Rose Quartz - What is Rose Quartz and What Causes the Pink Color?

Rose quartz is a variety of quartz which exhibits a pale pink to rose red hue. Rose quartz is one of the most popular gemstones in the world and is often used in jewelry and other decorative objects.

What is Rose Quartz

Rose quartz is a variety of crystalline quartz, which is the most common mineral on Earth. Quartz is made up of silicon and oxygen atoms, and it has a chemical formula of SiO₂.

Rose quartz is commonly found in the quartz cores of pegmatites and is believed to form at high temperatures, but it has also been found in hydrothermal veins. They are found as a late formation in pegmatite pockets, often overgrowing smoky quartz crystals in groups of parallel-grown crystals.

Rose Quartz crystals
Rose Quartz crystals from Taquaral, Itinga, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Photo:  The Arkenstone


Although quartz is one of the most common minerals on Earth, natural rose quartz is one of the rarer colored varieties of crystalline quartz. Still, it’s not an expensive gemstone. The most coveted colors are pure to purplish pink. 

The term "rose quartz" has also occasionally been used for quartz that is colored by other inclusions. Pale amethyst may be confused with euhedral rose quartz/pink quartz. Amethyst and euhedral rose quartz/pink quartz are both occasionally found overgrowing smoky quartz and may show similar sheet-like surface patterns.

Rose quartz is a relatively soft mineral, with a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale. This means that it can be scratched by other minerals, such as quartz and topaz. Rose quartz is also brittle, and it can break if it is dropped or hit.

Despite its softness and brittleness, rose quartz is a very popular gemstone. It is often used in jewelry, such as necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Rose quartz is also used in carvings, sculptures, and other decorative objects.

What Causes the Pink Color of Rose Quartz?

The pink color of rose quartz is caused by trace amounts of impurities in the quartz crystal. The most common impurities that cause the pink color are manganese, iron, and titanium. These impurities replace some of the silicon atoms in the quartz crystal lattice, and they absorb certain wavelengths of light, while they reflect others. The wavelengths of light that are reflected are in the pink range of the spectrum, which is why rose quartz has its characteristic pink color.

 The amount of impurity in the quartz crystal determines the intensity of the pink color. Crystals with more impurities will be a deeper pink, while crystals with fewer impurities will be a paler pink. The color of rose quartz can also vary depending on the location where it is found. For example, rose quartz from Brazil is typically a deeper pink than rose quartz from Madagascar.

Rose Quartz Asterism

Rose quartz from some localities shows asterism when cut as spheres or cabochons, much like that seen in certain sapphires. It is sometimes called star rose quartz. The six-rayed star is caused by reflections of the light from embedded fibers that intersect at an angle of 60°.

Crystalline Rose Quartz

Additionally, there is a rare type of pink quartz (also frequently called crystalline rose quartz) with color that is thought to be caused by trace amounts of phosphate or aluminium. The color in crystals is apparently photosensitive and subject to fading. The first crystals were found in a pegmatite found near Rumford, Maine, USA and in Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Rose Quartz is the South Dakota state mineral.

Rose Quartz and What Causes the Pink Color?
 High quality piece of crystallized rose quartz - Brazil
Photo: Psychedelic.Rocks/IG

Polished Asterism  Star rose quartz spheres
Asterism rose quartz. Credit: Martin P. Steinbach

Rough massive Rose quartz.
Rough massive Rose quartz.

See also: 
What Is Faden Quartz, and How Does It Form?
What Causes the Purple Color of Amethyst?
Crystal Formations and Their Meanings
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