When it comes to stones and relationships, it's rose quartz that is officially known as the "love stone," not the diamond. This soft pink crystal is abundant in several parts of the world, so despite its beauty, its lack of rarity keeps it from being highly valued as a gem.
Nevertheless, rose quartz has been used for thousands of years for adornment, ornament and healing.
Rose quartz gets its name from its color, according to Carson Lee, instructor, Gemological Institute of America (GIA). It is pink and falls somewhere between translucent and cloudy.
"Some stones come in a wide range of colors, not rose quartz," says Lee. "Rose quartz is springtime; it's Easter; it's the color of the sunset."
The stone's hue can range from light pink that is nearly white to a medium-dark pink. It might also run to violet, orange- or purple-pink and occasionally a rose-red, according to International Gem Society.
Typically, the deeper colors will be found in the larger specimens; smaller pieces show lighter color. The special color of rose quartz comes from "microscopic inclusions of aligned silicate mineral fibers" that crystallized during cooling, according to GIA.
Where Is Rose Quartz Found?
Rose quartz is found in numerous places throughout the world, from Brazil and Uruguay to Germany, India and South Africa. Mozambique and Madagascar have big rose quartz mining operations. South Dakota has been known for its rose quartz.
And it's been mined and used for millennia. Archaeologists have found rose quartz beads from as long ago as 7,000 B.C.E., according to Lee. "What a cool illustration of timelessness," he says.
From ancient Iraq, or Mesopotamia, to world civilizations like Egyptian and Roman, rose quartz was chosen for adornment. The stone has a long history.
Compared to substances like marble, rose quartz is rare, but compared to other gemstones, it is abundant. Compositionally, it is a silicon dioxide (SiO2), or quartz, which is the second-most common mineral in Earth's crust, according to Britannica.
So while other stones get their value from their scarcity, rose quartz offers an opportunity for a carver, sculptor or artist to add value. Because it comes in large sizes, rose quartz can be made into sculptures that other stones would not allow, and because it's not rare, making these items is not incredibly cost-prohibitive, says Lee.
Clearly, rose quartz is not a rare find. GemPundit lists it for about $3.50 per carat. Despite its abundance, rose quartz is divided into categories of quality, including heirloom, best, better and good. Just the top 1 percent of rose quartz gets to be called heirloom, and these stones are medium-dark pink with an appealing cloudy translucence.
Buying Rose Quartz
The main factor in valuing rose quartz is its color — the more saturated and richer the color, the more sought-after the stone, Lee says. Bigger pieces usually display the more intense color, and rose quartz stones can be feet tall and wide, which only makes sculptures and figurine carvings more desirable because they will have that rich color.
The stone shows a range of transparency. In its finest quality, it would be saturated pink and highly transparent.
Rose quartz also has fine inclusions that can create a phenomenon, which can be just as beautiful as it sounds. These inclusions are typically needlelike, and when a stone is cut or a light is shone on the stone, the internal inclusions are reflected.
That might sound unimpressive, but the result is that the stone can display an asterism (star) or a cat's eye, also called a chatoyancy. It might even show Tyndall scattering, which is a rare effect that makes the quartz appear blue in the right light.
Rose Quartz Uses
Rose quartz is relatively durable — ranking a 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale — and tough, and not prone to breaking. That makes it a wearable material, according to Lee. In this sense, it's versatile and can be made into beads or cabochons, but the more translucent rose quartz might be faceted instead. It works well in multiple types of jewelry from earrings to pendants to rings.
Larger pieces are carved into figurines or often spheres. Historically, rose quartz was also used in these ways, and unlike other gems like lapis lazuli, ancient Egyptians did not crush it for makeup. However, ancient peoples did use rose quartz for talismans and medicinal purposes based on their belief in its ability to bring calm and improve anger and depression.
Like the ancients, many people today believe rose quartz has significant healing properties and is associated with unconditional love. It is said to open the heart chakra, which can help heal or strengthen relationships or provide a sense of relaxation. In addition to promoting self-love, many believe rose quartz may attract new love.
Crystal healing experts attribute a variety of physical benefits to rose quartz too. According to Crystal Vaults, it boosts the skin, has anti-aging effects, helps the heart and circulatory system function properly, aids the body in releasing impurities and supports the female reproductive system in multiple ways.
When placed under a pillow, it is said to bring pleasant dreams; when worn on a pendant near your heart, it's said to relieve stress. Although rose quartz should not be used as a replacement for medical care, it's soothing appearance alone might make a wearer feel better.