Quartz for your Collection
Published: Nov 2010
by Jerry Sisk, GG; Co-Founder, Jewelry Television®
from In the Loupe Volume VII
If you have watched me on television, you probably know that when I say internal treasure I am referring to the amazing array of rare, exotic, and unique internal features found in many gems. I consider these the ultimate treasures of nature, and they come in many forms, shapes, and colors. If I provided a list of all the choices for collectors and enthusiasts, it would exceed the limits of this article. In order to do justice to internal treasures, I will limit myself to a single family of gems that has always intrigued me: quartz.
There are many well known relatives within the quartz family. Amethyst, citrine, rock crystal, and rose quartz are just some of the favorite minerals in the quartz family. Although these gems do not look alike, they all have the same chemical composition and atomic structure.
You can enjoy this mineral in many forms, with or without the special internal features that always attract my attention. You can enjoy the rich purples of amethyst, the warm shades of yellow to reddish citrine, or even the ice-like sparkle of rock crystal (colorless quartz). And that is just the tip of the iceberg! There is smoky quartz, green quartz, rose quartz, milky quartz, lemon quartz, oro verde quartz, bicolor quartz, and...well, you get the idea. It is a big family, and I did not even list the various chalcedonies. You could collect this family of gems for the rest of your life.
Since quartz is an abundant mineral, the varieties of quartz are typically affordable and available in large sizes!
Now for the best part - those internal treasures I keep mentioned. You may love the colors of quartz, but if you are like me, you will be mesmerized by the rare and exotic minerals that may be trapped within a crystal (or gem). Here are just a few of my favorites: medusa quartz, rutilated and tourmalinated quartz, strawberry quartz, pyrite in quartz, epidote in quartz, axinite in quartz, hematite in quartz, edenite in quartz, and goethite in quartz. The list is much longer, and more varieties are being added every year.
Unfortunately, many of the finds are very short lived - a small pocket here, another pocket there, then the source is played out. This is life in the world of gemstones. I have learned this the hard way, so I will always try to get a piece for my collection as soon as it becomes available. Now, since there are so many varieties of quartz containing exotic minerals, I have to limit myself to one, which is very challenging. I chose rutile in quartz for a number of reasons. It is available, affordable, and offers so many possibilities. The first piece I added to my personal collection had web-like patterns. The wispy needles of rutile sparkled like golden threads in the sunlight. I knew I had to have another gem.
My next purchase was even more special. It had tightly-packed parallel needles of rutile that created a hypnotic cat's-eye effect. The entire gem glowed golden-yellow and had a crisp whitish line that seemingly shimmered and floated across the top of the cab. It was spellbinding. However, I saw something that was even more impressive - a quartz crystal with a starburst effect. Nature had outdone itself! This piece had a dark hematite crystal that served as a central hub. From this point, six tightly-packed, parallel groups of needles radiated outward, creating a starburst pattern. For me, that was the Holy Grail of my rutilated quartz collection and the motivation to look for other varieties of quartz.
To be honest, my collection is still growing, and every new trade show or cutting run provides an endless opportunity to find another example of nature's handiwork. It is hard to imagine that rutile in quartz will ever cease to amaze me. If you have not yet considered this incredible gem as part of your collection, I would encourage you to do so. Connoisseur or enthusiast, this is one internal treasure you should not miss!