Rock crystals are the purest examples of quartz – a material that has been widely used in jewellery, art and tableware for centuries. It is still widely used as a popular ornamental stone and is also used as a gemstone.
Although it is one of the least expensive gemstones, cut rock crystal has been used as imitation diamonds. Rock crystal lacks the fire, colour and the rarity to be ranked as a fine precious gemstone. Yet it is widely used as a gemstone due to its beauty, affordability, availability, and ease of cutting.
The ancient Greeks called it Krustallos, a name derived from a word that translates as “ice” or “icy cold”. Their legends said that the Olympian gods had cried for mankind and when their tears fell on earth they turned to ice and formed rock crystals.
The most common use for rock crystal is in ornamental carvings. A well known use of this crystal is in the manufacture of crystal balls – used for fortune telling and large, intricate chandeliers that are often adorned with rock crystals.
Powers of Healing:
Some believe a rock crystal is one of the most powerful healing stones which can be applied to a broad scope of metaphysical problems. It is said to be very suitable for healing wounds that originate in the past, like for example those suffering from memories of a bad childhood.
They are also said to be useful for enhancing an individual’s self-esteem and confidence. Rock crystals are known to multiply energy in general and are also used to re-energise other crystals, by virtue of their inherent ability to accommodate and incorporate energy emitted by other crystals.
Given their power to cleanse, balance and energise other crystals, rock crystals have been used by practitioners of the mystic arts for a variety of purposes including astral travel, channeling, inducing lucid dreaming and dream recall.
Different Types of Rock Crystal:
Rock crystal can have many different shapes. It can be short or long, terminated on one or both sides it can even be a member of an extended cluster formation. Many rock crystals have different inclusions throughout their bulky structure, like bubbles, wedges, phantoms, keys, eyes, bridges, etc. These can be faceted very differently in all crystal shapes and forms.
The best rock crystal sources are in the famous Hot Springs area of Arkansas, USA; Cumberland, England; St. Gotthard, Switzerland; Brazil and Madagascar. Large individual deposits of quartz have been found in Brazil, with the largest specimen said to be weighing in excess of 44 tons.
Rock crystal often has inclusions of other minerals and these inclusions sometimes produce popular varieties of ornamental stone. Golden rutile inclusions produce aunique stone named rutilated quartz, which has a very hair-like look.
Another aptly named stone is called tourmalinated quartz and contains intricately crossing needles of black schorltourmaline trapped in the clear crystal.
Phantoms are a result of inclusions that occur when other minerals such as chlorite, hematite or even milky quartz form as a crust on the surface of the crystal during a hiatus in the crystal’s growth.
The crystal then grows out and surrounds the encrusting growth, encasing it inside. It appears that there is a crystal inside the crystal. The encrustations are often incomplete or diffuse and appear ghostly, hence the name phantom.
Other Varieties of Quartz:
Rock crystal is only one of several quartz varieties. Other prominent varieties of quartz include:
Amethyst – (Purple gemstone variety).
Citrine – (Yellow to orange gemstone variety).
Milky Quartz– (Cloudy white).
Prasiolite – (Leek-green).
Rose quartz – (Pink to reddish pink).
Smoky quartz – (Brown to gray).
So, the next time you chance upon a large chunk of colourless gemstone in a fine piece of jewellery, it could well be a large rock crystal that has been placed there by the designer due to its versatility, affordability or perhaps its healing powers.