By Chelsea Reed
Okay, we’re going to say it: Quartz is a rockstar. Why? It’s the gem than can do just about anything! Also known as rock crystal, quartz is the second most abundant mineral in the earth’s crust behind feldspar. It’s made of silicone and oxygen atoms. Quartz has a huge gem family! There are many kinds of quartz - chalcedony, agate, chrysoberyl, rose quartz, amethyst, citrine, smoky quartz, and more. Each kind is unique and beautiful in its own way, just like people. Let’s explore the story behind this fascinating gem family. Rock on!
Societies have used quartz in various ways for thousands of years. Its first evidence of use was in Assyria around 800-600 B.C. The Egyptians and Greeks carved many types of jewelry, medallions, containers, and figurines from quartz. Quartz stones signified as legal seals of ownership by the Romans. Sand, which partly consists of tiny quartz particles, was melted into glass by the Romans, too. This practice was perfected by the Middle Ages with stained glass windows. Medieval quartz was even ground into powder for medicinal potions!
People continued to marvel at quartz’s natural beauty well into the Industrial Revolution. Rock crystal vases, pitchers, and decorative objects were a common sight in Antebellum homes throughout Europe and the United States. Today, quartz is commonly used for countertops, jewelry, novelty gifts, electronics, and industrial tools.
In nature, quartz forms inside hidden rock cavities as crystal. It is found in all three kinds of rock: igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary. Raw quartz can be translucent or transparent in appearance. The latter is considered more valuable, but both forms are beautiful. Quartz jewelry is sturdy in diverse weather conditions and is easy to care for. Simply wash with mild soap and water if it gets dirty. While quartz is a fairly hard gemstone, it is softer than topaz on the hardness scale. It’s best to keep them separate in storage. Well cared for quartz will last for many years and is an ideal durable stone for everyday use.
From geodes to bookends to pendants, Michael’s Gems and Glass has plenty of beautiful quartz specimens to discover. Amethyst… agate… quartz crystal… so many possibilities! You can scope them out on our website now, or see for yourself in our store. Find what you want, and you just might feel like a rockstar!
Chelsea Reed is a copywriter who writes online content, articles, blogs, and websites from her base in North Carolina.