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 Smoky Quartz

 

Gemstone:
Star Quartz

Birthstone Month:
Star Quartz is not associated with any particular birthstone month.

Zodiac:
Star Quartz is not associated with any particular zodiac sign.

Chemical Symbol:
Quartz: SiO2
Rutile: TiO2

Chemical Make-up:
Star Quartz is a Silicon Dioxide containing needles of Rutile, a Titanium Oxide.

History & Lore:
There is not 100% agreement regarding the exact origins of the name Quartz, but the two most widely accepted opinions are that the word Quartz is derived from the Greek 'krystallos', meaning “ice”, or the German 'quarz'.

Some of the earliest primitive tools fashioned by man some 2.5 million years ago, and discovered in the Omo valley in Ethiopia were made of Quartz. It is believed that Quartz was used because of its hardness and isotropic brittleness that made the fashioning of the tools relatively easy.

Chipped flint projectile points used for fire-making have been found on Mousterian sites in western Europe that date back around 40,000 years.

In addition to its use in tool-making, certain varieties of Quartz were used for divination. Spherical Quartz rock crystals were often shaped into crystal balls and used for disease diagnosis and awareness of events occurring in distant places.

More recently there was major production of synthetic Quartz during World War II. This synthetic Quartz was used to supply crystals for radios.

 

Today, Quartz is not only used for gemstone purposes, but also as a raw chemical ingredient in the manufacturing of abrasives, cements, concrete, porcelain, glass, and many other industrial materials.

Because of its piezoelectric and pyroelectric properties, Quartz is commonly used in the production of watches, clocks, computers, and radios.

Availability:
Star Quartz are in fact quite rare but surprisingly affordable in comparison with other gemstone varieties that display asterism.

Sources:
Star Quartz can be found in most of the major gem producing nations.

Evaluation:
Quartz is rated at 6.5 to 7 on the Moh's Scale of Hardness and is for the most part suitable for all jewelry. Star Quartz contains microscopic rutile needles which are oriented in such a way that a star effect is visible, known in the gem trade as an asterism. This optical phenomenon is displayed on either colorless or Rose Quartz and can best be seen when a light source is viewed through the stone.

The quality of Star Quartz is judged primarily by taking into account the sharpness of the star. Star Quartz that displays the delicate pink color of Rose Quartz, together with a distinct star is the most valuable and desired of the Star Quartz's.

Common Cuts:
Star Quartz are most commonly and almost exclusively cut into cabochons. This is because a tall, round cut is required to maximize the asterism, or star effect.

Routine Enhancements:
There are no known enhancements for Star Quartz.

Care & Cleaning:
Star Quartz are generally best cleaned using warm soapy water and a soft brush. As with most gemstones, Star Quartz should be kept away from household chemicals and from prolonged exposure to extremes of heat as this can cause damage or permanent changes in coloration. Star Quartz jewelry should be kept in a fabric-lined box away from other jewelry items in order to avoid scratching.

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