"Cherry Quartz" beads

According to the current issue of Gems and Gemology - (volume XXX I
X -pages 42 &43 ), many bead vendors at this past Februarys Tucson
Trade Show were selling Glass beads and calling them “Cherry
Quartz”. The author states that when he ask the vendor what that
was, the vendor explained it was a heat-treated quartz from China.
This same explanation was given by multiply vendors of “Cherry
Quartz” at the show.

The author of the article first inspected the “Cherry Quartz” beads
with a loupe and easily saw distinguishing gas bubbles which are
major signs of glass! After this he bought the so called “Cherry
Quartz” beads and took them back to the West Coast GIA trade lab
where his suspicions were confirmed by further testing.

Just thought anyone who may have purchased any "Cherry Quartz"
should know of these findings. Especially if you are thinking of
re-selling them as full disclosure is one of the rules of the FCC.
I know that may sounds silly at this stage, but just because some
vendors were either misled, or misleading, doesn’t mean we should.

Daniel Hamilton

Thanks Daniel! I appreciate getting the news on what is being done
with glass in China. Immediately following Tucson this year I also
noticed a resurgence of those opalescent glass eggs and hearts being
sold as “opalite”, although not as huge a wave as three or four
years ago when they were being passed off as precious opal.

Jim Small
Small Wonders

You are absolutely right - the cherry quartz many vendors were
selling at Tucson was glass. Thanks to a post on Orchid, I figured
this out and quickly moved the beads I bought to the “crystal”
category on my web site. I have no intention of continuing the
deceit, now that I know I was misled. This is not the first time
I’ve been sold fake stone, but I’ve gotten better at identifying it
thanks to this group.

I do have a question, however, about glass vs. crystal. Is there a
big difference? I had the impression that crystal has a higher lead
content than ordinary glass. So, am I continuing to mislead others
by putting those manmade “cherry quartz” beads in the crystal
category? Should they really be in the “glass” category?

They are quite pretty beads, but if people think they are getting a
natural stone when they are not, it’s not fair to call it “cherry
quartz.” (The vendor insisted that these beads were quartz, when I
called them crystal.) Frankly, I suspect it may be a language
problem as much as intentional deceit, as this vendor was a
foreigner. However, they were also selling very large (over 1 foot
tall) crystal shaped pieces of the material that looked quite like a
natural crystal, so maybe they thought it was real stone too.

In any case, I want to be as accurate as possible in my description
of them.

Sun Country Gems

I feel the need to comment- Silicon crystal sand is melted to make
glass, Quartz is also silicon crystals, and melting is a heat
treatment, so while they were being quite deceptive; it was a
factual statement. But very misleading!! Bad sellers! Betsy (finals
week starts tomorrow! AHHH!)

Silicon crystal sand is melted to make glass, Quartz is also
silicon crystals 

Most glass is not just quartz. It’s usually mostly quartz sand, as
you say, in proportions of around 70 percent of the mix. But pure
quartz melts at very high temps, and such glass is costly, and
usually only made for special purpose lab glassware. Most common
glass, soda lime glass, is about 70 percent sand, with calcium oxide
from limestone, and sodium oxide (soda ash) making up the rest.
These latter two greatly lower the melting point. Lead crystal
substitutes lead oxides for some of the calcium oxide, increasing the
optical properties of the glass, and also the price. borosilicate
glass, such as pyrex, etc, the more common high temp glass, is about
80% sand, with boric oxide, alumina, and soda ash.

While those crackled glass beads might be a fused quartz glass, I’d
bet they’re one of the less costly versions listed above. Actual
fused quartz glass wouldn’t be all that much cheaper than just using
natural clear quartz, if it would even be cheaper at all. Especially
since they wouldn’t need perfectly clear quartz for those beads


Hi Susan,

  So, am I continuing to mislead others by putting those manmade
"cherry quartz" beads in the crystal category?  Should they really
be in the "glass" category? 

