As part of the series of articles I’ve been writing, I recently wrote on the topic of gemstones, and found, among other things, that I simply loved the topic. Sure, I’d heard of beautiful gemstones, like many other people. I even knew that they are classified as precious and semi-precious, and that only diamond, ruby, sapphire, and emerald are precious, and that the rest are semi-precious.
What I didn’t know is how many different gems are found in nature, nor did I know just how beautiful some of them are, I only knew how to buy fashion jewelry online. So then, with that bit of knowledge, I determined, that the original article I wrote did not do justice to the topic; it was too superficial, and missed a lot of the finer, and interesting points that one could write about. Having decided that my description was superficial, I then wondered how practical it would be to do a series of articles, each of which focuses on a single gem, and to attempt to provide a fuller description of the subject.
With that in mind, it may be that the easiest gemstone to start with could be quartz. And so the rest of this article we will deal with quartz, and associated information available to make a credible presentation.
What is Quartz?
Quartz is the most abundant mineral found on earth (the second, according to wikipedia.com), so it follows that it comes in many forms and shapes. Chemically, it is made of two parts oxygen and one part silicon; it is one of the most useful substances on the earth, and can be found all throughout the world. It’s available on mountaintops, on the beach, on the desert, in rivers, etc. It’s extremely durable, and it is plentiful.
The physical properties of this mineral allow it to be used it in many applications, from glass to abrasives, to gems. A key property of quartz is its hardness, within the mohs scale (1 – 10, with 10 being the hardest), quartz has a hardness of 7. This property allows it to be used in multiple industries, such as petroleum, foundry, glass making, electronics, and of course, gem making.
These pendants are a sample of how quartz can be and is used for jewelry making.
Yes, but what about Gems?
When it comes to gems, there are several variations of quartz:
- Amethyst is considered as the most prized form of quartz. It is the manganese contents that produces the purple color in the gem, with iron varying the coloration. Incidentally, Amethyst is now the name of a color just like turquoise is the name of a color. This stone is found throughout the world, most notably in Brazil and Uruguay.
- Certain metaphysical properties are attributed to Amethyst, such as the channeling of abilities, acting as a sedative, and providing feelings of contentment. It is also known as a stone of peace and strength.
- When Amethyst and Citrine occur together, the stone is known as Ametrine. Traditionally, the stone can be cut to show an approximate 50/50 split of the two materials, or it can be cut artistically to show an amazing array of colors that are produced when the two stones occur together. But Ametrine is a rare gemstone, produced only in a mine in the east of Bolivia, so it’s available in small quantities because of that.
- The metaphysical properties attributed to Ametrine are serenity, relief of tension, creativity stimulation, mental stability, and self-confidence. Ametrine is also known as Bolivianite and is the national gemstone of Bolivia.
- This is a variety of quartz that is translucent and has flake shaped inclusions that most of the time are made of chromium rich mica known as fuchsite. These inclusions give the stone a distinct green color. Aventurine, though, also occurs in other colors like orange, yellow, red, pink, white, and blue, depending on the material that makes up the inclusions. The glittering effect provided by these inclusions is known as aventurescence.
- To those who believe in its metaphysical attributes, Aventurine is good for the heart.
- Prasiolite is the product of amethyst that has been heated to about 500 degrees Celsius, either in nature, or in a lab, as it’s done in most cases. Irradiation can also produce a light green color but it’s often unstable because the color has a tendency to fade if the stone reaches a temperature of over 150 degrees Celsius. Prasiolite is often called Green Amethyst, but that has now been determined to be incorrect by the Federal Trade Commission in their July 2018 edition of the Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries where they state that the name Green Amethyst can be misleading, unfair, and deceptive. Not all amethyst can be converted to prasiolite, however, and the known localities where amethyst fit for conversion are in Brazil, United States, and Poland.
- Of note, is the fact that prasiolite requires special care to maintain its color. It should be protected from heat by storing it away from sources of excessive heat. It should not be kept in car that is bound to receive a lot of sun on a hot day. A seller should explain the special care requirements for the stone when the transaction is made.
- Rose Quartz
- Pink specimens of quartz are known as Rose Quartz. Rose quartz is found in large quantities in many locations throughout the world. It contains microscopic inclusions of a pink variety of dumortierite; these inclusions are usually enough to make the stone translucent rather than transparent. Sometimes quartz occurs in transparent pink and some people think that this is caused by irradiation, although the color is often unstable and tends to fade with exposure to heat or light. The use given rose quartz is mostly in craft jewelry rather than in commercial or designer jewelry because the color does not lend itself to attractive contrasts with metal settings of with skin tones of many potential wearers.
- Because rose quartz is associated with the heart, some people consider it the stone of unconditional love. All types of love are included here: love of self, love of family and friends, and of course, romantic love, which includes the healing of a broken heart.
- Smoky Quartz
- Smoky quartz is a crystalline variety of quartz that ranges in color from light yellowish brown to dark brown so dark, that it is almost black. Because it is transparent, the stone is often faceted unlike rose quartz. In fact, given that the stone is widely found and easily obtained, it is often used as a practice material by those learning to facet. Smoky quartz is used frequently to make rings, necklaces, pendants when the color is light. The darker brown colors are sometimes used in mourning jewelry
- Smoky quartz is thought to be a powerful cleanser and detoxifier. The stone amplifies the intensity of stones surrounding it, and creates a synergy that helps to heal emotional wounds. In the mind of some, it works to release negative emotions like fear, anger and jealousy.
So what’s the conclusion…?
With the large amounts of quartz available throughout the world, one would think that gems made out of the material are more prevalent. In fact, jewelry is but a fraction of the many uses given this wonderful substance. When you think of the many items that are made out of quartz, it’s a wonder that there’s enough leftover to make jewelry, but there is. And it’s a good thing too, when you consider the beautiful end result.
As can be seen in the description of the six variations presented, quartz also has, in the mind of many believers, healing properties that are used and recommended by complementary therapists and energy healers to channel the flow of energy throughout the body, thus making the use of energy fields more efficient.
Please feel free to send me your comments through the box below, and let me know if you find this material compelling or if you have suggestions for an article on a specific topic that relates to high quality fashion jewelry.