Thursday, December 18, 2014

Difference between Quartz, Jasper, Agate and Chalcedony

Difference between Quartz, Jasper, Agate and Chalcedony?

Many people wonder what the difference is between quartz, jasper, agate and chalcedony.

If you read about the gem materials used for working in mines and rock tumbling, you will encounter three names over and over again. These are “agate,” “jasper” and “chalcedony.” These names are often misunderstood and often used incorrectly.

With a little knowledge you can use these names correctly for most specimens. However, some specimens can be difficult or impossible to name correctly with these terms if you must rely only on visual inspection of the material. 

Here you go..........

Comprised of silica (SiO2), there are two major types of quartz: macrocrystalline, meaning the “large crystal”, and cryptocrystalline, meaning the crystals are too small to be seen, even through a microscope.  Varieties of quartz include chalcedony, agate, jasper, clear quartz, rose quartz, smokey quartz, amethyst, citrine, plus many others.

Quartz is one of the most common minerals in the earth’s crust.  It absorbs, stores, releases, and regulates energy.  Quartz also cleanses, raises energies, aids in concentration, and unlocks memory.

One major variety of cryptocrystalline quartz is chalcedony, a generic term for cryptocrystalline quartz.  Chalcedony includes any cryptocrystalline quartz, although it is only generally used for white or lightly colored material.

Chalcedony is a generic name given to any material that is composed of microcrystalline quartz. Agate and jasper are both varieties of chalcedony.

Chalcedony is a very hard material. It has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale. It breaks with a conchoidal fracture, and freshly broken pieces have a very smooth, non-granular texture and a waxy to vitreous luster. These characteristics enable chalcedony to be cut and polished into a bright, durable gemstone.

Chalcedony promotes brotherhood and good will by bringing the mind, body, emotions, and spirit into harmony. 

Chalcedony also absorbs and dissipates negative energy.  Having a glossy to waxy luster, chalcedony is a transparent to translucent or opaque mineral.

The various colors of chalcedony contain additional healing benefits.  Chalcedony includes carnelian (sard), chrysoprase, agate, bloodstone, jasper, petrified wood, and many others.  When chalcedony is concentrically banded, it is called by the sub-variety name agate.

Agate is a translucent banded chalcedony. Agate is a translucent to semitransparent chalcedony. If you have a piece that is semitransparent you will be able to hold a very thin piece up and see distorted or foggy images through it. If you hold a translucent piece up to a source of light you will see a small amount of light passing through the thin edges. If you hold it up to the light and pass your hand between the material and the source of light, your hand will block the light passing through the material.

Agates are excellent grounding stones, promoting emotional, physical, and intellectual balance. Agates often have a banded or irregular, variegated appearance. The bands may be wavy or parallel, depending on the differences in mineral formation. Sometimes the banding is larger than the crystal and the banding lines are not visible as with carnelian where although it is an agate, the banding is not visible.

Another sub-variety of chalcedony is opaque quartz termed jasper. Jasper is an opaque variety of chalcedony. Neither light nor images pass through.

Microcrystalline quartz in its pure form is semitransparent. When a small amount of impurities or other mixtures of materials are added, the color of the microcrystalline quartz changes and its ability to transmit light decreases. Jasper contains enough impurities and other mixtures of material to render it opaque.

Jaspers can also be banded or striated, depending on the formation, and are usually red, yellow, green, brown, or a mixture of these colors.  Jasper sustains and supports during stressful times, all the while bringing a sense of tranquility and wholeness.  Various colors of jasper contain additional metaphysical properties.

The Difference Between Agate and Jasper
The primary difference between agate and jasper is in their diaphaneity. The word “diaphaneity” is used to describe “how easily light passes through a material.” There are three general levels of diaphaneity. They are, from highest to lowest:
  • Transparent (light and images pass through) 
  • Translucent (light passes through)
  • Opaque (no light passes through)
The real difference between jasper and agate is the amount of impurities and other mixtures of material contained with a specimen.  
Some examples of macrocrystalline quartz are clear quartz, smokey quartz, amethyst and citrine points.  These crystals sometimes form in cryptocrystalline or “massive” formations where the crystals are too small to be seen, however when they occur as singular crystal points or are found in clusters, these are examples of macrocrystalline quartz. 

Clear Quartz is the stone of power and can help to amplify any energy or intention.  The Sacred Geometry of a naturally formed 6-sided clear quartz point contributes the the ability of clear quartz to amplify any vibration or intention.

The above details about the crystal stones is taken from the different varieties of crystals books such as :
Author Judy Hall  - Crystal Bible 1, 2, 3
Author Robert Simmons & Naisha Ahsian - The Book of Stones
Author Katrina Raphaell - Crystal Enlightenment
Author Cassandra Eason - The New Crystal Bible
Author Dorothee L. Mella - Stone Power II
Author Michael Gienger - Healing Crystals
As I love the crystal and so I keep wonderful collection of crystal related books and taken from that.

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