Quartz is one of the most abundant minerals on Earth. This hard crystal makes up twelve percent of the Earth’s crust. It is valued not only for its beauty—especially when it is shaped and polished by a jeweler who has trained on its particular qualities—but for its industrial and consumer applications. Quarts is used from anything from making buildings to bracelets, and is also used for scientific research as well as as an ingredient in manufacturing processes.
Quartz is a silicone dioxide. It comes in many, many colors (in fact, it is often used as an affordable substitute for semi-precious stones). The colors emerge depending on the way the quartz was formed. Ironically, it is the impurities that give quartz its beauty. The impurities add the color, which is revealed and reflected by the particular crystalline structure of the mineral. Most quartzes are clear but there are often signs of fractures or inclusions. Because of the bright colors and sparkly quality, this kind of quartz is preferred for making bracelets, necklaces, earrings, brooches and rings.
There are also “milky quartz” because the crystals are just too minute to be detected without any special equipment. Thus the crystal is opaque. This type of quartz is often used in making cameos and beads. Chalcedony falls under this category, and is found with other mineral deposites likeagate, carnelian and jasper.
Quartz is sometimes found in granite and sandstone, and is usually found in great abundance where rocks have been worn down by water.