Friday, May 22, 2009

Colored Quartzes - Sun Shy

I’m all for glamour, but when you’re lounging poolside at your favorite South Beach hotel, sipping Pina Coladas and stargazing, it’s not a good idea to wear your favorite citrine or amethyst chandeliers and bracelet – even if it does make the whole bathing ensemble thing POP.

The second most common mineral in the earth's crust, quartz is also the most varied in terms of varieties, colors and forms; it is also a relatively hard stone (7 on the Mohs scale) that wears well.

That said, most colored ‘gemmy’ quartz on the market today is heat-treated to achieve a particular color. Popular colored quartzes include amethyst, citrine, ametrine (a hybrid of amethyst and citrine), rose quartz, smoky quartz and prasiolite; all of these are heat-treated to achieve color or intensify color. (For instance, although citrine does occur naturally, the majority is the result of heat-treated amethyst.) More recently on the market are subtly colored neutral quartzes in pale yellowish-to-brown shades that go by names like "cognac quartz," “whiskey quartz,” “beer quartz” and “champagne quartz,” all of them heat-treated.

And ‘heat-treated’ means that heat -- from whatever source, including solar – can, over time, cause a quartz's color to either change OR remove the color altogether, leaving a muddy hue. 

Learn more about colored quartzes at Glimmerdream's Gem Journeys.

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