I’ve recently been doing some research on quartz gems particularly and a little bit on mining history and some other little facts about current events in mining. I’ve found out some pretty interesting information as a result, and I’ve developed a new respect for quartz.
I really like the look of these perfectly polished refined quartz earrings. I might not be as much of a jewelry aficionado as my mother but I couldn’t tell these apart from a high quality diamond. © Naomi King.
While quartz is a great deal more common to be found throughout the Earth than a diamond but also less hard, however to be fair, diamonds are the hardest mineral on the planet so that’s nothing for quartz to be ashamed about! So I went about trying to see what ways that the density or hardness I found myself discovering a measurement system for the Moh’s scale of mineral hardness. Now according to this scale, quartz is relatively hard, ranked seven out of ten (diamond of course being the hardest) and has been said to fracture and shatter in similar patterns as glass would. I wouldn’t want any piece of jewelry that would break as easily as glass, but something that’s hard enough to withstand a serious fall and still look as beautiful as a diamond is definitely worth considering for adding to any jewelry collection.
This photo is nearly a century old and you can see that a lot has changed since then. I don’t think our world’s miners have quite so cumbersome uniforms, but we probably still make good use of donkeys or other beasts of burden. © Rick Cooper.
It’s pretty intense to imagine how far we’ve come in the past century when it comes to a lot of things in the world. Technology, travel, communication, entertainment, and science have all advanced exponentially, and the world of mining is no exception. However, while safety has been highly bolstered in the past hundred years, we still see serious situations with trapped miners on the news, so the job has never been without danger. Couple this with the natural occurrence of the degenerative respiratory disease called “Black Lung Disease” (typically found in coal miners who have worked in mines for several years) you can see that this career path is definitely not for the faint of heart or weak of spine.
It’s interesting that refined quartz can be sized and shaped and colored in such a variety as this. It reminds me of gems that come from corundum (rubies, emeralds, sapphires, etc.) with such diversity, but with a great deal less expense. © Carl Malamud.
With a little research I’ve found out a little more about these color variations and how they come about naturally. If formed in clear water, quartz is usually called mountain crystal or rock crystal. With other “impurities” added to the development of the quartz, it will cultivate different variations of color. Citrine (one of two names I did remember from this list) is used for yellow and orange quartz, amethyst (the only other I recognized!) is used to refer to purple quartz, while rose-quartz is for pink, milky quartz is for white and black is for smoky quartz. I’m sure that you could probably find out plenty of interesting information with your own research, but hopefully this article will give you a good idea for your next jewelry purchase.