Quartz. Apart from feldspar, no
other mineral in the surface layer of the earth is as abundant as quartz.
Chemically, quartz is silicon dioxide and is also called silica. Its
name comes from the German word quarz, which is said to derive from
Middle High German twarc, which, in turn, may've originated from
a Slavic word or words with the meaning of "hard." And quartz is hard.
The "z" of quarz in German, is spoken with a "ts" sound (e.g., Mozart [Moht'sart]
), which may be the reason for the "t" in quartz.
It's seen here in crystalline form. Note the icy
look of the various specimens. One account says the word crystal
goes back to Greek crystallos, deriving from the word for "ice cold,"
krysos, because originally it was thought that crystals were an ice "so
cold it would never melt." Another account says that krystallos meant
"clear ice" to the Greeks, and yet another, that kryos was Greek for
frost,"so they called these patterns of snow and ice, 'krystallos'." The crystal cluster below,
to the left, was broken and mended, but the diagonal fracture is still visible.
A lump of rose quartz with deep pink color, in two views.
At the rounded parts, someone may've been looking for an asterism
Rose quartz dolphins on an aquamarine base, an original Peter Müller
carving. The color appears lighter as are the
Rose quartz is also silicon dioxide (
) and its coloring agents are manganese and titanium. A source of rose quartz in this country is
the Scotts Red Rose Quartz mine, southwest of Custer, South Dakota.
The open face quarry is operated by Carl Scott, the great grandson of Samuel
Scott, a mining engineer who built the first cabin in the Black Hills in
1876 and who was a founder of Rapid City. In 1893 Samuel moved to
Custer and worked many mines in the area including the present claim.
Rose quartz is the state mineral of
South Dakota. Most often it is seen in chunks and is "often crackled"
but it does occur in crystal form. The crystals I've seen, are small.
The specimen directly below is pictured larger than it's real size; it's
around an inch and a half in length.
In the photo above, you can easily tell the true size of the specimen.
However, the one to the right is again pictured larger than it really
The two birds on quartz with tourmaline are from South
America. The one on the left is carved from rose quartz, while
the one on the right is made of amethyst. Amethyst is the most valued
of the quartz rocks, but its color here is pale compared to other
specimens of a purple hue.
The name amethyst is from Greek and means "not
drunken." It "was worn as an amulet against drunkeness." And, according to
Isaac Isimov in Words of Science, it was said an amethyst cup
would never intoxicate. The Greek a was used as a negative and
methyein meant intoxicated: hence, amethyst. The word
methyein came from methy meaning wine. According to
the foregoing, I could humorously say the amethyst bird won't fall down drunk, but it has only "lite"
A geode "grotto" of amethyst crystals
in our den, with a little
statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary standing on a slice of rose quartz.
My family, then younger, at an amethyst mine in Canada (lst photo, left
to right: my wife Serafina & sons Aaron, Shaun and Shane).
Other specimens of amethyst below with medium
and light purple coloration. Note the one that has crystals, formed as
if they are lying in the geode. There's a little open space
under them. Though looking larger here, the geode is little, an inch
and a half long.
Two pictures of reddish crystals with the one on the left showing the
structures on the side more clearly than the photo on the right. The
reddish color may be from a greater concentration of iron.
The one on the right reminds me of little pyramids with a purplish layer
below them. If you want to use a little imagination, you can play with
the idea of a Purple Nile flowing by these edifices of Egypt at sunset.
There is a Blue Nile and a White Nile, both tributaries of the Nile.
Citrine cluster. According to one source, the
name citrine comes from the French word for lemon, citron (lemonade
in French is
while another source says it's from the Latin citrus, the citron tree.
It seems to me both could be true, in that French traces to Latin.
The name itself goes back to the 14th Century. Its color ranges
from pale yellow to madeira orange. Citrine is a variety of
quartz and the yellow color is from iron being present. It will change
its color if it is exposed to sunlight for a few hours. Jewelry made
of it should be kept away from heat or strong light. It is a
semi-precious stone and is rarer than either amethyst or smoky quartz, both
of which can be heated to change their colors to that of citrine.
Citrine is valued for resembling topaz which is rarer. On the Mohs
Scale of hardness from 1 to 10, quartz is 7 and topaz is 8.
This specimen is from Minais Gerais, Brazil.
Citrine is listed as a modern birthstone for November along with yellow topaz.
Citrine is also listed as the traditional one for that month.
The pretty cluster shown here belongs to my wife Serafina who was born in November.
I don't attribute any mystical quality or earthly power to stones, beyond
perhaps the spell of their beauty. The
beauty found in stones, is the beauty that God has put into nature, and
creative power. ―JR