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Gem Profile Feb. 24: About Rose Quartz
Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
February 24, 2012
Rose Quartz, one in a Series on Quartz
by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong, Wire-Sculpture.com
Quartz that has been colored by trace inclusions of iron (hematite), manganese and/or titanium, from pale pink hues through rose, mauve, smoky pink, rose red, and lavender pink colors, is the variety we know best as rose quartz.
(In fact, rose quartz may or may not be called pink quartz – keep reading to find out about this distinction!)
This beautiful pink stone is rarely found in crystal form; rather, it occurs massively in pegmatites; which means it can also be a component of the rock we call granite.
Rose Quartz in the East
Although huge dikes of rose quartz that yield large blocks of carving material can be found and have been used by Oriental artists for centuries, one great example of a pink quartz that is not truly rose quartz but more likely a granite, is the amazing Pink Quartz Mountain Range in Sri Lanka called Jathika Namal Uyana.
Geologically, the rocks that form this huge area of mountains are said to be at least 550 million years old, and contain plant fossils that are said to be about 250 million years old! Such research almost verifies that the mountains are actually made of a form of granite. Nevertheless, as the material is a lovely color and easily carved, it is said that part of the Taj Mahal was made from this stone. Around the East, there are also many statues and tributes to Buddha intricately carved of this same material.
Rose Quartz Properties
Some milky pink quartz is almost opaque, but most rose quartz is translucent. Rarely found is a transparent, or gemmy piece large enough to be faceted. The gem quality of rose quartz is usually compromised by internal fractures that either formed during climate changes in northern locations, or when mining procedures include blasting. Rose quartz is slightly dichroic, meaning that it has the ability to split light into a variety of polarizations or slight color changes in a mineral. When rose quartz has included rutile crystals that formed on an axis or asterism, a star pattern similar to a star sapphire can be visible. This very special stone is called ‘Star’ rose quartz.
Rose Quartz and Pink Quartz
Actually there are two classifications for this color of quartz, and there are some who think the two should be distinctly separated from one another.
“Rose” quartz never forms as crystals whereas “pink” quartz occasionally does.
“Rose” is not sensitive to light, but “pink” should be kept out of sunlight to prevent fading.
Each variety forms in distinctly different environments, “pink” is rarely transparent while “rose” can be found clear; and “pink” owes its color to aluminum and is often found with smoky quartz.
Does the color/name of your quartz really matter when you are making a piece of wire jewelry?
Probably not, but I thought this was an interesting tidbit to share with you.
Rose Quartz in Culture
No matter the name, pink or rose quartz is the anniversary stone for the 5th year of marriage and it has been used by humans since the beginning of time, as seen by these arrowheads from Illinois that date between 2,200-1800 BP (before the present). It is also the official state “mineral” of South Dakota (the state “gem” is the Fairburn Agate) where no less than 10 rose quartz mines operate; a mansion was built from blocks of rose quartz in Rapid City; many store fronts in the Black Hills area are made of rose quartz, and tons of the hard, pink lapidary material are shipped all over the world to be used in the creation of ornamental items and carvings.
Rose Quartz Locations
Rose quartz can also be found in several global locations that include Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa. View this link to see a beautiful specimen of pink quartz crystals from Maine; other notable North American areas are California, Georgia, Colorado, Virginia and Arizona. Stones that can be confused with rose quartz include: kunzite, morganite (pink beryl), pale amethyst and chalcedony.
Rose Quartz Metaphysical Properties
Most of the legends and lore about rose quartz relate it to being the one stone responsible for all forms of “love” on the earth. Love of one’s self and of others, reconciliation of friends and/or lovers, attaining friendship, and unconditional love.
Next week I will write a bit about the green quartz that we call aventurine. Have you made wire jewelry with aventurine before? Email pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org, and they could be featured!
- Love is in the Earth by Melody, ISBN 0-9628190-3-4
- Minerals of the World by Walter Schumann, ISBN 0-8069-8570-4
The Peterson Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals by Frederick H. Pough, ISBN 0-395-24049-2
- Simon & Schuster’s Guide to Gems and Precious Stones by Curzio Cipriani and Alessandro Borelli, ISBN 0-671-60430-9
Gem Profile by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong