Q is for Quartz
I had to chuckle while researching quartz for today’s post. This line taken from gemologyonline.com is a perfect way to explain the claims and assertions any of us can find online:
“In modern times quartz has been credited with the ability to do everything.”
That just about sums it up! Seriously, though, quartz is one of the most common minerals found on earth, but don’t let that fool you. It is also the mineral group that contains some very valuable gemstones, too, like citrine, amethyst, and emerald. Many people are also fond of rose quartz, a lovely pink gemstone. I often get requests to wire wrap rose quartz.
When I first started making beaded jewelry, I bought a strand of rather large quartz beads. The first necklace I made (center in the photo below) always made me think of Wilma Flintstone’s chunky necklace. Everyone loved it though. I even had a commission to make a number of them for a wedding, but unfortunately could never find the large beads again.
Quartz has many industrial uses. It is used to make glass, watches, kitchen countertops, paint, sharpening tools, electronics, ceramics, and even in fracing in the petroleum industry. (This is a good time to talk about buying and selling property. Some people sell off the mineral rights to their property. This means if you buy the land, you may not own what lies beneath the soil. The world gets more and more complicated.)
Recently the Smithsonian was gifted an 8,000 pound 7 ft high slab of quartz crystals mined in Arkansas in 2016. Appraised at approximately $3.5 million dollars in 2018, it is an exquisite specimen. If you are a geeky nerd like me, you might enjoy this video about the Berns Quartz (named after the donors) and how it came to be gifted to the museum.
Quartz dust can cause silicosis for which there is no cure. It is therefore rated high on the toxicity scale. The mineral has a rating of 7 on the Mohs scale, so it is a strong material. Crystals should be stored separately, though, to prevent the tips from breaking off if contact is made with other crystals.