Quartz. The name comes from the Slavic word for hard. It is also the name of a group of minerals of pretty much the same chemical composition - silicon dioxide or SiO2 - and similar physical properties. Today, I’m all about the macrocrystalline quartz, the Rose Quartz.
Rose quartz is that lovely pale pink stone that inspires love and Valentines and all things pretty and pink. It is romantic and lovely and feminine. It looks amazing set in silver and in gold. Jewellers love it, clients love it. As a professional jeweller, amateur rockhound, all-round gem-enthusiast myself, I can report that the stone often shows crackling and turbidity within its structure. This, by no means, makes it unattractive to the quartz enthusiast. Quite the opposite, it is these imperfections that make each cut stone unique and fabulous. The pink tone comes from the titanium content, however, colour can fade, so store it carefully.
The star effect we sometimes see in Rose Quartz is caused by microscopic rutile needles within the crystal. When cut en cabochon, the star appears. usually, only the larger, clear stones are facetted. Crystal enthusiasts love to use beautiful Rose Quartz has been used in love rituals and ceremonies for centuries, and of course, this is the stone of the hopeless romantic. The crystal structure is trigonal and Rose Quartz can be found in quite large specimens. Lucky for us, there is no shortage of Rose Quartz, which can be found in abundance in mines throughout the world, most often Brazil, Madagascar, Mozambique, India, Namibia, Sri Lanka and the United States.
Strawberry Quartz is another member of the silicon dioxide family of minerals. It is the marketing name forgone variety of included quartz. By included, I mean, the needle-like inclusions of other mineral material. Strawberry Quartz gets its colour from inclusions of various forms of iron oxide. There are four different, but chemically related, iron oxides that may be found in quartz and look like what marketer’s call, well, Strawberry Quartz. They include lepidocrocite (FeO(OH)), goethite (also FeO(OH) but with a different crystal structure), limonite (FeO(OH)*nH2O) and hematite (Fe2O3).
Some material sold as strawberry quartz is synthetic rather than natural; most of it is simply glass, so buyer beware. They are commonly fashioned into jewellery components such as beads or pendants and may also carved into into decorative objects. But don't confuse these synthetic products for genuine quartz with natural iron oxide inclusions. My tip: always buy from reputable sources.