Quartz is used in radios, radar, sound equipment and television. It's also used in the mechanism for watches. The mineral's versatility comes about because it has piezoelectric qualities. This means that quartz takes on a charge when it's stressed.
Pure quartz looks very much like glass, but it is very hard. This makes it ideal for glassware, windowpanes and eyeglasses. Prehistoric people used a variety of quartz called chert to make tools. They also used it to make fire, as sparks fly when chert is struck against iron. The sparks last long enough to be fanned into flame. Quartz is also used as an ingredient in concrete, making it important for the construction industry.
Quartz sand is used to purify drinking water and in the making of glass and ceramics. Ultraviolet ray tubes are made out of quartz because quartz is one of the few materials that will transmit ultraviolet rays.
Impure quartz can come in a rainbow of colors, and these colored examples of quartz are often used as jewelry or carved into works of art. They include amethyst, rose and milky quartz, tiger's eye and citrine.
Dinosaurs used quartz stones as gastroliths. Like birds, they used stones in their crops to help grind their food.