Monday, 25 July 2011

Rutilated quartz ~ and actinolite

Rutile is a mineral composed primarily of titanium dioxide, which can contain small amounts of iron.  It can occur in crystals by itself, but I've only ever come across it as needle-like inclusions in quartz.  The charming pendant shown below illustrates its common appearance and habit as well any piece I've ever come across. I've shown it enlarged so that you can enjoy the detail:


This large piece of smoky quartz also shows it off well.  I've never seen another to match it!


It is more usually seen in more modest proportions where the rutile may look more like threads than needles:


Look carefully into this little polished pebble and you will see some rutile hairs - rather hard to see against the weave of the cloth, but there never the less:


Actinolite, which is characterised by green inclusions of jade, can be confused with rutilated quartz, even by jewellers, so when you're buying it's good to know a bit about it yourself.  Actinolite is seldom seen in shops which may be the reason.  I once had an argument with the proprietor of a gem shop, whose actinolite was ticketed a rutilated quartz, the tag stating that this gem stimulates the mind.  That's all fine for those who insist on it, but dear me, actinolite is said to have quite the opposite effect which is to soothe - sorry folks - wrong vibe!  

In this piece of actinolite the jade inclusions look like grass-clippings in milk:


...As they do here in beads:


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