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Colour:colorless, pale ...Hardness:6½ - 7
Name:Named in 1892 by Auguste Michel-Lévy and Ernest Charles Philippe Auguste Munier-Chalmas for its similarity to quartz, but for its having an opposite optical character. Dana (1899) placed the mineral with lutécine.
A variety of Chalcedony

Quartzine is a fibrous variety of chalcedony. It is also called "length-slow chalcedony" and is usually intergrown with another, more common type of fibrous chalcedony, "length-fast chalcedony", that comprises most of the different varieties of chalcedony. Length-fast chalcedony is more common than quartzine.

Quartzine "fibers" are made of tiny quartz crystals that are stacked along the c-axis (the long axis of the crystals).

It is not possible to identify quartzine with the naked eye, one needs a polarizing microscope to do that (which is also the reason for the odd names "length-slow" and "length-fast chalcedony" that refer to a special optical property of the chalcedony fibers). However, the peculiar patterns seen in some chalcedony specimen, most notably so-called "feather agates", are caused by the intergrowth of quartzine with "ordinary" length-fast chalcedony (see photo).

Quartzine in Polarizing Microscope
Quartzine and length-fast chalcedony give similar extinction patterns in thin sections, in both cases spherulites show a cross-shaped pattern. Although length-fast chalcedony generally looks more fibrous and quartzine more patchy, the safe way to distinguish them is by using a λ-compensator.

The photo to the left shows a small spherulite of length-fast chalcedony that is surrounded by a ring of quartzine, which in turn is embedded in length-fast chalcedony. In spherulitic growth, quartzine shows the yellow color in the upper left and lower right quadrant, rotated by 90 degrees with respect to length-fast chalcedony.

Top: crossed polarizers
Bottom: crossed polarizers with λ-compensator.
Field of view 980µm.

Classification of Quartzine

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Physical Properties of Quartzine

Diaphaneity (Transparency):Translucent
Comment:Vitreous when polished
Colour:colorless, pale gray-white
Comment:all colors depending on embedded impurities
Hardness (Mohs):6½ - 7
Fracture:Conchoidal, Sub-Conchoidal
Density (measured):2.6 - 2.65 g/cm3
Comment:varies with type and amount of impurities

Other Names for Quartzine

Length-slow chalcedony
Other Languages:

Other Information

Health Warning:No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.

References for Quartzine

Reference List:

- +
Michel-Lévy, Auguste and Munier-Chalmas, Ernest Charles Philippe Auguste (1892) Comptes Rendus 110, 649.

Michel-Lévy, Auguste and Munier-Chalmas, Ernest Charles Philippe Auguste (1892) Memoire sur diverses formes affectees par le reseau elementaire du quartz. Bulletin de la Société Française de Minéralogie 15, 159-190 + 4 plates.

Keene, J. B. (1983) Chalcedonic quartz and occurrence of quartzine (length-slow chalcedony) in pelagic sediments. Sedimentology 30: 449-454.

Flörke, O. W., Graetsch, H., Martin, B., Röller, K., Wirth, R. (1991) Nomenclature of micro- and non-crystalline silica minerals based on structure and microstructure. Neues Jahrbuch der Mineralogie Abhandlungen 163: 19-42.

Graetsch, H. (1994) Structural characteristics of opaline and microcrystalline silica minerals. Reviews in Mineralogy, Vol.29, Silica - Physical behavior, geochemistry and materials applications.

Xu, H., Buseck, P. R., Luo, G. (1998) HRTEM investigation of microstructure in length-slow chalcedony. American Mineralogist, 83: 542-545.

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  • Localities for Quartzine

    The map shows a selection of localities that have latitude and longitude coordinates recorded. Click on the symbol to view information about a locality. The symbol next to localities in the list can be used to jump to that position on the map.
    (TL) indicates type locality. ? indicates mineral may be doubtful at this locality. All other localities listed without reference should be considered as uncertain and unproven until references can be found.
    • Rio Grande do Sul
    Amir Akhavan Collection
    • Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén Co.
      • Zemplén Mts (Tokaj Mts)
        • Sárospatak
        • Tállya
    • Meknès-Tafilalet Region
      • Khénifra Province
    "Amir Akhavan" Collection;
    New Zealand
    • North Island
      • Taranaki
    • Central Region
      • Moscow Oblast' (Moskovskaya Oblast')
        • Moscow
    Pekin, A. (2011) Minerals of Moscow. Russian Journal of General Chemistry. Jun2011, Vol. 81 Issue 6, p1381-1391.
    • Castile-La Mancha
      • Guadalajara
    Alonso-Zarza, A.M., Sánchez-Moya, Y., Bustyillo, M.A., Sopeña, A., Delgado, A. (2002) Silicification and dolomitization of anhydrite nodules in argillaceous terrestrial deposits: an example of meteoric-dominated diagenesis from the Triassic of central Spain. Sedimentology 49, 303-317.
    • Crimea Oblast'
      • Crimea peninsula
        • Kerch peninsula (Kertch peninsula)
          • Opuk Mountain area
    - Dvoichenko P.A. The minerals of Crimea (1914) - Zapiski Krymskogo obshchestva estestvoispytatelei (Proceeding of the Crimea Society of Naturalistes), 1914, vol. 4, p. 1-208 (Rus.) - Popov S.P. Mineralogy of the Crimea (1938). - M.-L., AN SSSR, 1938, 352 p. (Rus.)
    • California
      • San Bernardino Co.
    Amir Akhavan Collection
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