Gemstone Index: Quartz

Published on
December 30, 2021 1:23:20 PM PST December 30, 2021 1:23:20 PM PSTth, December 30, 2021 1:23:20 PM PST

Quartz gemstone beads and pendants from Rings & Things: Options include multicolor rutilated quartz, clear rock crystal quartz, rose quartz, smoky quartz, tourmalated quartz, druzy quartz and more. Members of this semiprecious gemstone family share the same chemical composition (silicon dioxide) and similar physical properties. All semiprecious beads described here are types of macrocrystalline quartz (crystals recognizable with the naked eye), just like citrine and amethyst. True quartz can be distinguished from glass by its birefringence (double refraction), hardness, and an absence of minute air bubbles (often contained in glass).


The use of quartz dates back to at least ancient Rome. Since the Middle Ages, quartz crystal balls have been used to predict the future. Quartz is said to be the universal healing stone. Quartz crystals are believed to promote hope, happiness, and optimism while awakening us to the beauty of nature.


Some of quartz's metaphysical properties go hand-in-hand with its traditional science-based physical properties: Quartz is piezoelectric, meaning it can produce an electrical reaction. This electrical reaction can be created by applying a charge, physical stress, or heat. Quartz is also capable of triboluminescence, or the ability to create light under pressure! With these properties, it's no surprise that quartz gemstones have been popular for their metaphysical aspects, for countless centuries.



Clear (Rock Crystal) quartz: The most common form of macrocrystalline quartz, rock crystal quartz is a clear quartz with a colorless, transparent, quiet beauty. We're told that our supply of rock crystal beads is natural, but when we receive an extra-perfect super clear batch, we suspect we've been sold lab-grown quartz, which is manmade but chemically identical to the type found in nature. Semiprecious rock crystal beads are considered by many to be the best all-purpose crystal. Also known as Bohemian diamond, Tasmanian diamond and multiple other faux diamond trade names, rock crystal quartz is believed to cleanse the mind and body, strengthen alignment with one's higher self, enhance the properties of other gemstones, and give strength. It is also said to lessen negativity and remove toxins.


Cherry "quartz": When cherry quartz first come onto the market in the 1990's or early 2000's, most of us in the bead and jewelry trade believed it was a genuine gemstone. When we couldn't find much history for this "gemstone", we took a closer look and discovered little bubbles and other inclusions of the type you find in glass, not gemstones. That's when we realized this pretty new "quartz" on the market was actually a lovely swirled and speckled glass, that was cut, faceted and drilled just like gemstone beads. It fell out of favor for a while, but it's a pretty shade of pink that you can't find in true gemstones, so we still sometimes carry this pretty pink glass "stone." We're always careful to explain exactly what it is... and if you ever see it marketed as a genuine gemstone, please correct that seller. There is a chance they don't realize they are making false claims!


Eagle Eye: It's difficult to find reliable information on Eagle Eye. We were told it's jasper, but it has hints of translucence that don't normally occur in jaspers. Is it feldspar (like moonstone and labradorite)? Is it a gray form of tigereye? Is it magical Toads Eye (aka toadstone)? Is it Hawk's Eye (the name for an earlier form of tigereye)? Whatever it is, our current batch of Eagle Eye beads are striped like tigereye or tiger iron, and these stripes of light and dark gray have a chatoyant shimmer, but don't have the full cat's-eye effect. Many of the stripes are parallel, and some are swirled. It almost certainly is a variety of quartz. If it is simply gray tigereye, then the stripes are oriented fibers of crocidolite (a mineral of the amphibole group) that have been replaced by silica. But it's lacking the iron that commonly gives tigereye its rich warm hues.


Lemon quartz, also known as lemon citrine, is a yellow quartz known for displaying a paler, truer yellow than citrine. The common consensus is that most lemon quartz on the market is mined in Brazil, and enhanced by heat treatment or irradiation. It is sometimes mistakenly referred to as prasiolite (a type of green quartz). Metaphysically, lemon quartz is said to help break negative thought patterns and reduce anxiety. This stone is not always available.


