Quiz: Can You Identify These Crystals, Gemstones and Minerals?: HowStuffWorks
Can You Identify These Crystals, Gemstones and Minerals?
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By: Elizabeth Lavis
6 Min Quiz
Image: miljko/E+/Getty Images
About This Quiz
It's no secret that our planet is bursting with brightly-colored gems, valuable minerals and opaque crystals of all shapes and sizes.
This quiz will take you deep below the Earth's crust on a quest to highlight some of the most fabulous crystals, gemstones and minerals that have been used and worn by humans for centuries. From romantic diamonds that signal everlasting devotion to jet-black obsidian forged deep in the belly of the planet, we tackle all of the popular — and not so popular — rocks that make up our big, beautiful world. Trust us; we have barely scratched the surface. There are plenty of rocks that simply didn't make the cut.
Even if you have a jewelry box stuffed with rare gems from all over the planet, you might have some trouble acing this quiz. You also could discover new favorites in this treasure-trove of questions that is designed to both educate and entertain you. If you have always wanted to show off your gem identifying skills, it's time to play geologist and prove that you know the difference between onyx and jasper, quartz and gypsum, and sapphires and emeralds.
We came ready to rock your world with this challenging quiz!
This normal-looking rock has a sparkly surprise inside! What is it?
Who doesn't love geodes? These marvelous specimens are grey and blah and the outside, but bursting with crystals on the inside. They are a rock and a crystal all wrapped into one!
Its brilliant blue hue makes it one of the most coveted gemstones around. Which one is it?
Sapphires are the ultimate beautiful blues. This precious gemstone is a favorite pick for necklaces, rings and bracelets. These stunners go with just about everything in your closet.
Tsuneo Yamashita/DigitalVision/Getty Images
A string of these makes a stunning necklace. What is it?
Crack open an oyster and you might find one of these gleaming beauties. Pearls have long been coveted for long strands of pearl necklaces, classy earrings and also statement rings.
This gem comes in a rainbow of different colors. Which one is it?
Naturally-occurring topaz is actually pale yellow, but different impurities can render it rainbow-colored. It's a spectacularly hard stone, making it both durable and so attractive!
Gemporia via YouTube
Wish upon a star for this fabulous stone. Which one is it?
Moonstones are so popular because they have an iridescent, otherworldly quality that sparkles in a burst of different colors and hues. They're strongly associated with chakras and intuition.
Walter Geiersperger/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images
This opaque crystal was used by many ancient people. Which one is it?
Ancient Egyptians used calcite as a base for many of their carvings, including the goddess Bast, for which we get the modern word "alabaster." Calcite is also considered a healing crystal.
This vibrant orange-red semi-precious gemstone is totally striking. What is it?
Carnelian gets its brilliant hue from iron oxide, which also causes some of the more incredible designs that color these semi-precious stones. It makes an absolutely stunning statement ring.
This ancient substance is made from a tree resin that looks good on a necklace. What are we talking about?
Amber is literally fossilized ancient tree resin, and each piece's unique impurities are what makes it so stunning. Sometimes you can even find insects preserved in pieces of amber.
Wiki Commons by Scott Nazelrod
A hard, commonly occurring mineral. What is it?
Quartz is a ubiquitous mineral made out of silicon and oxygen. It's extremely hard, earning it a "7" on the Mohs hardness scale. It's tremendously useful and found in many different products.
Take me to Oz to see this brilliant green gem! Which one is it?
Popularized in Frank L. Baum's classic children's book as the Emerald City, this gem is notable for its lush green hue and brilliant shine. It's a very precious stone for a reason!
Wiki Commons by Slovakiaopal
This psychedelic gem makes a beautiful statement piece. What is it?
Opals might look a little bit like moonstones, but the two are not the same. Opals are infused with brighter and more varied colors thanks to the fact that they're made of silica.
BankVaultJewelry via YouTube
A jet-black stone that pairs perfectly with diamond. What is it?
Onyx is exceptionally hard and very stunning to look at. The most popular variety of onyx is black, although you can also find it in white as well. Both are exceptionally beautiful.
Wiki Commons by Marie-Lan Taÿ Pamart
It's grey and somewhat sparkly. What are we talking about?
Graphite is a naturally-occurring substance that magically transforms into a diamond if you apply enough pressure. If you've ever used a No. 2 pencil, you've worked with graphite.
Ron Evans/Photodisc/Getty Images
This rainbow-colored mineral is used in a number of different industries. Which one is it?
This mineral is beautifully rainbow-colored but is mostly used for industrial work. Those that are strikingly beautiful are used for jewelry, but fluorite mostly does work behind the scenes.
SEAN GLADWELL/Moment/Getty Images
A lusty red gem that's popular in jewelry. What are we talking about?
The original red gems, rubies are tremendously beautiful and used for a number of different types of jewelry. They make stunning statement rings, lovely necklaces and beautiful bracelets.
Jim Simmen/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images
August babies wear this stone. What is it?
Peridots are deep lime-colored and the birthstone for babies born in August. Although they are not as popular as some of the other gemstones in this quiz, peridots still have a fan following.
Wiki Commons by Marek Novotnak
This striped stone looks a little like varnished wood. Which one is it?
Tiger's eye looks a little like varnished wood, and no two pieces are alike. It varies in hue from golden brown to reddish and deep brown and usually has stripes or bands of color.
gustavo ramirez/Moment/Getty Images
A precious metal popular for jewelry. What are we talking about?
Silver is one of the most popular metals in the world. Along with gold and platinum, silver makes up the base for many different pieces of jewelry. It is also gorgeous all on its own.
