Saturday, 30 July 2011

Clear quartz ~ and chlorite

Quartz is a big part of the mineral extended family which includes the chalcedony family of agates, carnelian, and onyx; it also includes jaspers.  

I've already written about many of these, as well as amethyst, citrine and ametrine.  

In this next group of entries I'm going to write about  the gems which have quartz as part of their common names: after clear quartz there are smoky quartz, rutilated quartz, milky quartz and rose quartz.  I'll weave in information about chlorite and apophalite for the purpose of distinguishing them from these.

With any type of quartz it's helpful to distinguish which forms are natural and which are machined to their finished shape.

This piece is described as double terminated as it has points at both ends.  It's been formed this way by nature.  It's unusual in this respect.

The piece below is also double terminated but it's been machine cut.  It's very lovely in a different way:

Turned a little it catches the light wonderfully:

Both pieces are about the same length, about four inches long. 

This piece is much larger and very striking.  It's naturally formed:

The specimen below is machine finished.  Note the green moss-like inclusion, which is chlorite.  In rock-collecting terms this makes it a much more unusual and valuable piece of quartz than if the inclusion was absent, which you'll find is reflected in the price if you're shopping for such things yourself!  It is quite a handsome size.

This is a tiny one, not much bigger than your thumb nail:

The naturally formed pieces and the machine-finished ones both have charm.  In the smoother finish of machine-cut and polished specimens the irregularities and patterning within them, of what look like cracks, foaming interiors and odd surfaces which catch the light in rainbow patterns, all make these fascinating pieces to hold or to just enjoy looking at.  The ones formed by nature always intrigue me into wondering about their individual histories, what caused them to grow that particular way.  In both cases every single one is different.

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