Crystal Quartz Facts and Buying Guide
by Sheweta Dhanuka
In ancient times, it was used for making tools and weapons. And also since many years it is used as ornamental stones and gemstones. All the varieties of this stone are used for creating fascinating carved pieces ideal for decorative purpose. Sculptors of humans and animals made on single stone are treasured a lot by the filthy rich group of people of the society.
Crystal Quartz, the name is derived from two different words. Word crystal is derived from the Greek word krystallos, meaning ‘ice’ while quartz is derived from the Saxon word querklufterz which means “cross vein ore.” In Greek mythology it was belief that crystal quartz is formed from ice thus, named accordingly. It is the symbolic gemstone for the 15th year of the marriage.
It is found in many varieties. While making the purchase, buyer needs to be aware of the general information about the quartz and its different forms. This article proffers the necessary details about the quartz on the broader aspect. It also gives the facts that would act as a buying guide, assisting the buyer in making the genuine purchase of the gemstone. All the common characteristics like 4 Cs, occurrence, precautions, uses etc have been discussed catering to the needs of the buyer.
It is divided into two broad categories viz. Macro crystalline and Cryptocrystalline. Macro crystalline are the larger crystals easily visible by the naked eyes. Few names of this variety are Amethyst, Citrine, Rock crystal, Smoky quartz, Rose quartz. Cryptocrystalline crystals are quite tiny in nature and could be seen through the microscope. Chalcedony, agate, onyx, Sardonyx, jasper and bloodstone are few to mention of this variety. Both these forms are widely used as ornamental stones and gemstones.
It occurs in diverse colours but the prime colour remains clear stone without any colour. The colorless quartz is known as rock crystal. Different varieties of quartz come to being in different colours like cryptocrystalline crystals are multicolored. Few other colored varieties are amethyst is purple, rose quartz is pink, milky quartz is white /cloudy gray and smoky quartz is brown/black/gray.
Crystal quartz is cut into many diverse shapes and styles, as it is a hard and tough stone. Cutters give new creative cut to the stones depending upon the design of the jewelry pieces. Some of the common shapes are round, oval, marquise, square, princess cut, pear and many more. Beads are also made from the rough into different shapes like round, oval and baroque.
It is transparent in nature and possess vitreous luster. It contains inclusions of carbon dioxide and water. Flaws are also the result of the presence of other mineral in traces in the chemical composition of the stone. Thus, without flaws or inclusions, to find an absolutely clear crystal is next to impossible. However, while the initial gemstone processing the necessary measures are taken to minimize the inclusions but the complete elimination of the flaws is not viable. The inclusions are found in geometrical patterns or layered in the natural state.
The macro crystalline variety of quartz occur in large sizes as rough while cryptocrystalline is found in small sizes. After initial gemstone processing and polishing various stones are created of different carat weight. For the jewelry items the most sought carat weight is between 3- 6 ctw. Beads are created in the sizes of 2mm to 8mm. When used as the ornamental stone, the preferred weight is 12-14 ctw.
Wide occurrence makes the price of the gemstone quite affordable for the pockets of the common man. Broadly, the price is determined on the basis of carat weight and clarity.
Clarity and price is directly proportional to each other that is higher the clarity (minimum inclusions and flaws) higher shall be the price and vice versa. Similar proportionality concept exists between the price and carat weight. With the increase in carat weight the price of the stone also increases. The carved pieces made on one single stone are valued most in terms of money.
This alluring beauty is formed deep inside the earth crust when crystallization occurs of two abundant elements viz. silicon and oxygen. It forms total of 12% of the earth crust. Wide variety of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks holds this crystal. These macroscopic crystals universally occur as horizontal hexagonal prisms concluded by a combination of positive and negative rhombohedrons forming six sided pyramids. It is mined naturally.
It is the only mineral found in large quantity around the different locations in the world. Brazil, United States of America, Russia and few African countries yield all the varieties of this crystal. Other notable occurrences are – Amethyst is also procured from Mexico, Uruguay and Canada. Smoky quartz is obtained from Swiss Alps and Scotland. Superior quality of Agate is also produced at Lake Superior region, Montana, Mexico and Germany. Colorless quartz or rock crystal quartz is retrieved from United Kingdoms, Switzerland and Madagascar.
Enhancement and Imitations
Quartz varieties are not enhanced. However, only few gemstones undergo heat treatments to improve the colour. In spite of being found in abundance, it is also produced synthetically in many parts of the world. Silica, a glassy non-crystalline form of crystal is sold as its imitation. The synthetic quartz is also sold under different trade names to mislead the innocent buyers.
In ancient times, it was used for making tools and weapons. And also since many years it is used as ornamental stones and gemstones. All the varieties of this stone are used for creating fascinating carved pieces ideal for decorative purpose. Sculptors of humans and animals made on single stone are treasured a lot by the filthy rich group of people of the society. Some people even like to utilize the originally found rough as a decorative piece in its natural form. Finely cut designer shapes of this stone are used for making striking chandeliers and lampshades. Astonishing bowls and containers are also made out of this crystal that can be used as crockery/utensils and for decorations as well.
Its amazing beauty and affordability makes it very well liked as gemstone. The colorless quartz is commonly used as diamond imitation. Other varieties are widely used for making attractive jewelry items. The ornaments are made of 14K or 18K or 21 K yellow gold and sterling silver. White gold and platinum is used less as the high price of these metals is not well complemented with the monetary worth of the quartz gemstone. All the varieties of quartz are very well paired with other semi precious gemstones such as Peridot, opal, rhodonite etc.
Beads are also prevalently used for making captivating ornaments. These are available in all sizes and shapes. Many females for the casual wear favor beads strung in silver thread with the silver clasp in form of necklaces and bracelets. The ideal length for the necklace is 16-18 inches while for the bracelets it is 7-8 inches, which is further adjustable as per the choice of the wearer.
Apart from these usual uses, it is used as electrical components, radio oscillators, optical lenses, abrasives and building stones. Tiny quartz plates are used in clock and watches for controlling the radio frequency. The crystal quartz is used for healing and offering spiritual guidance. Fortunetellers use large colorless crystal ball for predicting the future. Pyramids and spheres are made which are used as metaphysical objects.
This simple stone rates 7 Mohs on the hardness scale and is considered a tough stone. Hence, it requires only general gemstone precautions and care. The jewelry made up of this stone is not suitable for the daily wear, as it would certainly result in the reduction of the lifespan of the stone. It is hard yet soft to be used for routine activities without giving much attention. It equally needs to be pampered a little bit like other precious and semi precious stones for the retention for the lifetime.
It is believed to offer enhanced mental clarity, emotional stability and positive thoughts to the wearer. It helps in improving the concentration. It also aids in curing the mental disorders like lung disorders, skin problems, circulatory system troubles and respiratory system disorders. It provides relief from pain and strengthens the immune system.
Crystal quartz is the mineral found in loads on the earth crust. It is within the reach of the simple man. For attaining this gemstone, buyers need not have a bulging pocket. And those who seize any inclination towards the precious and semi precious gemstones can surely acquire any of the quartz varieties and satisfy their long prolonging desire to own one of the stones. The possession of the gemstone would offer the owner the true bliss and ecstasy. So just give it a try as it is worth trying!!