Quartz is one of the most common minerals found on Earth, forming at all temperatures and coming in many different colors, shapes and sizes.
Quartz has been a popular crystal since ancient times due to its stunning shapes and colors (or lack of color), and for this reason, quartz crystal jewelry was, and still is, very popular. The earliest record of quartz being mentioned is in ancient Greece, where it was named ‘krystallos’ - which is where we get the word ‘crystal’ today. The word ‘querz’ comes from Germany in 1505, which eventually transformed into the word ‘quartz’.
What is quartz made of?
Quartz’s chemical composition is composed of one part silicon to two parts oxygen, and forms in hexagonal structures. The crystals of pure quartz stones are transparent, and typically grow into points or in massive chunks where no points are shown.
What are the different types of quartz?
Quartz has many different varieties that can change the color and form of the crystal. These varieties come from different chemical components, such as iron, sodium and titanium that can integrate into the structure of the crystal as it is being formed. Quartz varieties include:
A common variety of quartz that can range in color from a light brown to a nearly black color. The color comes from aluminum impurities in the crystal, which are activated to produce color due to radiation in the rock that it forms in. Smokey quartz forms in veins in igneous and metamorphic rocks, and are found all over the world, but most commonly in North America, Europe, South Africa and Australia. They are commonly used for jewelry due to their intriguing dark color.
This type of quartz is popular because of its pink color. It gets its color from the inclusion of dumortierite in the quartz. Rose quartz usually forms in large hydrothermal veins, underground circulations of water heated up by magma. It can be found all over the world, but is most commonly mined in Madagascar, South Africa, North America and Brazil. The color of the crystals themselves are usually quite opaque, and can range from a very light shade to a rich color.
A very popular variety of quartz because of its unique purple color, which can range from a very translucent light shade to a nearly opaque deep purple. It gets its color from iron impurities, activated by radiation similarly to smokey quartz. It usually forms in geodes and cavities in igneous rocks. It is most commonly found in Brazil and Uruguay. Amethysts are commonly made into jewelry because of their beautiful color. An interesting property of amethyst is that it changes color when exposed to heat, and the resulting minerals are given their own names. If amethyst is exposed to heat at around 300 degrees Celsius, it becomes a yellow or brownish-yellow color, which is called citrine. If amethyst is exposed to heat at around 500 degrees Celsius, it turns into a green mineral called prasiolite.
This type of quartz is the most common of the different varieties. It has a translucent or nearly opaque white color because liquids or gases were trapped in the crystal while it formed. It is most commonly found in the United States, Europe, China, and Australia.
Chalcedony is a type of quartz that is composed of very tiny crystals that come in many different colors. Many chalcedony stones have bands of different colors that make for a very attractive stone. It can be found in the United States, Europe, India, Australia, and South America. There are a few types of Chalcedony that are distinct for their slight differences. This includes jasper, chert, chrysoprase, onyx, pietersite, agate, and carnelian. These stones are commonly made into jewelry due to their interesting patterns and colors.
This type of quartz forms many brownish red and golden bands. It creates a very attractive chatoyancy or ‘cat’s-eye’ effect when polished, making for great jewelry. It forms as metamorphic rock, rock that began as another type of rock and changed from being exposed to heat and pressure. It is mined in South Africa and Australia.
Aventurine is a translucent variety of quartz with tiny flakes of other minerals in it, usually fuchsite. There are many color varieties for aventurine, including green, yellow, and red. With the translucent nature of the stone, along with the flakes reflecting light, this stone is quite popular. It is found in India, Chile, Spain, and Russia.
This variety of quartz is unique for its needle-shaped inclusions of rutile which can give the stone a reddish, golden, silvery, or green color. Although it can be found around the world, it usually comes from Brazil or Madagascar.
What are the properties of quartz?
Quartz is known for its cleansing properties, as well as aiding in concentration, anxiety, and healing. In meditation, quartz is used for clearing the mind and helping with focus. Clear quartz is associated with all zodiac signs, and is associated with the month of April, while amethyst is associated with the month of February, chrysoprase is associated with May, carnelian is associated with July, and citrine is associated with November.