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A translucent Quartz mineral named after Cerro San Cristobal, Mexico where it was first identified in 1887. Cristobalite is a natural, refractory material formed in volcanic rock. It can be made synthetically when quartz is heated above 1050 C. Small amounts of cristobalite in a ceramic glaze formula minimize crazing. Opals contain masses of microscopic cristobalite crystals.

Synonyms and Related Terms

cristobalita (Esp.); cristobalite (Fr., Port.)

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Luster=Glassy
  • Streak = white
  • Nonfluorescent
Composition SiO2
CAS 14464-46-1
Mohs Hardness 6.5
Density 2.2 g/ml
Refractive Index 1.485-1.487


Properties of Common Gemstones

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 647
  • Robert Fournier, Illustrated Dictionary of Practical Pottery, Chilton Book Company, Radnor, PA, 1992
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997

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