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Quartz

Quartz Gemstone Information - History, and Introduction

Quartz is one of the essential minerals on earth and makes up one of the most popular gemstone groups in the world of colored stones. It is the second most abundant mineral found in Earth's continental crust, second only to the feldspars. The name 'quartz' is thought to come from the German word 'quarz,' which likely originated from the Slavic and Polish words meaning 'hard.' The name is descriptive regarding quartz being the definitive mineral that measures 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Other gemstones are often compared to quartz when it comes to classifying them as being hard, soft or durable.

Quartz gemstones are beautiful, durable and hard. Also in most cases, quartz is relatively inexpensive and available in enormous sizes. Some quartz varieties can be scarce, while others are very readily available. Quartz is an extremely versatile material that can be cut and carved into many shapes and sizes. For centuries quartz has been used in the creation of jewelry and ornamental objects. Today, quartz is not only one of the essential gemstones in the colored stone trade, but it also has many important industrial usages.

Quartz Gemstone Color

The color of macrocrystalline quartz is as variable as the spectrum, but clear quartz is by far the most common color followed by white or cloudy quartz. Purple (amethyst), pink (rose quartz), gray or brown to black (smoky quartz) are also typical. Cryptocrystalline quartz varieties can be multicolored. In artificial light, quartz does not display a desirable quality. It looks best in daylight, particularly after sunrise and just before sunset. The deep colors are the most valuable.

Quartz Gemstone Clarity and Luster

High-quality quartz is transparent, which means that the light passes through the stone unhindered. In translucent quartz, the passage of light through the gemstone becomes weakened by the gem material. The best quality quartz is 'clean,' free from inclusions of any kind. Since quartz is plentiful, there is little reason to go for stones with visible inclusions, except those that define the character of the gemstone (e.g., cat's eye, hawk's eye or scenic stones). Luster is glassy to vitreous as crystals, while cryptocrystalline forms are usually waxy to dull, but can be vitreous. Crystals are transparent to translucent; cryptocrystalline forms are generally translucent or opaque.

Quartz Gemstone Cut and Shape

Due to the roughness of the color distribution in the crystals, quartz is often cut as brilliant rounds to maximize their color. Other cuts are ideal when the color is better distributed. Quartz is available in a wide range of calibrated sizes and shapes, including many fancy shapes.

Quartz Gemstone Treatment

Colorless quartz is always untreated. Colored stones can occasionally be enhanced by dyes (as in the case of agate), irradiation (bombardment with low-level radioactivity), or heating. Some gemstones may also be impregnated or coated with wax, clear resin and even foil for enhanced color, luster, and stability. Synthetic quartz is also abundant. Naturally colored quartz typically exhibits color zoning.

Quartz Gemstone and Jewelry Design Ideas

Quartz is the ideal jewelry gemstone. It is readily available and relatively affordable. Even large stones can be bought at great prices. Quartz is also one of the few colored stones that you'll find in almost every jewelry retail store. Amethyst and citrine are official birthstones and are often used in birthstone jewelry. Since most quartz is untreated, there are many astrological uses for different types of quartz gemstones (carnelian for example), so you can find many planetary jewelry designs featuring quartz. Quartz is also often used for the making of fine timepieces, including bezels and moving components.

Quartz is durable enough for wearing in everyday quartz gemstone rings, and it is also ideal for any other jewelry application available. Men or women can wear quartz gemstones as they can be found in just about any color imaginable. You can find quartz in any style of cut and shape, from cabochons to faceted stones, as well as tumbled and drilled beads. Quartz is also often carved into interesting ornamental designs, such as paperweights, animal carvings or as seals, intaglios and insignias.

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