Compare Quartz and Topaz

Quartz and Topaz are two gemstones whose colorless varieties can look very similar. It is common for these gemstone to be mixed up in large parcels as it is difficult to identify them visually.

Topaz has a different refractive to Quartz, so using a tool known as a refractometer you should be able to tell the difference (Read more about the properties of Topaz)

Colorless Topaz pair

Another tool that is widely used is the Presidium gem tester. This tool uses a small probe that is placed on the gem and the correct reading is seen on the screen. It will easily tell the difference between Topaz and Quartz.

Presidium gem tester

If you have both a piece of Quartz and a piece of Topaz, you can identify them using a scratch test, but be warned, this will leave a scratch on one gem. Quartz has a hardness of 7 on the MOHS scale, while Topaz is an 8. That means that Topaz will scratch Quartz. You can try and scratch one of the gemstones with the other and which ever one is scratched will be Quartz.

Colorless quartz gemstone

If you don’t have any tools, you can use the visual look of the gemstones to try and differentiate them. This is only an estimation technique and proper testing should be carried out. Quartz has a nice sparkle but Topaz often reflects yellows and blues like a diamond, that is why it is described as silver at times, the shine and sparkle are totally different from Quartz.

Most quartz is normally translucent and may have some sparkle but Topaz has been used as a substitute for diamonds for many years.

If you place some nice high quality topaz beside some translucent quartz, it will help you in being able to tell the difference. The eye will catch the beautiful colors irradiating from the topaz whereas the quartz will just shine with light and not really reflect multiple yellows and pinks and so on.

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