Wiki Commons by Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez
It's a shiny mineral sometimes used for makeup. What is it?
Mica is a brittle, silicone-based mineral that can make your skin glow. That's right, mica is often used for makeup and is thought to even have calming effects for irritated skin.
Wiki Commons by Aomorikuma
Commonly red, this mineral can also come in yellow, green or brown. Which one is it?
Red jasper is the most common type of this mineral and is known for its brilliant red color that comes from iron oxide. It also has some impurities, which makes each piece of jasper unique.
This gem is mostly associated with wedding proposals. What are we talking about?
This wedding band favorite has long been used as a gem that you give your betrothed. Although diamonds are expensive, they are also very common and used in plenty of different industries.
Wiki Commons by Reno Chris
It is the base for another popular gem, aquamarine. What is it?
Beryl is a base gemstone for some of our favorite stones, including brilliant pale blue aquamarine. It certainly polishes up nicely and looks very attractive in most types of jewelry.
Wiki Commons by Didier Descouens
Called "fool's gold," this mineral is a sparkly fake. Which one is it?
During the Gold Rush, many prospectors uncovered pyrite and thought that they had struck it rich. This mistake gives pyrite its common nickname, "fool's gold." It is used in industrial practices.
Wiki Commons by Mmmmkobayashi
A stone with an animalistic quality. What is it?
Cat's eye, also known as chrysoberyl cat's eye, gets its distinctive stripe from the chatoyancy effect. They are not as popular as the other feline stone, tiger's eye, but can still be found in jewelry stores.
Wiki Commons by Géry Parent
This striking orange stone is a variety of quartz. Which one is it?
Citrine sounds a bit like "citrus," which is fitting because the color of this gemstone is a deep, bright-colored orange hue. They are uniquely beautiful and a variation on quartz.
Wiki Commons by Robert M. Lavinsky
You're standing on it right now! What's the name of this common mineral?
Feldspar makes up 41% of the Earth's crust, making it one of the most common minerals on the planet. It is either very pale or colorless and extremely hard and durable.
Wiki Commons by Adam Ognisty
Beautiful blues make up this semi-precious stone. Which one are we talking about?
Lapis lazuli is a semi-precious stone that comes in one of the most beautiful naturally-occurring colors on the planet. Its stunning deep blue color made it valuable to ancient people.
Petri Oeschger/Moment/Getty Images
This blue-green mineral pairs perfectly with silver. What is it?
These opaque stones come in various blue-green colors and pair stunningly with silver jewelry. They are generally shot-through with copper coloration, making each one totally unique.
Simon McGill/Moment/Getty Images
Collect it by the seashore. What are we talking about?
Seashells are naturally occurring materials that you can collect for free on any beach in the world. They have been traditionally made into jewelry and used for ceremonial purposes.
Wiki Commons by Ji-Elle
Forged in volcanoes, this jet-black substance is completely striking. What is it?
Obsidian is one of the most interesting elements on the planet because it is basically a mineral forged from a volcano. Shiny, jet-black and very hard, obsidian is absolutely incredible!
Wiki Commons by Ben Mills
It's not rotten eggs, it's this pale yellow element. What is it?
Sulfur is a pale yellow element that famously smells a lot like rotten eggs. It can be dangerous to humans, and you should avoid inhaling a large amount of it- for your health and because the smell is so bad!
Wiki Commons by Deomar Pandan
A purple beauty that is common in necklaces. What are we talking about?
Amethysts are actually a purple-colored variety of quartz and have been used for spiritual and ceremonial purposes for years. They are popular as stand-alone stones and in necklaces.
Wiki Commons by Calibas
Breathtakingly green, this lovely mineral is popular in jewelry. What is it?
Malachite is notable for its beautiful green hue and various patterns. Each one is a different canvas of green hues, stripes and swirls. Its unique beauty is what makes it so popular.
Wiki Commons by Gikü
It's the main ingredient in chalk. Which mineral are we talking about?
Gypsum is the main ingredient in chalk, plaster and drywall. Its soft composition makes it the perfect candidate for all of these household items. It's very common and occurs all over the world.
Darryl Leniuk/DigitalVision/Getty Images
Under the sea you'll find this living rock. What is it?
Coral is not technically a mineral or gemstone, but it is a naturally forming formation that occurs under the ocean. Coral is alive, and it is vital to the health of our many oceans.
Wiki Commons by JJ Harrison
This tasty-sounding mineral is absolutely not fit for human consumption. What is it?
The bright-red hue of cinnabar makes it a favorite pigment and dye worldwide. It contains a lot of mercury, so even though it sounds like a bowl of breakfast cereal, it is totally toxic.
Wiki Commons by Robert M. Lavinsky
This green-yellow precious stone is native to Brazil. Which one is it?
Brilliant brazilianite is native to Brazil and is considered to be a semi-precious stone. It makes a stunning addition to any piece of statement jewelry and shines up so beautifully.
Wiki Commons by Doxymo
This gorgeous stone is a collection of different hues. What is it?
Agate is a celebration of different colors, with the base color being a rusty red. When shined up, it is absolutely stunning and makes a gorgeous stand-alone stone or part of a statement ring.
Ron Evans/Photodisc/Getty Images
A gory gem also known as heliotrope. What are we talking about?
Bloodstone is a dark green stone that is flecked with red, hence the gory name. It is also known as heliotrope and contains large quantities of green jasper and traces of red hematite.
Paul Starosta/Stone/Getty Images
It's commonly red like a ruby, but this stone stands on its own. What is it?
Common garnets are deep red, beautiful gems that rival rubies. This semi-precious gem also comes in shades of deep orange and even bright green. Green garnets are the rarest and most valuable.
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