Rose quartz is one of the most desirable varieties of quartz in the gemstone trade. Also known as ancona ruby and mont blanc ruby, these gemstone beads and pendants display a lovely, unique pink tone. Natural rose quartz gets its color from iron and titanium impurities in the natural stone, however most rose quartz on the market (including ours) has been dyed to maintain a uniform color. Both forms are photosensitive and will fade in sunlight, so care for rose quartz beads accordingly. Rose quartz beads have been found in Mesopotamia that date back to 7000 B.C. Often called the "love stone," rose quartz is said to open the heart chakra to all forms of love. This semiprecious gemstone is believed to encourage gentleness, forgiveness, compassion, kindness, tolerance, and self esteem. It is also said to remove fears, resentments, and anger.


Rutilated quartz: The lovely markings found in rutilated quartz beads come from gold-colored, hairlike inclusions of rutile (a titanium dioxide mineral). Embedded in these semi precious beads, the rutiles look like frozen meteor showers. Our multicolor rutilated quartz beads offer strands of mixed colors of quartz, all with rutile inclusions.
Rutilated quartz is sometimes considered a link between the crown and root chakras. It is said to enhance physical and mental balance and stability, self-reliance, and finding one's way. Many also attribute diminished fear and depression to this gemstone.


Seaweed quartz beads display deep green stripes and bands muted by softer shades of green and white. We have not been able to find out much about the mineral properties of this semiprecious gemstone, but we are told that it is also called green line quartz. Seaweed quartz is said to be a powerful healing crystal and to enhance psychic abilities and absorb & release energies. Sometimes our selection of seaweed quartz includes stylish matte seaweed quartz beads. These gemstone beads are limited to stock on hand, so don't wait to buy and be sorry later.


Smoky quartz beads are almost always cut from rock crystal quartz that has been heat-treated to produce this coveted brown color. Tones of smoky quartz range from yellowish to deep translucent brown, usually with a touch of gray. Good specimens of natural untreated smoky quartz do exist, but are difficult to find. Smoky quartz semiprecious beads are also known in the market as cairngorm, Colorado diamond, morion, radium diamond, and smoky citrine. In Sri Lanka, many quartz varieties are called "topaz," including smoky quartz (which is called smoky topaz). The dealers are usually not intending to mislead, but when they say "topaz" they simply mean quartz. Smoky quartz is an alternate birthstone for both November and June birthstone jewelry. Smoky quartz is believed to help ground oneself and remove negativity. It is said to enhance survival instincts, and help wearers reach personal and business goals. Some say smoky quartz is also good for dealing with hyperactivity and attention-deficit disorder.


Solar quartz is a natural (usually colorless, white, or gray) agatized quartz cut from stalactites. It is usually clear, white, or gray in color and, when cut, reveals lovely, radiating concentric circles formed by minerals. The center may be composed of small quartz crystals (druzy) or air bubbles (holes). Since the center is somewhat fragile, these beads are best used where they will not be subject to much wear and tear, such as pendants or pins.


Strawberry quartz: Sometimes cherry "quartz" (a pretty pink imitation gemstone) is erroneously called strawberry quartz. You can see the difference between the two gemstones if you look closely (you may need a loupe or magnifier). Cherry quartz is very consistent in shape, has a lighter color, and swirls of the types that you see in handmade glass beads, plus occasionally has small air bubbles. Strawberry quartz is a true variety of quartz, with tiny grains of red hematite speckled throughout the quartz, and may have small pits in the edges of the beads.


Tourmalated quartz beads are cut from quartz that is imbued with dark needles of tourmaline. Also known as black hair quartz beads, these beautiful semiprecious beads are in the family of macrocrystalline quartz - that is, quartz with crystals that are large enough to be recognizable with the naked eye. As late as the 16th century, many people thought quartz to be fossilized ice, and quartz is often cool to the touch due to its high thermoconductivity. Quartz is said to be the universal healing stone, and quartz beads are reputed to promote hope, happiness, and optimism. Black tourmaline is a complex silicate of boron and aluminum, and is said to dispel negative energy and bring good luck to its wearer.


Dyed 'Zambian aquamarine' quartz beads have been dyed blue to look like much pricier Zambian aquamarine. Add these lovely blue gemstone beads to your jewelry creations for a unique look! We don't always carry this stone, but this batch is such a pretty color, that we couldn't pass it up. We've had no problems with the color coming off on clothing, but be aware that most types of quartz (natural or enhanced) can fade with prolonged exposure to sunlight or UV rays.