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When Silicon and Oxygen form the molecule SiO2 it is called silicon dioxide or silica. We are all familiar with silica in its non-crystalline forms such as sand or glass. Volcanic rock such as obsidian (as shown in the picture below) contains a high amount of silica, however silica in crystalline form is quartz.
Quartz crystals were formed hundreds of thousands of years ago, long before human civilization and were perfectly formed in the earth. Although naturally faceted, many crystals in New Age shops and magic stores have been polished, faceted by machines or altered in other ways.
The extraordinary properties of quartz crystals are physical as well as metaphysical. Every molecule of SiO2 inside your crystals looks just like the whole crystal – as within, so without. Therefore a crystal is a macrocosm of its internal arrangement of molecules.
Quartz crystals have six sides that angle off to six triangles that them come to a point called a termination. Some crystals have three smaller triangles and three larger triangles that come to a termination. Some terminations may be a point, or even a razor like edge.
Chipped points function just as well as “perfect” crystals, because even without their termination point, every molecule inside a quartz crystal is arranged to focus energy to that point (present physically or not).
When one end of your crystal is rough or “broken” is usually means that it grew out of a group of crystals, or a cluster. Like members of the same family, crystals from the same cluster will resemble each other. When crystals grow closely together, their molecules will sometimes grow into each other, creating interesting shapes and energies.
Many crystals are more white or cloudy opposite their termination, and occasionally you will find crystals that are terminated on two ends, known as double terminated. In most of the premium digs in Arkansas in the U.S. these are called Arkimer Diamonds - giving a nod to the well known double terminated quartz crystals found in Herkimer, New York and called Herkimer Diamonds.
Every crystal you find is unique. Like a snowflake, it is exceedingly rare (if not unheard of) to find two crystals exactly alike. Each one has its own properties, personality and uses. The quartz family contains other members:
Citrine: yellow, lemon, gold or even root beer shades. Creativity, energy, uplifting.
Smoky Quartz: yellowish to brown or gray – transparent or opaque. Grounding, protection, shielding, balancing, dispels negativity.
Agape™*, Melody Stone or Super Seven: A unique stone that combines amethyst, smoky quartz, clear quartz, rutile, goethite, lepidochrosite & cacoxenite. Very healing, affects all chakras, enhances all forms of psychic skills and spiritual connections. High energy, balance, harmony.
Tourmalated Quartz: Quartz is included with tourmaline – usually black or green strands. Aligns crown and root chakra, good for travel, balance, astral projection. Keeps a charge well and needs less cleansing than most stones.
Rutilated Quartz: Quartz is included with rutile (TiO2 or titanium dioxide) – usually gold strands or fine hairs running throughout the crystal. Increases energy, focuses will power, helps harmonize a wide variety of perceptions and insights.
Rose Quartz: Pink shades, usually found in mass rather than individual crystals. Composed of micro-crystalline quartz. Heals emotions, self-love and self-acceptance. Dissipates negativity, anger, tension and frustration.
Aventurine: Green, mica inclusions, also in orange, blue and yellow. Increases opportunities and perception. Aventurine is often used for luck, but they simply help you take advantage of opportunities, or perceive opportunities as they arise.
Blue Lace Agate: Light blue sometimes veined with white. Encourages peace, aids psychic skills, increases eloquence and creative expression.
Fire Agate: Looks somewhat similar to fine carnelian, bridges sacral & heart chakras. Energy, passion, creativity.
Moss Agate or Dendric Quartz: Clear or white with green inclusions (usually hornblend) resembling moss or trees. Protection, emotional and mental balance, harmony – especially with natural surroundings.
Carnelian: Orange-red and usually semi-translucent. Focus, concentration, uplifting, energizing, protection.
Cat's Eye, Tiger's Eye & Hawk's Eye: Included with strands of mineral aligned so that when it is cut and polished it shows a reflection across the stone. Found in gold, red and blue or blue-green colors respectively, each with their own special characteristics. Protection, perception and clear thinking, discovering truth, luck. Like Aventurine, eye stones are often used for luck, but they simply help you take advantage of opportunities, or perceive opportunities as they arise.
Chrysoprase: A delightful green-apple color. Motivation, uplifting, will power, patience, understanding, balance, appropriate emotional expression.
Bloodstone or Heliotrope: Dark green & red. Stimulates energy, removes emotional blocks, grounds heart chakra, very healing, balances heart chakra.
Jasper: red, brown, black, white – many varieties often spotted, striped or swirled. Balancing, handling emotional stress. Color often indicates use – red for root chakra, yellow or picture jasper for spleen or solar plexus.
Picture Agate & Picture Jasper: A stone that has been cut to display its banding to look like a landscape picture. Increases left/right brain connection. Imagination, visualization.
Petrified Wood: Various colors, sometimes with wood grain. Grounding, reaching goals, connecting with natural environment, removing obstacles.
Ametrine: A blend of citrine and amethyst along with their properties. Stimulates intellect, balancing, releasing negativity and prejudice.
Other Cryptocrystalline Quartz:
- Shiva Lingam or Lingham – a river stone carved like an egg, sometimes with slightly flattened ends. Fertility, sexual balance, energy. Usually from the Narmada river, one of India's seven holy sites.
- Onyx & Sardonyx: Striped form of chalcedony with parallel bands of silica minerals and morganite, often carved to create cameos. The parallel bands are very distinguishing, as agates have more chaotic banding. Self-control, courage, controlled expression. Black onyx used much for protection.
- Chalcedony: Uplifting, balancing, promotes good will, brightens mood.
References & Resources
* "Agape" is Trade Mark: Crystal Seen Trading Co. | 2568 Hwy 270 E. | Mount Ida, AR 71957