The Art Medium Quartz

Quartz is a semi-precious gemstone boasting many different varieties. In many parts of the world quartz varieties have been popular minerals used to make jewelry and other precious items since ancient times. Pure quartz, known as rock crystal, is clear and colorless. It’s a popular mineral for hard stone carvings or use in jewelry design. Other popular quartz types include rose quartz, amethyst, citrine, aventurine, milky quartz, tiger’s eye, chalcedony, carnelian, smoky quartz, prasiolite, agate, jasper, and onyx. However, there are considerably more varieties of quartz found throughout the world. Quartz is revered for its piezoelectric properties; however, these were not discovered until the late nineteenth century.

Quartz varieties are commonly found in sedimentary rocks such as shale or sandstone. Quartz is a common mineral found all over the world. Growing as crystals, quartz is prized for its beauty as well as its durability. Prehistoric people like various groups in Ireland made tools from quartz. Quartz items have also been discovered in ancient passage tombs of the isle. The mineral’s most ancient name comes from the Greek word ‘kristallos.’ The first written record of its name comes from Theophrastus and dates to 300 BC. The composition of quartz is silicon dioxide. This material scores a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness.

Some of the largest quartz crystals hail from Brazil. Certain types of quartz, however, are associated with various locations. For instance, smoky quartz is abundant in the state of Colorado. Arkansas is famous for its deposits of flawless rock crystals. As a useful mineral, quartz is, today, important for many industries. However, its use as an art medium has been continuous since the prehistoric era to the present. Amethyst, citrine, carnelian, and chalcedony continue to be important gems and minerals the world over. Their hardness coupled with their individual properties make them ideal for use in jewels and precious objects.

Jewel artisans past and present have used quartz varieties to fashion beads. Quartz varieties have been fashioned into bracelets, pendants, earrings, and more. Certain varieties like carnelian have often been carved for use in cameos or seal rings. While gem-grade quartz like amethyst has been featured in the art works of some of the most celebrated jewelry designers in the world like Carl Faberge, lesser quality quartz such as lesser-grade rock crystal has been a popular art medium among amateur jewel crafters and artisans for centuries. The finest grade quartz varieties are associated with great value.