Quartz: One Crystal to Rule them All

Chemical Formula: Silicon dioxide, or SiO2

Common Impurities: Multiple

Crystal System: Hexagonal; usually prismatic crystals striated crosswise and frequently terminated by double rhombohedrons; granular, disseminated, massive.

Similar Species: White and colorless beryl is harder than quartz; feldspar is softer than quartz

Mohs Hardness: 7

Chakra: Crown

Candle Colors: White or natural beeswax

Associated Fragrances: Chamomile, orange, rosemary

Zodiac: Aries, Leo

Name origin: German (earliest printed version of quartz); the rock itself dates back to ancient Greece. It was thought that quartz was permanently solidified ice.

Locales: Commonly occurs worldwide.

(Crystal Structure of quartz, from www.mindat.org, https://www.mindat.org/min-3337.html )

Scientific Information

The are multiple polymorphs of silica, the most well known and most stable being quartz, Quartz is one of the most commonly occurring minerals and crystalizes in the hexagonal system; it is a member of the trigonal trapezohedral class. Twinning is almost universal though not always observed. Quartz is piezoelectric, that is that it exhibits an electrical charge when exposed to pressure. it is also pyroelectric, meaning that it exhibits an electrical charge when exposed to extreme temperature.

The structure of quartz is of hexagonal prisms, terminated by rhombohedra, or pyramidal shapes. This is what gives the "point" at the end of the quartz crystal, or more uncommonly the "double termination" (when the crystal has a point at either end of the stone). Quartz primarily occurs in igneous (having solidified by magma), metamorphic (change of minerals or geologic texture in pre-existing rocks), and sedimentary (from pre-existing rocks or pieces of once living organisms).

There are multiple varieties of quartz including, but not limited to: amethyst, citrine, rock crystal (clear quartz), smokey, rose, chalcedony, carnelian, moss agate, agate, chrysoprase, bloodstone, and jasper. Quartz can be found with inclusions such as rutile (titanium dioxide) and tourmaline. Opal is the hydrated form of quartz, with a nH20 included in the formula. Within the rock crystal designation, there are many sub-categories like lemurian, metamorphosis quartz, candle or milky quartz, healer quartz, master quartz, etc. Usually these designations refer to a shape, locale, or color of the quartz, but chemically they are still the same (unless there are specific inclusions, then those inclusions have their own chemical formula).

We will discuss other varieties of quartz in subsequent entries.

Silica is one of the most abundant minerals, comprising 27.7% of the Earth's crust. It is the second most commonly occurring element, behind oxygen. Aa mentioned above, there are many varieties of quartz, usually formed due to irradiation (as with smokey quartz) or the application of heat (as with citrine). Various impurities give quartz either the distinctive color like in amethyst or inclusions like in rutile or chloride included quartz.

Believe it or not, glass windows are a form of silicon dioxide! The difference between glass and rock crystal (quartz) is that glass has a random molecular structure, while quartz exhibits a symmetrical crystal structure. Other differences are that glass is an insulator, while quartz is a conductor; glass is more brittle and is affected by lower temperatures and pressures than quartz.

There are some defining features of glass that can give you a clue that its not quartz. One example is the presence of perfectly rounded bubbles. Glass is softer than quartz, and would be more affected by scratching than quartz when using the same material to scratch the surface. Glass has a Mohs hardness of about 5.5, whereas quartz has a hardness of around 7. Therefore, quartz should easily scratch glass, while it would take a bit of effort for glass to scratch quartz. (Quartz Scientific, Inc., How to Tell Glass from Quartz, https://www.qsiquartz.com/how-to-tell-glass-from-quartz/ )

To clean quartz:

Quartz may be cleaned with hydrochloric or other acids but hydrofluoric acid should be avoided along with extreme temperatures, specifically rapid cooling which may cause the quartz to crack. As with all acids, always add acid to water and use proper safety equipment including safety goggles, face masks, long sleeves and pants; always perform cleaning in a well ventilated area, preferably with supervision.

***Keeping quartz the crystal in your home will not render you exposed to anything toxic!But as with any crystal or mineral, due to the treatment and application of chemicals to clean the crystal and due to potential known or unknown impurities from formation or the ambient environment, it is not advisable to ingest. You wouldn't go outside and eat straight dirt form an unknown source, would you?***

Metaphysical Information

Quartz is often referred to as the "master crystal" because it is believed to be able to amplify metaphysical properties of other stones. In Ancient Greece, it was believed that quartz was ice captured in time from the Alps.

Quartz is thought to help with new beginnings, transmitting prayers, and encompassing the sea with a natural light. It is said to energize the body and help with physical and mental exhaustion. It can transform criticism and help change negativity into positivity. As stone of new beginnings, fresh energy, and the encouragement to move quickly.

When working with quartz, you don't have to have large clusters or master healers in order to enjoy the metaphysical properties of quartz; even the smallest piece of quartz Is just as potent. All clear quartz helps encase the user in white light, bringing clarity and positive energy to the session. It is considered an "all-purpose" crystal as it can be used in all occasions.

Quartz absorbs energy from nature and draws down white light and continues to emit these energies around it. You may cleanse this stone with moonlight, sunlight, Palo Santo, or another method of your choosing. It is important to cleans your crystal regularly, especially after sessions where personal cleansing of negative energies was performed.

Clear quartz is a relatively cost effective stone to use in crystal grids and to have multiple pieces to keep on your person, in your car, or placed in the four corners of your home with black tourmaline to assist with protection.

For further reading:

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks and Minerals by Charles W. Chesterman

The Complete Crystal Handbook by Cassandra Eason

The Georgia Mineral Society, Inc. www.gamineral.org

Hudson Institute of Minerology, www.mindat.org

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