“Behind The Gems” is a long-running monthly series that takes you on an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of our signature collections.
This time, we’re taking a look at quartz, as it is one of the main materials in our pieces. Did you know that we use five different varieties of quartz?
See what they are and bookmark this article for future reference.
General Facts About Quartz
On a molecular level, quartz is composed of oxygen and silicon atoms typically arranged in a six-sided pyramid structure. Quartz comes in a wide variety of colours – from clear or light pink to black – and can be translucent or opaque. (Pure quartz is colourless and translucent.)
Historically, quartz was thought to bring good fortune, mystical powers and wisdom. It was the European equivalent of jade – perceived to be of high value – and it was carved into extravagant cameos, vases and vessels up until the mid-19th century. Today, it is mainly used in jewellery.
Types Of Quartz
Amethyst, prasiolite, citrine, rose quartz and onyx are the different varieties of quartz we work with at McFarlane Fine Jewellery.
Let’s go over them one by one…
You’ll recognise amethyst by its purple colour, which is created by iron during its formation. Amethyst can be found in Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, Russia, France and Namibia. Its quality is judged by clarity, cut, colour and number of inclusions.
With a colour range going from light yellow to deep brown thanks to internal inclusions, citrine is captivating. It is typically found in Brazil and, same as for amethyst, its quality is judged by clarity, cut, colour and number of inclusions.
Fun fact: citrine is known as the “money stone”, as it’s thought to bring good luck and prosperity.
The pink colour is caused by trace amounts of titanium, manganese or iron during its formation. Rose quartz tends to have more inclusions due to the way it forms and its quality is judged by colour and number of inclusions.
Light green in colour, prasiolite is naturally found in Brazil, Poland and Canada. It is rare in nature, as its colour is the result of its structure being heated during formation. Typically, prasiolite is heated during the cutting and grading process to give it its unique colour. Its quality is judged by clarity, cut, colour and number of inclusions.
Onyx comes in a myriad of different colours or colour layers. It was used for carvings in the past (think: cameos, vases etc.) and it is still being carved today. Its quality is judged by colour patterns and lustre.