Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/Quarzite or mica


QUESTION: Are they the same?

ANSWER: No, quartzite is a metamorphic rock composed of many individual quartz grains. Mica, however, is a group of phyllosilicate or sheet minerals. In the mica group the minerals muscovite and biotite are the most common. Mica minerals can be peeled into flat sheets with your bare hand. In the case of muscovite, these sheets and flakes are transparent and almost look like plastic. However, muscovite is very heat resistant and has been used as fireplace glass substitute before the invention of Pyrex.

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QUESTION: Thank you. Where would I find quartzite? Is it likely that I saw it in the Highlands of Scotland, when I came across glittery stones in a forest?

Sorry, it looks like that I did miss this question and can't remember if I already answered it. Just in case, let me answer it again.
Quartzite is a metamorphic rock. It is literally backed or partially fused sandstone. The small sandgrains overgrow with quartz in the process and these crystal surfaces give the rock a somewhat sparkling appearance when individual grain facets reflect the sunlight.
It would be more or less white in color, with some variations into buff & tan.
Prominent in NW Scotland would be the Basal Quartzite and the Pipe Rock Quartzite, together about 160m thick. However, these are NOT true metamorphosed (heat & pressure) generated quartzites. Rather, quartz overgrowth on individual sand grains makes them appear and act like true quartzites.
True quartzite stringers of much finer width may be indeed found within the gneisses and schists of the Scottish highlands.
The glittering rocks you may have found were most likely schist (very glittery) because it contains literally millions of tiny mica flakes that sparkle vividly in the sunlight, much more so than quartzite ever would.  

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Uwe Richard Kackstaetter, Ph.D. (Dr.K)


I can answer questions concerning minerals, mineralogy, gems, metals, and anything that has to do with geology. However, I am NOT a jeweler. Questions about values, settings, gem stone cuts and appraisals are best directed to other experts on this site. I can however aide in the identification of unknown mineral materials. As a public service and part as training for new geoscientists, our university department provides FREE mineral identification for individuals. Please contact me for details or go to for details..


I am a professor of applied geology and mineralogy with many hours of field experience. Furthermore, I enjoy recreational gold prospecting and mineral collecting. As a professor I am engaged in research concerning minerals and their occurrence.

Member of the GPAA (Gold Prospectors Association of America) as well as the Association of Environmental Geochemists. Member of the GSA (Geologic Society of America) Member of the AIPG (American Institute of Professional Geologists)

Here is a small sampling: Mineral-rock handbook: Rapid-easy mineral-rock determination : written for anyone interested in minerals and rocks - Proctor, Peterson, and Kackstaetter;Macmillan Pub. Co. (New York and Toronto and New York) Physical Geology Laboratory e-Manual [CD-ROM], Kackstaetter, Earth Science Education LLC Colorado Front Range Self-guided Geology Field Trips, Kackstaetter,

Ph.D. in Applied Geology and Mineralogy. I am actively teaching courses in mineralogy and a variety of field courses with mineral collecting opportunities. Background in precious metal exploration.

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