Quartz countertops are man-made engineered stone countertops formed by combining around 90 percent ground quartz (a natural hard mineral) with eight to 10 percent resins, polymers, and pigments. This forms a very hard granite-like surface.
Quartz is 100 percent a natural material made up of a white or colorless mineral. But, unlike natural stone, such as marble, granite, and soapstone, quartz countertops are categorized as a man-made product.
Many varieties are gemstones, including amethyst, citrine, smoky quartz, and rose quartz. Sandstone, composed mainly of quartz, is an important building stone. Large amounts of quartz sand (also known as silica sand) are used in the manufacture of glass and ceramics and for foundry molds in metal casting.
Quartz is a major component of many types of rock. Quartz is abundant in certain igneous rocks. It forms the clear to grey or even white lumpy blobs in granite and comprise most of silicate-rich or felsic igneous rocks. It is absent or rare in more primitive basic or silica-poor igneous rocks such as basalt.
Quartz is among the most common of all rock forming minerals and is found in many metamorphic rocks, sedimentary rocks, and those igneous rocks that are high in silica content such as granites and rhyolites. It is a common vein mineral and is often associated with mineral deposits.
Description. Quartz is one of the most common minerals in the Earth's crust. As a mineral name, quartz refers to a specific chemical compound (silicon dioxide, or silica, SiO), having a specific crystalline form (hexagonal). It is found is all forms of rock: igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary.
Glass ranks around 5.5 on the Mohs scale. Quartz crystals rank as 7 on the Mohs scale. Therefore, a piece of quartz crystal will scratch a piece of glass.
Real Clear Quartz crystals will often feel cooler to the touch than glass. Glass will feel room temperature, while quartz will be slightly cooler in your hand. Leave your clear quartz crystal on the counter for a few hours and pick it up - what is the temperature? If it's a bit cooler, it's likely authentic!
Rock crystal quartz is found widely distributed, some of the more notable localities being: the Alps; Minas Gerais, Brazil; Madagascar; and Japan. The best quartz crystals from the United States are found at HotSprings, Arkansas, and Little Falls and Ellenville, New York.
Where Can You Find Quartz Crystals? If you can't find any gemstones in your backyard, check out the front, especially the driveway. You may have to get down on your hands and knees and look carefully, as clear quartz can mix in easily with normal rocks, especially when it is scuffed and dusty.
Diamonds can scratch every other mineral, but only diamonds can scratch diamonds. Quartz, the most likely mineral to be mistaken for diamonds in uncut rough form, ranks 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
Mining. Quartz is extracted from open pit mines. Miners occasionally use explosives to expose deep pockets of quartz. More frequently, bulldozers and backhoes are used to remove soil and clay and expose quartz veins, which are then worked using hand tools.
If you've found a quartz crystal on the ground and there are no visible rock outcrops in the area from which it may have come, you should start to do some digging. You can also start to dig some exploratory holes slightly uphill from where you found your crystal. Dig about 2′ deep and see what you find, if anything.
Quartz is a mineral that forms into crystals under extreme pressure. Geologically, quartz crystal deposits were formed millions of years ago. They are mined for industrial uses in clocks, computers and radios, and are also valued as decorative items and for jewelry.
Quartz forms when silicon and oxygen combine in the earth. It is found in massive form in late-melt igneous deposits such as pegmatites and often occurs with other materials such as spodumene (a lithium ore), feldspars, garnet and micas.
Some quartz makers sell exclusively through big-box stores; other slabs are available only through independent kitchen and bath showrooms.
Unlike granite and marble, quartz doesn't require sealing. This feature has made quartz highly popular among homeowners and like any other popular item, there is a high demand for the stone. The laws of demand and supply dictate that the higher the demand, the higher the price hence the high price of the stone.
Don't cut on quartz: Quartz is scratch resistant, one of the toughest countertop materials out there. The natural quartz stone in it is fortified with man-made polymers, making a tough material even tougher. That said, do not use your quartz as a cutting board. Sharp knives can scratch the surface.
The main downsides of quartz countertops are their price, appearance (if you desire the look of natural stone), and lack of resistance against heat damage.