How Can I Tell the Difference Between Fluorite & Quartz?

Wear goggles when you test the rocks.
••• safety at work image by Paula Gent from

Quartz and fluorite are two very different minerals, each with a different hardness and crystal structure, although on the surface they look very similar. Both rocks come in clear or white tones, as well as purple, pink, blue and green. The visual similarities make them difficult to tell apart, but you can distinguish the two minerals with some simple tests.

Determining the Difference Between Fluorite and Quartz

    Use a knife to scratch the minerals.
    ••• a sharp utility knife image by timur1970 from

    Scratch the rock with a utility knife to determine its hardness. Hardness is determined using Moh's Scale. Fluorite is a four on the hardness scale, whereas quartz is a seven, which is much harder. Fluorite will scratch if you scratch it with a normal knife blade because a blade has a hardness of 5.5. Quartz will not scratch if you try to score it with a knife blade.

    Use the rocks to score glass.
    ••• red glass green glass image by Roman Kyrychenko from

    Scratch a piece of glass with the rock. Fluorite will not scratch glass because it is not hard enough. Quartz is harder than glass and will scratch the glass.

    Use safety precautions when working with a hammer.
    ••• the hammer image by Jim Mills from

    Use a hand lens to examine the crystal structure of the rock. If possible, use a hammer and a piece of fabric to break a small piece of the mineral. Put on your safety goggles and place the fabric over the rock. Hit it with the hammer. Quartz will break into shards that are curved, while fluorite crystals have a clean, eight-sided break. If the rock is unbroken, the fluorite crystals will often form cubes.

    Things You'll Need

    • Quartz sample
    • Fluorite sample
    • Utility knife
    • Hammer
    • Safety goggles
    • 1 foot of fabric
    • Piece of glass
    • Hand lens

Related Articles

How to Shape Rough Quartz Crystals Into Shards
Why Does Basalt Weather Faster Than Granite?
Quartz Vs. Granite Countertop Weight
Physical Properties of Calcite & Quartz
How to Shape Rough Quartz Crystals Into Shards
How to Tell If a Crystal Is Diamond or Quartz?
How to Identify Crystals Found Within Rocks or Stones
Difference Between Quartz & Calcite
Differences Between Foliated & Non-Foliated Metamorphic...
How to Clean a Herkimer Diamond
Why Does Basalt Weather Faster Than Granite?
Rock & Mineral Games for Kids
How to Tell Glass From Quartz
How to Do a Streak Test With Rocks
The Differences Between Fluorite & Calcite
Quartz Vs. Granite Countertop Weight
How to Recognize Rough Agate
Can Scratches Be Polished Out of a Sapphire Crystal?
How to Identify Basalt
How to Tell Fool's Gold from Real Gold