Gemology: Q is for...

This edition of our gemology guide is a quick read! There is only one gemstone beginning with Q but it's a very important one. Q is for ... Quartz! Quartz

Quartz, otherwise known as Rock Crystal, is an abundant natural mineral found in many forms. A lot of the popular gemstones you know are a variety of quartz, including Amethyst, Citrine Agate and Tiger's Eye. In it's pure form quartz is a white or colourless mineral. The colours found in quartz are from chemical inclusions. People have used quartz as a talisman, for healing, and for spiritual purposes for thousands of years. In fact, quartz artefacts have been found dating back 75,000 years!

Nowadays, quartz has many modern uses. You'll find it in jewellery everywhere. It's crystals are also used in watch making and electronic components, and the tiny grains – silica sand – are an essential ingredient in glass making. If you think you don't own any quartz, think again – it could be right there in your mobile phone or keeping time in your analogue clock!

Next week: "August's Birthstones - Peridot and Sardonyx" Were you born in August? Find out the properties, beliefs and historical uses of your August birthstones, the peridot and sardonyx.

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