Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Many Faces of Quartz

Quartz is the second most abundant mineral in the earth's crust. Pure quartz is colorless, but also occurs in many different colors, from clear to opaque A few examples of the many different kinds:
  • Purple quartz is called amethyst
  • Yellow quartz is called citrine
  • Black quartz is called onyx
  • Brown quartz is called smokey quartz
  • Agate
  • Tiger's Eye
  • Rose quartz
As quartz often occurs as crystals in nature, the ancients held it in high regard. The well-known crystal ball of the fortune teller of old was made from clear quartz. Ancient Romans thought the clear crystals were pieces of fossilized ice. The word crystal comes form the Greek word for ice.

No doubt because of its abundance and crystalline structure, quartz was known as having special properties in many cultures. Ancient Japanese thought that quartz was formed by the breath of a white dragon, and was a symbol of perfection. Indian culture believed quartz could detect food that had spoiled. Quartz played many roles in the rituals of Native Americans. It adorned the temples of the ancient Chinese. In the Middle Ages Christian relics were made from many different members of the quartz family, and like the ancient Greeks, they thought it was fossilized ice.

Rose quartz specifically has long been thought of as a love enhancer, and been highly prized for its mystical attributes. A stone that supposedly will give you improved self worth, and bring comfort to the broken hearted. It was even thought to help prevent wrinkles.

Quartz has also played a role in many scientific and technological advances. Crystals of quartz were used in the first radio transmitters and receivers. It has certain properties when an electrical current is passed through it and it is used in different kinds of meters and gauges. And quartz crystals played a major role in the development of the computer.

Most of the members of the quartz family are used to make jewelry of many types, and are in enough abundance that very nice, inexpensive jewelry is available. As well as higher priced items. No matter the color or type preferred, there is quartz jewelry to fit every taste and budget.

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