Gem Profile Feb 15: What’s Druze?

By on February 15, 2013
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by Layna Palmer, Wire-Sculpture.com

Today's Gem Profile is...

Druzy

Shop Druzies on Wire-Sculpture

I think I’ve already let you know how much I love rocks. I think what I love most about rocks is the processes that create them. There are so many varieties, colors, structures and types of rocks it’s almost mind-boggling. Even more amazing though are the sometimes violent and sometimes quiet ways rocks can be formed or changed over time.

One process that I love the outcome of is the formation of Druse on or in rock. Druse, pronounced drooz , is the small sugar-looking crystals that form on the outside of some rock and on the inside of others either through a sedimentary or volcanic process.

Drusa was the name used by Saxon miners to describe the small crystals lining the sides of rock cavities as early as the 1750s. Drusy, Druzy, Druse and Druze are all different spellings for the same thing, though druse and drusy are more commonly used in geological terms, due to druze being a religious sect in Syria with its members being called druzys; however, either spelling is acceptable.

How Druse Forms

Druse that forms on the outside of rock is usually caused by precipitation in sedimentary processes, where groundwater saturated with dissolved silicates or carbonates floods a rocky area and slowly, over time, crystals form on the surface of the rock. This process can also form geodes under specific circumstances. Geodes form when a cavity in a rock, or even a stump, is filled with saturated water and crystals form in the space. When the water drains away, a crystal matrix is left behind and a geode is formed.

Druse that forms on the inside of volcanic rocks happens when a lava flow begins to cool and the gasses within the lava form bubbles. These bubbles are then filled with water, either groundwater or hydrothermal solution, that is again saturated with silicates or carbonates. Over time, the druse begins to grow within the bubble, or vug. After the bedrock is weathered away, geodes are left behind.

Jelena Louie's druzy necklace

Jelena Louie netted this blue druzy in wire and created a necklace around it, winning the 2012 Druzy Contest on Wire-Sculpture.com.

Types of Druse

One of the most common types of druse is quartz which gives us clear crystals reminiscent of sugar-coated jelly candy. Another type of druse is the purple hue of amethyst crystals, green of uvarovite, and even rainbow druse from the rainbow pyrite and all colors in between. Like other stones, heat treating can change the color of the crystal matrix forming druse and change the color in fun ways from bright pinks, fluorescent purple and will sometimes change just the host rock, leaving the druse its natural color.

Metallic coatings like titanium, platinum, or gold are done the same way mystic topaz is made, with a vapor coating in a vacuum chamber. These treatments and enhancements make for some fun and beautiful druzys! Drusies used in jewelry making are most commonly geodes that have been cut and calibrated to use as cabochons maximizing the beauty of the druse within.

Titanium druzy wrapped by Joan Madouse

Titanium druzy wrapped by Joan Madouse

Druse and the metaphysical

Druse crystal is said to enhance the properties of the stone it is formed on or in, helping to get rid of any negative feelings or thoughts, directing them away from you. Druzy crystals are also said heal feelings of worry, self-doubt, and pessimism or any other negative thoughts and emotions. Placing a drusy crystal in your home can help bring in feelings of happiness and joi de vivre.

Carmel-brown druzy pendant wrapped by Joan Madouse

Caramel-brown druzy pendant wrapped by Joan Madouse

Where is Druzy found?

Druzy and geodes are found all over the world, but the most common areas of mining are the United States, Brazil, Australia, China, Russia and parts of Africa… okay, so all over the world! Geode Road Trip; if you’re in for an adventure, there are several places in the United States to find geodes! The Hauser geode beds near Blythe, California are ancient volcanic ash beds. The geodes here are beautiful with different colors of agate, mostly hues of blue, within the gray stones and well defined banding within the rock.

Another great place is Utah at the Dugway geode beds. Here you can find geodes in a range of colors from white quartz, amethyst and all colors of agate. These geodes are formed through volcanic processes, while the following are through sedimentary. In the Keokuk region of Missouri, Iowa and Illinois, you can find geodes of chalcedony, calcite, quartz and banded agate in all colors of the rainbow. Kentucky, near Dannville and Hall’s Gap, gives us light pink amethyst and banded agate while in the limestone of the Mississippi River valley we find quartz, calcite and chalcedony.

Emilie's Druzy Angel

Emilie Jefferson wrapped this druzy angel, named Gabriel.

Caring for Druzies

Drusys are beautiful and dynamic stones with an interesting and fun heritage. Care should be taken when making jewelry out of drusy, they’re not very good for rings and bracelets, but do great in pendants. Clean with a soft brush and gentle care, though the crystal matrix is fairly sturdy you don’t want to clean it off with a lot of elbow grease or an ultrasonic bath. Just as another wonder of geology; it takes approximately 240 million years to form a geode, so you are truly wearing a piece of the amazing processes of planet we call home.

Next week, we’re going to take a look at basalt. Have you ever used a piece of basalt in your jewelry – or do you have pictures of basalt in nature? Send us a picture at tips@wire-sculpture.com and we’ll feature it in next week’s gem profile. See you then!

Resources & Recommended Reading

Gem Profile by Layna Palmer

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One Comment

  1. avatar

    james monette

    March 19, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    I would like to know what tools are necessary to cut druzy from its matrix or stone? Thanks

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