The Quartz Connection - demystifying agate, jasper, chalcedony and quartz

Posted by Melissa Brown on 4/20/2015 to Product Spotlights
When reading about crystals and minerals, do you gloss over some terms? They seem complicated, but when you break it down, it's really quite clear! …or not clear, depending on how you look it it, read on to learn more.


We'll start with quartz, the master stone. Silica (SiO2) is the building block of this mineral which happens to comprise more than 10% of the Earth's crust by mass. It's fascinating to ponder why quartz was once thought to be solidified light. Quartz can be broken down into two major types; macro-crystalline (large six-sided crystals), and cryptocrystalline, meaning the crystals are too small to be seen, even through a microscope.

Quartz Family Photo
Varieties of quartz include chalcedony, agate, jasper, clear quartz, rose quartz, smokey quartz, amethyst, citrine and many more.

Quartz is said to be the master stone and is used by many to remove negativity, promote harmony and inspire co-operation. It is said to regulate energy by absobing, storing and releasing it. Quartz is also sought after to cleanse, raise energies, aid in concentration, and unlock memory.
macro and micro quartz Let's break quartz down further. When quartz occurs as singular crystal points or clusters of points, it is considered macro-crystalline. This form of quartz is commonly transparent or translucent; though opaque forms like tiger's eye exist. It is noteworthy that while the macro versions may also appear in massive formations of cryptocrystalline (micro) quartz, not all varieties of cryptocrystalline appear as macro versions.

Examples of macro-crystalline quartz are clear quartz, rose quartz, smokey quartz, amethyst, citrine, tiger's eye, hawk's eye, prasiolite and herkimer diamonds.
The Sacred Geometry of a naturally formed point contributes the ability to amplify the energies.



One of the main varieties of cryptocrystalline quartz is chalcedony, which is really a generic term for this second type of quartz. Though these terms are technically interchangeable, chalcedony is more commonly used to refer to white or lightly coloured material. Agate and jasper are both varieties of chalcedony, the difference between them is the amount of light that passes through; this is referred to as diaphaneity. The three types of diaphaneity are transparent (light and images pass through), translucent (light passes through) and opaque (no light passes through). This is sometimes more easily seen when the mineral is sliced and held in front of a light. What really affects the translucency of these forms of microrystalline quartz is the amounts of foreign materials. The impurities both add colour and reduce the translucency.

chalcedony family
The chalcedony family includes agate, jasper, carnelian (sard), onyx, flint, chrysoprase, bloodstone, petrified wood, hawk's eye and many others. Chalcedony is transparent to translucent or opaque with a glossy to waxy lustre.

While the various colours of chalcedony are considered to have unique healing benefits, in general it promotes brotherhood and good will by harmonizing the spirit, emotions, mind and body.  Chalcedony also absorbs and dissipates negative energy.


When concentrically banded, translucent chalcedony is called by the sub-variety name agate. The term agate also includes chalcedony with plume or mossy inclusions. The bands or plumes may be wavy, parallel or circular, depending on the differences in mineral formation. While agates most often have a variegated or irregular appearance of colour and translucency, sometimes the banding is larger than the mineral and the lines are not visible as with carnelian and sometimes onyx.

agate family
To read a further breakdown of the forms of agate, scroll down this linked page to read about the types or formations.

Agates are excellent grounding stones, promoting emotional, physical, and intellectual balance.


jasper family
Another sub-variety of chalcedony is an opaque quartz termed jasper. Jaspers contain enough foreign materials or impurities to render them opaque. Jaspers can also be banded or striated like agates, depending on the formation, they are most commonly red, yellow, green, brown, or a mixture of these colours. 

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.

There is so much more to learn about rocks and crystals. If you'd like to keep reading, you may enjoy our previous article - Minerals, crystals and rocks: Earth's jewels Explained.

Thanks to article references provided by Kelly Harrigan

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