to buy natural jewelry is inarguably local gem shows and rock exchanges. These are usually seasonal weekend events where rock merchants set up stands in a town square.
These are truly exciting events and provide a friendly atmosphere for mineral exchange. If you’re looking for a more valuable gem, reputable jewelry stores usually have a small selection of quartz.
Otherwise, any rock shop or soul shop will have creative quartz crystals.
TIP: Are you looking for tips on what to buy for your loved passionate rock seekers? Find out the best and not-so-common tips on gifts for rockhounds in the article below:
13 Best Gifts for Rockhounds You Should Buy