Gem Profile- Macrocrystalline Quartz
by Dale Armstrong
Summarizing Macrocrystalline Quartz

Within this brief conclusion of macrocrystalline quartz I need to mention a few varieties that I have not yet touched on, such as:
Strawberry Quartz

In the late 1950's, some sensational vivid strawberry red quartz was discovered in Mexico. This water clear quartz had been naturally included with so many microscopic hematite plates that it looked red. Many of these imperfectly formed crystals were used by lapidaries to make into cabochons and heart shapes. A cache of beautiful, natural strawberry quartz has also been found in Kazakhstan (a country between Russia and China). Please realize that these two examples of true strawberry quartz are extremely rare! Most of what is called strawberry quartz on today's market is found mainly in Brazil and Russia and is quartz that has inclusions of iron oxides like lepidocrosite, hematite or goethite.


This translucent quartz cabochon could be referred to as "strawberry" quartz, due to its many red inclusions.
Dale Armstrong's Gem Profile- Macrocrystalline Quartz - , General Education, , Strawberry quartz
Buyer beware! Several years ago, I remember when the jewelry supply market was flooded with a beautiful pink "quartz" that carried the label "'strawberry." The first pieces I saw were rather small, pinkish cabochons that looked as though they had red streaks and spots or "seeds" included. Most of my rockhound friends and I were perplexed. Just where was this new strawberry quartz deposit and how large was it that so many things were being made from the material and sold for really low prices? The Internet was buzzing! We later saw a larger piece with visible air bubbles identifying it as just glass. But because quartz is silica and glass is made of silica, vendors thought they could label glass as quartz! Soon after came Cherry, Blueberry, Pineapple and Kiwi "quartz", that have been grouped together as Fruit Quartz. Very affordable, these different glasses do make up into pretty jewelry for summer and spring.


A variety of fruit quartz, including pineapple, kiwi and cherry surrounded by blueberry briolette beads.
Dale Armstrong's Gem Profile- Macrocrystalline Quartz - , General Education, , Fruit Quarz
Prase

There seems to be a lot of confusion about what is labeled as "prase" these days. A transparent naturally leek-green colored silica also known as emerald quartz, prase is extremely rare and can be mistaken for nephrite or jadeite. Modern vendors tend to call any green quartz prase, which has also become a nickname for chrysoprase; a cryptocrystalline quartz I will cover later.
Treatments

We already have learned that heat treating certain varieties of amethyst and smoky quartz will produce citrine, irradiated amethyst turns it green and that irradiating white quartz can make it smoky, but what about the metallic and seemingly opalized colors? Fortunately due to its crystal structure macrocrystalline quartz doesn't take a dye well, but there is one special treatment that can turn an otherwise dull quartz crystal into an unusual beauty: vapor deposition. Simplified: individual quartz crystals or clusters are placed into a special vacuum chamber where they are coated with a thin film from vaporized elements that have been mixed with oxygen. The multitude of different colors and slightly metallic aurora borealis effects can be due to the following combinations that I have listed, along with some of their marketing names:

  • Aqua Aura, aqua blues: 24k gold
  • Imperial Gold, golden orange color: 24k gold, copper and titanium
  • Apple Aura, greens: nickel
  • Flame Aura, deep, opaque metallic rainbows: niobium and titanium
  • Opal Aura or Angel Aura, pastel AB: platinum and silver

  • Flame Aura quartz, vapor coated with a combination of titanium and niobium. Private collection, Dale Armstrong.

    Dale Armstrong's Gem Profile- Macrocrystalline Quartz - , General Education, , Flame Aura Quartz
    Stands of smoky quartz beads that have been vapor coated. I wonder if the original quartz was white?
    Dale Armstrong's Gem Profile- Macrocrystalline Quartz - , General Education, , Smoky Quartz with vapor coating
    Clusters of vapor treated quartz, called "Aqua Aura." Private collection, Dale Armstrong.
    Dale Armstrong's Gem Profile- Macrocrystalline Quartz - , General Education, , Aqua aura quartz
    Difficult to photograph well, Opal Aura treated quartz is also called Angel Aura.
    Dale Armstrong's Gem Profile- Macrocrystalline Quartz - , General Education, , Opal Aura treated quartz
    Of course although beautiful, each of these treated crystals or clusters is said to have special metaphysical powers. Although I am not personally opposed to the power of natural stones that have history and science to back them up (such as quartz watches and radios) I feel the need to warn you about spending large amounts of money while seeking a special "fix" to normal human challenges. If it sounds too good to be true...
    Resources

    Print Resources:

    Gemstones of the World by Walter Schumann, ISBN 0-8069-3088-8

    Internet Resources:

    www.google.com
    www.mindat.org
    https://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/silica/780496.pdf (167kb)
    www.wikipedia.org

    Materials

    Wire
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    Beads
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    Cabochons
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    Cherry Quartz 10mm Round Beads - 8 Inch Strand
    A1-120
    • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
    • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
    • Price: $9.45
    • Gold Club Price: $7.09
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    Blue Green Quartz 7x12mm Faceted Nugget Beads - 8 Inch Strand
    A1-58
    • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
    • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
    • Price: $15.97
    • Gold Club Price: $11.98
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    Rose Quartz 12mm Round Beads - 8 Inch Strand
    A1-628
    • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
    • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
    • Price: $11.55
    • Gold Club Price: $8.66
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    Smoky Quartz 10mm Round Beads - 8 Inch Strand
    A1-455
    • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
    • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
    • Price: $8.08
    • Gold Club Price: $6.06
    Out of Stock
    Smoky Quartz 10x14mm Rectangle Cabochon - Pack of 2
    E8-17O
    • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
    • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
    • Price: $6.67
    • Gold Club Price: $5.00
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    Sterling Silver Chain w/Bezelled Golden Rutilated Quartz (12.5x13.3 to 17.5x18.5mm) - 1 Foot
    C8-204U
    • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
    • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
    • Price: $23.67
    • Gold Club Price: $17.75
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    WireJewelry Madagascar Stone Mix Rough - Large Natural Gemstones in 1.5 LB Bag
    E6-100R
    • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
    • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
    • Price: $21.91
    • Gold Club Price: $16.43
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    Tools

    WireJewelry - Ultimate Wire-Pliers Jewelry Pliers with Case, Set of 5
    G15-20
    • G15-20
    • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
    • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
    • Price: $170.72
    • Gold Club Price: $128.04
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    Bench Tools
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    • Category: General Education
    • Technique(s): General Education