How to Cut Quartz Crystal

By F.R.R. Mallory
Cluster of Quartz crystals.
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Quartz crystal is crystallized silicon dioxide (SiO2). Quartz crystals are quite hard, around 7 on the Mohs scale, just under diamond which, along with concerns such as silicate dust makes these crystals challenging to cut. Most quartz crystals are small in size with pyramidal ends. Often one end is broken off from a cluster leaving ragged edges and in order to use the crystals in jewelry those edges need to be cut. This can be done with good protection and the right tools

Step 1

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Wear protective clothing and safety equipment and ventilate your work space. Insert the quartz crystal into your vise so that the area you wish to cut is accessible on the end closest to you (if possible) and with the leather between the metal of the vise and the stone. The stone should be firmly held, but not so tightly as to crush it. Insert the quartz

Step 2

Squirt mineral oil on your crystal
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Squirt mineral oil on your crystal.

Step 3

Holding your Dremel tool firmly, allow the diamond blade to contact the crystal. Don't push the blade. Allow the blade to work for you. Lift the blade often to keep it from overheating. Add oil as needed.

Step 4

Rotate the crystal in the vise
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Rotate the crystal in the vise if it is larger than the depth of your blade or even if your tool gets too low on the stone.

Step 5

Smooth and polish your crystal
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Change your blade to a diamond grinder to clean edges once the cut is completed. Going from a low-grit diamond wheel to progressively higher grits will smooth and polish your crystal.

Step 6

Don't remove your respirator
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Vacuum all silicate dust and don't remove your respirator until you go outside of your shop. Silicate dust is quite dangerous to inhale. Wash your crystal with soap and water before handling it.

About the Author

My interests vary from continuous home improvement projects (I'm addicted) to assisting my son in designing theater costumes. I also travel to readings and for fun, ride a bicycle, garden, enjoy live performances in both theater and music, attend art openings, try out new restaurants, read books, do a lot of research, play with my animals and everything in between. I try to live a full but lower stressed life. I keep up with friends and family and most of all, I write. I am currently working on a play based in Chinese myth which is scheduled to be presented next year. I'm also working on upper degrees which puts me back at Berkeley.