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Quartzite relief
MFA# 10.650


A metamorphic rock composed of Quartz grains along with other minerals such as Hematite, phengite, and Chlorite. Quartzite is commonly found throughout the world. It is usually white, pink or red in color but can be found in other colors, such as yellow, green, blue or orange. Quartzite is a semitransparent stone that resembles Marble, although it is harder and does not effervesce in Acid. Quartzite breaks unevenly with a clean angular fracture and is very resistant to weathering. Since prehistoric times it was used to make tools. Presently, natural quartzite is used as a decorative stone in flooring, walls and countertops, and crushed quartzite is used for making Brick, abrasives, and road rubble. Dyed quartzite has been used to replicate several types of gemstones. Sedimentary quartzite is generally called siliceous Sandstone to distinguish it from the Metamorphic stone.

Sioux Quartzite glacial erratic

Synonyms and Related Terms

arenite sandstone; siliceous sandstone; cuarcita (Esp.); quartzite (Fr.); quartzito (Port.); Quarzit (Deut.); kwartsiet (Ned.)



Raman (MFA)

Quartz, collodion slide, 785 nm copy.tif




  • Noncombustible.
  • Inhalation of fine particles may cause silicosis.
  • US Silica Company: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Insoluble in acids except for hydrofluoric acid. Slightly soluble in alkalis.
  • Trigonal crystal system
  • Low thermal expansion
  • Fracture = conchoidal
  • Luster = vitreous to greasy
  • Streak = white
  • Microscopically, particles are transparent
  • Fluorescence = generally inert
Mohs Hardness 7.0
Density 2.65-2.66 g/ml
Refractive Index 1.544 - 1.553
Birefringence none to low

Resources and Citations

  • Gem Identification Lab Manual, Gemological Institute of America, 2016.
  • Wikipedia: [1] Accessed Dec 2022
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 647
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Anne Grimmer, Glossary of Building Stone Terms, A Glossary of Historic Masonry Deterioration Problems and Preservation Treatments, National Park Service, Washington DC, 1984
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998