Quartz is the most common mineral found on the face of the earth and occurs in all environments and all rock types - sedimentary, metamorphic or igneous. Its name derives from the German word "quarz", although other sources say the name is from the Saxon word "Querkluftertz", meaning "cross-vein ore".
Because of its abundance, Quartz is the mineral with the most varieties; some of its more well-known being Amethyst (purple), Citrine (yellow to orange), Milky Quartz (white), Smoky Quartz (browns, grays, blacks) and Rose Quartz (pink)...all to be covered in separate texts. And then, of course, there is the clear variety, commonly called Rock Crystal or Clear Quartz, which I will concentrate on here.
Quartz, a compound of silica and oxygen, has a very unique structure. It contains helix chains of silicon tetrahedrons that make three turns within the structure, creating the crystal's trigonal symmetry. This gives the crystal the ability to be either a left or right handed crystal. There are even some rarer "twinned" Quartz crystals where two mirror-image crystals grow out of or into each other, and thus the crystal will alternately be left and right handed.
Many rock collectors covet the large crystal (called macrocrystalline) varieties of Quartz, but Quartz comes in many different shapes, sizes and styles. Specimens can be found as pyramidal, prismatic, druzy, barnacled (called "Fairy Quartz" or "Spirit Quartz"), phantomed, twinned, clustered, sceptered, microcrystalline, fibrous, geoidal, banded...in veins, geodes, concretions (masses), stalactites, crusts, sands, etc. Quartz crystals vary widely in habit but most often are found growing as slender elongated prisms, pyramidal points or crusts. Chalcedony is a microscopically crystallized variety of Quartz, although here the crystals are arranged in narrow fibers and in parallel bands - the latter showing up in the Agate types. The Chert, Jasper and Flint groups also contain microscopic Quartz, although with impurities and minus the banding and translucent qualities of the Chalcedonys. Quartz is the most common component of any beach sands or gravels.
Quartz in massive or crystal form is very hard, registering 7 on the Mohs Scale. The Mohs Scale -- a system set up by German mineralogist, Friedrich Mohs, in 1822 -- classifies rocks by their hardness and measures them from 1 - 10; 1 being softest, 10 hardest. Quartz is the stone Mohs chose to perfectly represent 7 on the scale. Topaz, Corundum and Diamond are the three that occupy spots 8, 9 and 10 on the scale, and thus are harder than Quartz. Talc, Gypsum, Calcite, Fluorite, Apatite, and Orthoclase are 1 through 6 respectively on the scale, and thus are softer than Quartz.
Quartz contains both piezoelectric and pyroelectric properties. Piezoelectric means that when a crystal is heated or compressed different electrical charges are formed at each end of the crystal, creating an electrical potential which vibrates - the latter making it pyroelectric too. These effects were first discovered in crystals such as Quartz and Tourmaline.
There are many reasons why Quartz is important in industry today, such as in the sand used in the manufacture of glass, or the rock crystals used in electronic equipment, i.e. the oscillators used for controlling radio frequencies and in todays Quartz crystal watches.
All of the Quartz varieties are extremely valued as popular
gemstones. Two good areas in the U.S. to find fine colorless Quartz Rock
Crystal are in the Hot Springs area of Arkansas and in Little Falls or
Herkimer, New York, where brilliant but small double-terminated crystals called
"Herkimer Diamonds" are commonly found. Outside the U.S., South
Africa and Brazil are noted for mining an abundance of clear Quartz.
commonly clear (Rock Crystal), but also found abundantly in whites (Milky
or Snow Quartz), grays or browns to blacks (Smoky Quartz), pinks (Rose
Quartz), purples (Amethyst), yellows to oranges (Citrine), along with many other
colors of the spectrum. Cryptocrystalline varieties can be multicolored.
to vitreous as crystals; cryptocrystalline forms are usually waxy or dull,
but can be vitreous.
Crystal System: Trigonal; 3 2.
Crystal Habit: Widely variable, but most commonly as hexagonal
prisms terminated by two rhombohedrons which create a six-sided pyramid.
Also common are druse (or drusy) forms, which are host rock lined with
multiple pyramid crystals of Quartz. Massive forms can be any type but
mostly occur as globular, botryoidal, stalactitic, or in Agate hosts where they
line the interior of the geode.
weak in 3 directions - rhombohedral.
but less in cryptocrystalline form.
Specific Gravity: 2.65, but may be less in cryptocrystalline form.
Other Characteristics: Striations on prism faces running up the length
of the crystal (perpendicular to C axis), piezoelectric, and refraction index is
Notable Occurrences: Worldwide but notably in many areas in Africa,
Brazil, and specifically in the U.S. Arkansas. For Amethyst (and less
commonly, Citrine): Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico, Russia, Canada, U.S. For Rose
Quartz: Brazil. In Agates: Brazil, Lake Superior region (U.S.), Mexico and
Best Field Indicators: Hardness, crystal habit, fracture and cleavage,
along with the fact that it is extremely common.
Uses: Silica for glass, electrical components, optical lenses and abrasives; Gemstones, ornamental stone or building stone.
There is much myth and lore connected to Quartz...too much to list here, but below is a sampling.
