Rose quartz is part of the macrocrystalline quartz family which includes gems such as rock crystal, amethyst, citrine and smoky quartz. Large crystals of rose quartz can be distinguished by the naked eye and are mainly transparent to translucent with a vitreous luster. The varieties of macro-crystalline quartz makes rose quartz unusual due to its amazingly translucent and milky color.
This gem has color ranges from a very pale pink to a rose red hue and appears milky, cloudy or hazy. This makes the color deep and lends it a slight and adularescent effect. Color hues are believed to be a result of trace amounts of titanium, iron or manganese, however, the chemistry of rose quartz is not yet fully understood.
The rose quartz contains microscopic rutile needles which can cause asterism. If the rutile needles are present, the star effect is sometimes seen. The star is best seen by directing a light source at the gem from above.
Rose quartz is usually cut into cabochons which maximizes its visibility and uniqueness. The material is used both as an ornamental stone and as a gemstone. It is often cited as an alternate birthstone for the month of January and is commonly carved into spheres, figurines and ornate statues.
Rose quartz is mined in Madagascar, India, Germany and South Africa as well as some parts of the United States. Most is mined in Brazil.