Rutilated Quartz Buying Guide


rutilated quartz buying guide - rutilated quartz pendant
At over 150 carats, this piece of rutilated quartz is a true show-stopper. In a cleverly designed pendant by Jean Francois Albert, yellow gold creates the illusion of rutile inclusions that emerge from the stone. Photo courtesy of Shelly Sergent, Somewhere in the Rainbow Collection.

Silky golden rutile inclusions in quartz have become quite popular. With more and more people seeking something unique and eye-catching, there’s little wonder that the value of rutilated quartz has skyrocketed. Unlike diamonds and most colored gemstones, determining the value of rutilated quartz is highly subjective. Ultimately, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Only you can determine what you like. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to read up on the quality factors for this gem before your next rutilated quartz buying trip.

Rutilated Quartz Buying and the Four Cs

The IGS quartz value listing has price guidelines for faceted and cabochon rutilated and tourmalinated quartz.

Color

Colorless quartz is the most common and allows for the best view of rutile silk. However, some may prefer the muted effect of smoky quartz or the vibrant color of amethyst or citrine.

rutilated quartz buying guide - rutilated amethyst and quartz
Rutilated amethyst and rutilated quartz rings. © Ana Cavalheiro Fine Jewelry. Used with permission.

Rutile inclusions occur in shades ranging from golden to brown. While bright golden inclusions are the most desired, some may prefer a coppery hue.

rutilated quartz buying guide - coppery rutile pendant
Coppery inclusions in this pendant are bright and reflective. © Gina Pankowski. Used with permission.

Clarity

Of course, the most important factor in rutilated quartz value is the inclusions. These may occur as large bands or small strands. Some stones are full of rutile, while others have only a few inclusions. The rutile may be nearly parallel or intersecting. While these factors are largely a matter of personal aesthetic, a couple do impact value.

rutilated quartz buying guide - three rutilated quartz rings
These three rings all feature rutilated quartz, and each has an entirely different aesthetic! © Ana Cavalheiro Fine Jewelry. Used with permission.

First, rutile inclusions that reach the surface of the stone will lower its durability and make it more fragile. Surface-reaching inclusions will also pose problems for polishing the stone.

Next, although you can’t expect perfect symmetry, look for a visually balanced stone  with an even distribution of rutile.

rutilated quartz buying guide - hexaradial
This rutilated quartz specimen has an unusual trapiche-like hexaradial pattern. “Rutilated quartz (Novo Horizonte, Bahia, Brazil) 5” by James St. John. Licensed under CC By 2.0.

Other inclusions may be present. Black tourmaline or reddish hematite commonly occur as inclusions in quartz. As long as these inclusions add to the stone’s aesthetic, they don’t detract from its price.

Cut

Poorly cut rutilated quartz has little value. Always look for a symmetrically cut stone with bright facets that features the rutile inclusions attractively. While cabochons are much less expensive than faceted gems, they should also nicely feature rutile inclusions.

Carat

Due to the abundance of quartz, even in large sizes, the price per carat of rutilated quartz doesn’t vary with carat weight.

Even gems above 100 carats, such as this 102.45-ct specimen, can be found with little difficulty. GemSelect Rutile Quartz from GemSelect.  Licensed under CC By 2.0.

Jewelry Considerations

At 7 on the Mohs scale, quartz is hard enough to resist scratches well. Rutile, however, has a hardness of 6. Thus, any surface-reaching inclusions are more prone to scratching. In addition, any stones with large inclusions have a greater chance of fracturing. Keeping your rutilated quartz in a protective setting and avoiding impacts will help ensure that your stone lasts.

About the author
Addison Rice
A geologist, environmental engineer and Caltech graduate, Addison's interest in the mesmerizing and beautiful results of earth's geological processes began in her elementary school's environmental club. When she isn't writing about gems and minerals, Addison spends winters studying ancient climates in Iceland and summers hiking the Colorado Rockies.
All articles by this author