Nearly every ancient culture has revered Quartz. The ancients believed Quartz was actually water from the heavens that was frozen into eternal ice by the gods. In fact, the word "crystal" derives from the Greek word "krystallos" meaning "ice". Oceanic and Australian shamans spoke of Quartz as "a stone of light broken off from the celestial throne".
The Aborigines used the crystals to invoke rain, as did certain Native American tribes. In Australian Aboriginal mythology, Quartz is the most common substance identified with their mystical substance called "maban". Maban is said to be the material from which wise men (called karadjis) obtain their magickal powers. During initiation ceremonies, maban is spiritually "inserted" into the body of the apprentice by the karadji.
The Australian sky god, Daramulun, was long portrayed through art and sculpture as having a mouth full of Quartz, a huge phallus, and carrying a stone axe.
In the creation myths of the ancient Japanese it was believed that Quartz materialized through the breath of the venerated White Dragon. As such, Quartz was regarded as the perfect jewel and came to symbolize perfection or the pursuit thereof. Quartz graced their temples and was also found throughout the temples of the ancient Chinese, Mayans, Aztecs, and many other earlier civilizations situated around the globe.
An ancient Celtic practice, said to restore and maintain health, was to place nine small Quartz crystals in water, boil it, cool it, and then drink the enhanced water for nine consecutive days.
Clear Quartz polished into spheres have long been used as crystal balls for divination purposes. It has been labeled the "Universal Crystal" due to its diversity and abundance of intense metaphysical properties. Clear Quartz is a secondary birthstone for Libra.
Below is a brief listing of common shapes (both fabricated and natural) and their general usage:
Sphere: Releases energies equally in all directions.
Pyramid: Amplifies and then releases tightly focused energies through the apex.
Square: Contains and anchors energies.
Egg: Feminine; releases healing energies from more pointed end.
Single terminated point: Tightly focuses and releases energy through the apex.
Double terminated point: Releases energy through both ends; can be opposites charges.
Cluster: Energizes group situations; energizes other stones.
Tightly focuses and releases energy through the apex; rounded section soothes.
Astrological Sign(s): All, but notably Libra, Taurus and
Chakra(s): Crown, but may be used to amplify and align
Stimulates and energizes.
Focus and meditation.
Spiritual development & heightened consciousness.
Enhances psychic ability.
Gives physical aid in treating: Convulsions; vertigo; chronic fatigue; arthritis; fibromyalgia; intestinal problems; kidney disease. Helps clear radiation. Used in diagnostic healing. Helps relieve general pain. Improves strength and stamina.
Stone therapy should NOT take the place of medical
evaluation and procedures, and should be used merely to enhance one's health and
I absolutely love all forms of Quartz, but my favorite is this crystal clear variety...the most versatile of all stones and crystals.
Ever contemplate the Master Builders of the world?...those who constructed the Great Pyramids in Egypt, the Mayan temples in Guatemala, the ziggerats of ancient Mesopotamia to name a few...or those who built the flying buttresses and towering steeples of the great cathedrals of the world? Well, therein lies the greatest attribute of Quartz -- it is our Master Builder...not to mention Master Communicator.
The strongest of Grandfather Dragon stones, Quartz is the master stone for bringing energy and light to all it encounters. I've found that one of its most potent attributes is to amplify, and that can be anything from mental activity to spiritual consciousness to emotional disposition. For this reason, I add a small caution to its use. It is best used when your focus, mood, or intent is geared toward the positive and beneficial, as I do feel it is indiscriminate in what it will amplify when in proximity, and is not quite the negativity banisher that it is often simply stated to be. This is not to say that Quartz cannot dispel negativity; it can. To accomplish this, though, use your crystals to increase and amplify the positive until there is nowhere for the negative to go but elsewhere. Liken it, if you will, to shining a brighter beacon of all-around light, one so bright and all-encompassing that it would be hard for any shadow to exist in.
The above noted...for all things, Rock Crystal is a potent stone to work with. Its strength and energy are beyond compare in the world of mineralogy. I have used clear Quartz crystals in crystal energy grids, in spellwork, in ritual, and even while gardening by placing a large terminated point and directing its energy into the ground while I plant. You can even bury small crystals next to any newly planted greenery for vigorous growth. Oh, and don't forget that the faeries love Quartz crystals too...the shinier the better!
A clear Quartz crystal ball I find is excellent for any psychic work; scrying and/or communicating with the Spirit world. Although I was given a gift of a sphere made from volcanic glass from Mount St. Helens and I find it works just as well but in a slightly different capacity, as it tends to lend its energies solely to new creative vision. One might think that odd, since it came into being through Nature's ability to destruct. But as the Wheel goes from death to rebirth, so evidently this has gone. One small setback to working with it for any long length of time, though, is that it can invoke a headache!
Quartz increases the power of anything that it is placed near to, and thus is also helpful in recharging your other stones, increasing the potency of your herbs and strengthening the vitality of your plants. It can be used for healing, increasing physical vitality, enhancing all spellwork, or for anything you wish to amplify.
"The Illustrated Directory of Healing Crystals" ~ Cassandra Eason
"The Crystal Bible" ~ Judy Hall
Photo by: Patricia J. Martin
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