Samples of quartz-bearing rocks were heated above the α (trigonal)–β (hexagonal) phase transformation of quartz (625–950°C) to explore changes in preferred orientation patterns. Textures were measured both in situ and ex situ with neutron, synchrotron X-ray and electron backscatter diffraction. The trigonal–hexagonal phase transformation does not change the orientation of c- and a-axes, but positive and negative rhombs become equal in the hexagonal β-phase. In naturally deformed quartzites measured by neutron diffraction a perfect texture memory was observed, i.e. crystals returned to the same trigonal orientation they started from, with no evidence of twin boundaries. Samples measured by electron back-scattered diffraction on surfaces show considerable twinning and memory loss after the phase transformation. In experimentally deformed quartz rocks, where twinning was induced mechanically before heating, the orientation memory is lost. A mechanical model can explain the memory loss but so far it does not account for the persistence of the memory in quartzites. Stresses imposed by neighboring grains remain a likely cause of texture memory in this mineral with a very high elastic anisotropy. If stresses are imposed experimentally the internal stresses are released during the phase transformation and the material returns to its original state prior to deformation. Similarly, on surfaces there are no tractions and thus texture memory is partially lost.