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Article: Quartz


Etymology and Early Studies

  • The word 'quartz' is derived from the German word 'Quarz' and has origins in Polish and Czech terms.
  • Ancient Greeks referred to quartz as 'κρύσταλλος' (krustallos) meaning icy cold.
  • Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder believed quartz to be water ice and observed its ability to split light.
  • Nicolas Steno's study of quartz in the 17th century paved the way for modern crystallography.

Crystal Habit and Structure

  • Quartz belongs to the trigonal and hexagonal crystal systems.
  • The ideal crystal shape is a six-sided prism with pyramids at each end.
  • Well-formed crystals typically form as a druse, and quartz geodes are fine examples.
  • Different types of quartz, such as α-quartz and β-quartz, have chiral crystal structures.

Varieties of Quartz (Microstructure and Color)

  • Fibrous quartz, carnelian, aventurine, agate, and onyx are examples of quartz varieties based on microstructure.
  • Pure quartz, citrine, rose quartz, amethyst, smoky quartz, and milky quartz are examples based on color.
  • Color variations in quartz arise from impurities that change molecular orbitals.
  • Chalcedony is a cryptocrystalline form of silica consisting of intergrowths of quartz and moganite.

Specific Quartz Varieties (Blue Quartz, Citrine, Milky Quartz, Rose Quartz, Smoky Quartz)

  • Blue quartz contains inclusions of fibrous magnesio-riebeckite or crocidolite and is considered a minor gemstone.
  • Citrine ranges in color from pale yellow to brown and is often heat-treated amethyst or smoky quartz.
  • Milky quartz is the most common variety and has a white color caused by fluid inclusions.
  • Rose quartz exhibits a pale pink to rose red hue due to trace amounts of titanium, iron, or manganese.
  • Smoky quartz is a gray, translucent version of quartz that can range from almost transparent to almost opaque.

Uses, Synthesis, and Piezoelectricity

  • Quartz has been used in Australian Aboriginal mythology, European passage tombs, and for stone tools.
  • The electronics industry relies on quartz crystals.
  • Quartz can be synthesized, and high-purity quartz crystals are rare and expensive.
  • Quartz crystals have piezoelectric properties and are used in phonograph pickups, oscillators, and clocks.
  • Synthetic quartz is primarily used in the electronics industry, while natural quartz is sought after for crystal healing.
  • Quartz mining can involve primitive methods and child labor in developing countries.
  • Quartz is used in various industrial applications, including glass production, ceramics, and electronics.
  • Quartz dust can be harmful to human health and has environmental impacts such as habitat destruction and water pollution.

Quartz Data Sources

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