How Is Quartz Mined?
The Encyclopedia of Arkansas explains that commercial mining of quartz is rare and occasionally consists of the use of explosives to first expose the quartz, followed by the operation of small hand tools such as chisels and rock picks to extract portions of the mineral from a quarry. Quartz is quite sensitive to temperature changes, so miners prefer not to use explosives unless absolutely necessary.
The Minerals Education Coalition explains that quartz is mined primarily in the United States and Brazil. Mined quartz is intended for commercial use in both jewelry and electronics and must therefore undergo an extensive cleansing process, which strips the minerals of all chemical impurities and physical flaws.
A man-made form of quartz, known as cultured quartz, is manufactured to standards of perfection in laboratory settings. This process relies on a small starting source of quartz, referred to as a seed crystal, upon which further quartz crystals are grown. These seed crystals are difficult to find and are primarily produced by Canada, Brazil, Germany and Madagascar. The Minerals Education Coalition reports that China, South Africa and Venezuela have also been known to provide seed crystals to countries with an interest in manufacturing cultured quartz in a lab.