Monday, June 7, 2010

Tourmalinated Quartz

Gemstone:
Tourmalinated Quartz

Birthstone Month:
Tourmalinated Quartz is not associated with any particular birthstone month.

Zodiac:
Tourmalinated Quartz is not associated with any particular zodiac sign.

Chemical Symbol:
SiO2

Chemical Make-up:
Tourmalinated Quartz is a Silicon Dioxide and a macrocrystalline variety of Quartz that contains black or dark green Tourmaline needles.

History & Lore:
There is not 100% agreement regarding the exact origins of the name Quartz, but the two most widely accepted opinions are that the word Quartz is derived from the Greek 'krystallos', meaning “ice”, or the German 'quarz'.

Some of the earliest primitive tools fashioned by man some 2.5 million years ago, and discovered in the Omo valley in Ethiopia were made of Quartz. It is believed that Quartz was used because of its hardness and isotropic brittleness that made the fashioning of the tools relatively easy.

Chipped flint projectile points used for fire-making have been found on Mousterian sites in western Europe that date back around 40,000 years.

In addition to its use in tool-making, certain varieties of Quartz were used for divination. Spherical Quartz rock crystals were often shaped into crystal balls and used for disease diagnosis and awareness of events occurring in distant places.

More recently there was major production of synthetic Quartz during World War II. This synthetic Quartz was used to supply crystals for radios.

Today, Quartz is not only used for gemstone purposes, but also as a raw chemical ingredient in the manufacturing of abrasives, cements, concrete, porcelain, glass, and many other industrial materials.

Because of its piezoelectric and pyroelectric properties, Quartz is commonly used in the production of watches, clocks, computers, and radios.

Tourmalinated Quartz is believed to be a strong energy deflector that will protect the wearer from negative emotions and thoughts. In addition to this, it is thought to be a grounding stone and can aid in balancing the body and mind.

Availability:
Tourmalinated Quartz is readily available at affordable prices.

Sources:
Though Tourmalinated Quartz can be found in most of the major gem producing nations, today the vast majority is mined in Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Evaluation:
Tourmalinated Quartz is rated at 7 on the Moh's Scale of Hardness. This variety of clear Quartz contains Tourmaline impurities within the stone. Whilst Most transparent varieties of Quartz are valued most when they contain no inclusions, Tourmalinated Quartz is sought-after because of it's Black or dark green Tourmaline needle inclusions. Tourmalinated Quartz is formed because at high temperatures and pressure, the Quartz and Tourmaline minerals are in a liquid state and therefore able to mix. As these temperatures cool and the pressure drops, the two minerals separate once more, with the Tourmaline needles being trapped inside the Quartz and creating Tourmalinated Quartz.

There are several closely related Quartz varieties that go through a similar formation process, with the needles of Tourmaline being replaced with different impurities. These include Rutilated Quartz, Grass/Actinolite Quartz, and Dendritic Quartz.

Common Cuts:
Though Tourmalinated Quartz can be cut into most of the common gemstone cuts/shapes, it is most often cut into cabochons as this cut best displays the Tourmaline needles. It is also occasionally used for carvings / sculptures.

Routine Enhancements:
There are no known enhancements for Tourmalinated Quartz.

Care & Cleaning:
Tourmalinated Quartz is generally best cleaned using warm soapy water and a soft brush. As with most gemstones, Tourmalinated Quartz should be kept away from household chemicals and from prolonged exposure to extremes of heat as this can cause damage or permanent changes in coloration. Tourmalinated Quartz jewelry should be kept in a fabric-lined box away from other jewelry items in order to avoid scratching.

3 comments:

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