If you want to be 100% safe, they should probably go in the glass

Unless you know or can determine their makeup contains the necessary
amt of lead to allow them to be classified as ‘lead crystal’ the
safest thing is to call them what they are ‘glass’. Even lead crystal
is glass, it’s just that it’s refractive index (RI) is higher than
ordinary glass & the finshed product aproximates quartz in

Sorry, I can’t tell you what the FTC requirements for 'lead crystal’
are or even if there are any.


    I feel the need to comment- Silicon crystal sand is melted to
make glass, Quartz is also silicon crystals, and melting is a heat
treatment, so while they were being _quite_ deceptive; it was a
factual statement. But very misleading!! Bad sellers! 

Aloha Everyone, This “hot” discussion is passing glass off as crystal
at a Gem Trade Show is what can gather from the various e-mail
Orchid posts. If this is the case, wouldn’t it be better to
disclose this company so no matter where they travel, other members
will not have to deal with them? If you do not want to list them
on-line, then send me a personal e-mail and disclose it to me. If
you want me to keep it private, I will. The last thing our company
would want to do is make an Orchid List Member viewed as possibly
"Unprofessional" if their company disclosed this But
since many of us attend Wholesale Gem Shows, and the vendors
normally travel, then we would like to know who it is so we do not
have to go through the agony of what some of you have gone through.
Hope someone will reply either on line or send me an e-mail off
line. Much Aloha, Barbara HQCE

I actulally think that “crystal” is a deceptive description since
the material is not crytline but just glass!

Sometimes it has a high lead content but all crystal is just glass!

Tony Konrath
Key West Florida 33040

Hi Susan (Lucas) and gang, I’ve been following this thread for the
past few days, and although I wasn’t there to see these “Cherry
Quartzes”, I can’t help but wonder whether anyone has yet given any
thought to cutting and/or polishing a facet on any of these beads,
to test for it’s Refractive Index, before calling them “glass”.
Given the sheer range of colors currently available in floating
point and hydrothermally-grown Synthetic Quartzes, nowadays –
including colorless, smokey brown, light, medium, “grape jelly” and
“Siberian” purples, crisp light and dark blues, medium and deep
Tourmaline greens, canary, golden and brownish yellows and hot,
intense pinks, at last count, and the fact that such crystals often
reach tens, if not hundreds of thousands of carats, in size – it
seems more than a little possible that these items were, indeed,
“cherry” colored Synthetic Quartzes. As for the part about
disclosure? Well, this wouldn’t be much of a first now, would it?

All my best, Douglas Turet, GJ Turet Design P.O. Box 162 Arlington, MA
02476 Tel. (617) 325-5328 eFax (928) 222-0815

Is there a big difference?  I had the impression that crystal has
a higher lead content than ordinary glass." 

Crystal as in man made crystal is high led content glass. Crystal in
the gem world referes to an orderly arangement of atoms in a specific
habit(pattern) glass is ammorphous and does not have a habit, there
for the “cherry qaurtz” was not Crystal, was not Qaurtz and was only
glass. the austrian crystals and Swaroski crystals are glass
containing Lead (Pb) is called crystal due to the fact that it will
seperate white light into it’s component colors and ahve a crystal
like effct in dispersion. I think calling it “cherry qaurtz” was
nothing more than deceptive and untrue.

Aaron A Tracy Graduate Gemologist and a whole slew of other things i
should not mention.

I also bought what I was told was quartz beads as well as some
crystal balls at Tucson from a Hong Kong dealer. They said they were
quartz but didn’t mention the word cherry. I was thinking of doing
some other business with them, but now I’m worried. They faxed me a
certificate of authenticity saying they only work in natural quartz.
If that’s not what this is, we don’t have a language problem, we
have out and out fraud.

