I took over this e-zine when Gail, its originator was unable to continue it. With Gail's permission, I have added her original Rock's of the Week so that everyone can find the information readily. Please feel free to visit Gail's web site at http://www.davesrockshop.com

April Birthstone

Named after a Slavic word for "hard" or crystal named for the Greek word for "Ice". The Greeks believed that rock crat rock crystal was eternally frozen. Quartz is one of the most widely distributed minerals in the earth's crust.

12 % of the earth's crust is quartz, which is also known as silica. Quartz is a family of minerals with the same chemical composition; silicon dioxide (SiO2), and similar physical properties. Clear quartz is the most pure variety. Other varieties of macro-crystalline quartz (recognizable with the naked eye), include citrine, amethyst, aventurine, blue quartz, hawks-eye, tigereye, prasiloite, quartz cats eye, smoky, and rose quartz. Microscopically small crystal quartz (called crypto-crystaline quartz), generally known as chalcedony, includes agate, petrified wood, chrysoprase, bloodstone, jasper, carnelian, moss agate and sard.

Clear quartz is colorless, transparent or milky. Unlike diamonds, quartz has no fluorescence, and unlike aquamarines, it has no pleochroism. Quartz is formed in trigonal, hexagonal prisms with pyramidal or bi-pyramidal terminations, which have no cleavage. 

Though rock crystals weighing many tons have been found, gem quality material is rare. Quartz inclusions are of goethite (star quartz), gold, pyrite, rutile, and tourmaline. Milky quartz includes trapped gas and liquid bubbles. The degree of milkiness depends on the number and size of inclusions present. When cut into cabochons it may be confused with opal because of its vitreous luster.

Interruptions in the growth of a crystal can produce regular inclusions; parallel growth layers are sometimes called phantoms. The names ghost, phantom, specter and shadow crystal are applied to a form of quartz in which the crystallization was interrupted so that in the transparent successive layers there is an occasional opaque layer, often no thicker than the finest dusting of a white material. 

Found all over the world, the important deposits are in Brazil, Madagascar, Namibia, Ontario Canada, the USA, and the French and Swiss Alps, known for their magnificent large crystals. The largest crystals originate from the fluids associated with intrusive magmatic phenomena and are found in pegmatitic pneumatolytic and hydrothermal deposits. The largest recorded quartz crystal was about 20 feet long and weighed more than 48 tons. Quartz also occurs in sedimentary and metamorphic environments as very small crystals. Quartz can be distinguished from glass or lead crystal by its birefringence (double refraction). Glass also includes minute air bubbles. Quartz has a hardness of 7 while glass has a hardness of 5.

As a gem, its value is extremely low. As an ornamental object its value is dependent on the shape it has been fashioned, its clarity and it antique status. Quartz is used for jewelry and delicate bowls and to imitate diamonds. It can be confused with many colorless gems as well as glass. Synthetic rock crystal is used only for industrial purposes.

Variety of: Quartz
Hardness: 7
Chemical Composition: silicon dioxide (SiO2)

For many centuries quartz passed for diamonds. Many of the superstitions surrounding diamonds actually had their beginnings in quartz. Quartz was sacred to many ancient cultures.

Scientists believed as late as the 16th century that quartz crystal was fossilized ice.

Roman ladies carried quartz crystal balls not only for medicinal purposes but to cool their hands in warm weather.

American Indian Shamans used quartz crystals as divining and hunting charms believing that they were inhabited by spirits, who had to be fed periodically by rubbing the quartz crystals with deer's blood.

Since the middle ages quartz crystal balls have been used to predict the future. But, in the tomb of Childeric, dating back to 481 A.D, a quartz crystal sphere was found. A number of crystal balls have been found in a number of ancient tombs. Crystal balls were also placed in tombs of all the kings of France.

A griffin carved of quartz crystal produces an abundance of milk.

It has been said that the huge stones used in the building of Solomon's temple were somehow levitated by the use of quartz crystal. The stones used in building the pyramids were somehow levitated by focusing the mind mental energy through quartz crystals.

It has also been said that quartz can store information, somewhat like a computer that can be accessed by holding the crystal in hand and requesting an instant replay. It is said to store the history and science of ancient civilizations.

Priests and priestesses would supposedly draw down fire from heaven to light alter fires by focusing sunlight through quartz crystals. (My mother-in-law almost burned down her house by setting a quartz crystal sphere on black velvet in a sunny window.) Quartz focused sunlight was also used to cauterize wounds.

The Chinese Emperor Wu built marvelous buildings to honor the gods and all the doors of the buildings were made of quartz crystal so that a flood of light poured into the interior.

In Japan the smaller quartz crystals were thought to be the congealed breath of the white dragon. The larger crystals were said to be the saliva of the violet dragon.

The name suisho used in Japan and China was thought to be ice frozen so long that it would never thaw.

Generator crystals are said to have provided all the electrical power, communications, heat, light and transportation for whole cities in the dead days of Atlantis and Lemuria.

Quartz is the most programmable stone of the mineral kingdom. Quartz crystal is said to be the universal healing stone. It's like the universal blood type. It can clarify what needs to be healed or balanced and assist in the transformation.

As you turn a clear quartz crystal around in bright light you may see a rainbow inside. These crystals promote hope, happiness and optimism while awakening us to the beauty of nature.

This is a very powerful stone, not only for it's healing powers, but for it's ability to balance and harmonize our energy. This is a great stone to meditate with to gain personal clarity. 

The quartz crystal is the connection between the physical dimension and the dimensions of the mind. This is one of the many reasons it has been used in crystal balls for divining the future. Quartz is also good for astral projection, the 7th chakra, as well as altering consciousness.

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