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Quartz is an oxide mineral that has a wide variety of uses. This glassy mineral has a hardness of seven on the Mohs scale. Quartz remains transparent to opaque and has a white streak when scratched. Silicon and oxygen atoms make up the stone’s basic structure. It remains one of the most abundant minerals found on earth, and a favorite semi-precious gemstone.
In ancient times, clear quartz crystals were believed to be fossilized ice. The word “quartz” comes from a German word that means hard. The ideal shape of a quartz crystal is six-sided, with a six-sided pyramid shape on either end of the stone. Quartz geodes occur in the hollow areas in the center of a geode and give the inside of the rock a sparkle much better than glitter.
Types of Quartz
A wide variety of types of quartz exist. Let’s take a look at the many varieties of quartz used in jewelry.
Rock quartz, or pure quartz, appears clear and colorless. It may also look transparent. Rock quartz has been used for jewelry and hardstone carvings like the Lothair Crystal.
If quartz looks lavender or purple, it’s amethyst. Amethysts can range in color from a delicate shade of lavender to vivid violet — iron in the soil where the crystal was formed causes the purple color of the amethyst. The highest quality of this popular gemstone gets mined in Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico, Morocco, Russia, Namibia, and France. The ametrine’s unique look comes from a combination of citrine and amethyst and contains both gold and purple hue of quartz.
Dumortierite or Blue Quartz
Blue quartz has areas of blue, purple, and grey splotches within the stone. Blue quartz remains found in the US and India.
The citrine’s lovely variety of yellow colors can range from pale yellow to golden brown. The color comes from ferric impurities in the stone. Many of the commercially available citrines are heat-treated amethysts or smoky quartz. Natural citrines appear cloudy or smoky, while heat-treated stones have small lines going through them. Citrine remains the November birthstone. Brazil remains the top producer of the citrine. Some people believe that wearing or having citrine around brings them an increase in money or prosperity. This lovely stone has been used in jewelry since 300 BC in Greece.
One beautiful form of quartz for jewelry and specimens remains the rose quartz. It comes in a light pink to rosy pink color. The color of rose quartz comes from tiny amounts of titanium, manganese, phosphates, aluminum, or iron. Significant amounts of rose quartz can be found in Maine in the US and Minas Gerais in Brazil.
One trendy type of quartz on the market for jewelry now is smoky quartz. Smoky quartz appears dark and cloudy in transparency. The color ranges from a medium to a deep brown. Some smoky quartz looks nearly black. Silicon within the crystal causes the color of this striking stone. Smoky quartz gets mined in Colorado in the US, Brazil, Madagascar, Australia, Switzerland, and Scotland. Scotland has adopted the gemstone as its national stone.
Aventurine is primarily mined in India and Brazil as well as in other parts of the world. It comes in such colors as:
Aventurine gets used as beads and cabochons in many types of jewelry. Carvers also use the stone for small sculptures and bowls.
Carnelian has a red-brown color and is a red form of chalcedony. The color of the carnelian stone gets caused by iron impurities. Carnelian has been carved and used in jewelry. Germany, Brazil, India, and Siberia remain the primary areas where the carnelian is found. The stone became used in ancient times for beads and cabochons. Carnelians often get heat-treated to enhance their color.
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