Siskiyou county like many other places have rock hounds of all ages, so having a gem and mineral class at Shasta View Nursing Estate would not be anything new. The class was all about Amethyst quartz crystal.
Quartz naturally occurs in form of a mineral which is desirable. Beside its beauty and value for many more reasons not stated, quartz is the second most common mineral on planet earth. Minerals are continuously studied in the geological world. And under special condition mineral crystals can continue to grow slowly while undisturbed.
Quartz is a chemical compound of silicon and oxygen, silicon dioxide Si02 also commonly called silica. Classification: Mineral and Specific Gravity: 6.5
Quartz is colorless, transparent as well as a very hard crystalline material, it’s like looking through a glass window. Yet in the gem and jewelry world all gemstones including quartz crystal, other than diamond are called colored stones. So, if it is not a diamond, it’s a colored stone. It’s odd to me, but that’s’ the way it is in the gem and jewelry trade.
Another common name for quartz is rock crystal a six-sided prisms with a six sided pyramid at their ends, thus being a well-formed crystals of quartz. Yet it common to see forms as druzes which are crystalline crusts that only show the pointed terminations.
When quartz contains impurities as a small trace of iron and aluminum or other minerals it appears in a rainbow of different hues (colors), form vibrant pinks, violets, smoky, brownish-red, tan, orange, colors of the ski and ocean including many more.
The old term “precious” in the gem and jewelry world once was set for stones: diamond, which is not rare but carefully control on how many diamond gems make it to the market world to influence prices, then there is the emerald, ruby, sapphire, and at one time amethyst was on that list, until amethyst became more available for the gem and jewelry world.
Amethyst can range in saturation (brightness and dullness) and value (light and darker), depending on location of country and the particular mine. Specimen’s hues (colors), shape of crystal, inclusions, character of formation and association, identifies the source mine.
The natural coloration is due to a very small combination of aluminum and iron. Colors from bluish, pale pink, violet, purple, deep dark, purple wine, reddish, and smoky purple. Amethyst is graded by color, cut, clarity and carat weight. It’s Mohn’s hardness rating of 7. The best stones are faceted.
It’s not only impurities that can change colors in different types of quartz, different heat treatment can enhance, lighten, darken or completely change the hue ( the original color).
Amethyst is also graded by using terms; Siberian, Uruguayan or Bahrain; to represent respectively low to medium to high-grade, regardless of the actual source it comes from. Also due to the mixed of the color distribution in the crystals, amethyst is often cut as brilliant round cuts to maximize the color. And when the color is better distributed other cuts are used.
This purple crystal quartz is considered the Zodiac Sign of Aquarius: January 21st – February 19th. Amethyst is also given for the 4th and 6th year of a marriage anniversary.
Amethyst associated symbolism is peace, inner strength, courage, balance and stability. It was the perfect gift for each of the ladies that attendant the class that afternoon.