Do any of you rock hounds out there have a good way to tell the
difference between glass and quartz? I don’t see any bubbles in it,
but I don’t have a high power loop. In any case it is very clean

Don Friedlich

Rather than go to the trouble of cutting and polishing a facet and
getting an R.I., which may be so close to the R.I. of quartz as to
be of no help anyway, why not put it under a polariscope since
quartz is D.R. and glass is amorphous? The fact that the beads have
round bubbles in them however is enough evidence of their being
glass for me. Jerry in Kodiak

One thing everyone might want to think about is something GIA
teaches in the Graduate Gemologist course.

’ If your not for sure, assume its not real to be safe’

I still believe that at least that way its not going to be a
problem down the road.

So let the person trying to sell to you show actual proof its

And never sell something your unsure of as real, if its not.

Better safe than sorry…

Tiny technical note, any glass will separate white light out into a
spectrum. White light passing through any change in material gets

Tony Konrath
Key West Florida 33040

Don, Quartz is a very hard substance. It is 7 on the Mohs scale of
hardness (Mohs Scale of Hardness). If you can scratch your
beads with a piece of regular quartz you probably have a piece of
glass. If you cannot scratch it with quartz, try scratching it with
a piece of topaz which is 8 on the hardness scale. If it is quartz,
topaz will scratch it easily. If you don’t happen to have a
collection of different minerals quartz is very easy to find. It
comes in the crystals with which most people are familiar and it also
comes in various forms of massive formations like veins, usually
white in color, or in smaller pieces called chalcedony. Agate is a
form of quartz as is jasper. I am sure you can find most of these at
any rock shop, or if you are lucky enough to live in an area where
the rocks are exposed enough to see quartz is literally everywhere.
It is the most common mineral on earth.

We buy a lot of beads for our store. And I must admit I have bought
some questionable strands by mail with the names of “strawberry” or
"watermelon" quartz. I would LOVE to know your questionable
supplier’s name. Mine was Texas beads.

Judy Shaw

Hi Don.

I did not come across the “cherry quartz” beads in Tucson this year
and have only seen an internet image since the beginning of this
discussion. I have no idea if those beads are quartz or glass but
have no doubt that there could be glass “strawberry quartz” beads,
etc. being made and sold.

That said, I can assure you that some reddish inclusions occur
naturally in quartz and depending on the included material and its
distribution can give the quartz a reddish color. One such material
is called “strawberry quartz” and is described variously as
containing inclusions of hematite or fine needles of reddish rutile.
Locales cited include NC, Mexico, Madagascar and Russia.

Here are links to images of some natural crystals:


Pam Chott
Song of the Phoenix

I bought some “Amethyst” - large, gorgeous, faceted drops, great
price, at the recent wholesale show in Greensboro, NC. I was
doubtful at the time that what I had was actually Amethyst given the
apparent perfection and low price, and have had others look at them
since who agree with me. I suspect what I have are some really
gorgeous very large glass drops - which is really what I figured I
was buying :wink: no matter what they called them.

When I loupe them I don’t see any bubbles though - should I if they
are glass?

Also, it turns out they are color change - whatever they are!
Switch light sources, and they switch color. Very pretty! I was
selling them individually (the ones I thought I didn’t want) at a
recent SFMS workshop, and had a “run” on them once folks found out
they color changed - like me they didn’t care about the actual
material, just that they are really nice large drops.

Anyone else run across these? Suggestions on telling what they
really are with a loupe?

Beth in SC

Apparently the GIA did, Douglas; it was their report in G & G that
started this thread. I just looked it up and the West Coast gem lab
said: “Microscopic examination revealed not only arrays of spherical
gas bubbles… but also irregular parallel colorless to dark pink
bands and clouds of a somewhat reflective “copper”-colored material.
Gemological testing showed the material to be singly refractive with
a R.I. of 1.460, a S.G. of 2.18, and a varied reaction to UV
radiation, ranging from inert to moderate orange in long wave, and
from weak to moderate greenish blue or weak to very strong yellow in
short wave. All of these properties confirmed the identification of
these beads as glass.”

Rick Martin

Beth, They might be synthetic Alexandrite, which under certain light
conditions might look like Amethyst in color. Joel @Joel_Schwalb