Gem of the Month

Each month this section will feature either a topic of interest to gem lovers or one special gemstone with background on the material and its value.

Go to: Homepage -- what's new in faceted gems -- what's new in designer cabochons and gem carvings -- gem of the month -- gem of the month archive -- birthstone of the month -- key to all the codes used on the ACS site -- definitions of terms used on the ACS site -- how to order -- about ACS -- about the ACS cutters -- settings for these gems --faceting information -- purchase UltraTec equipment

 

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October, 2003

Rose Quartz

Pale to light to medium dark pink, slightly to moderately hazy crystalline or massive quartz is called rose quartz. It has long been a favorite for beads, carvings, art objects and jewelry. No other gem has quite the same look of silvery-pink mistiness. All quartzes are widely distributed, but rose quartz is less common than most and generally doesn't occur in as large sizes as many of the other varieties do. The slightly to moderately translucent, hazy interior is caused by discontinuities of the crystal structure which make this variety slightly more brittle than others, but still tough enough for most jewelry uses. When minute rutile needles are distributed as inclusions "asterism" results producing star rose quartz.

The pink color has two possible sources: usually it is quite stable and due to titanium impurities, but there is a less common and less stable type which is thought to be due to phosphorus color centers which can fade slightly with extreme light or heat. Of all the forms of crystalline quartz, rose quartz shows the greatest degree of dichroism, often a surprising amount considering its generally pale color.

The highest quality material is mined in Madagascar, but the greatest volume comes from Brazil. There are also significant deposits in the US, Japan, Namibia and Russia. The highest yielding geological formations are pegmatites and hydrothermal veins.

The rose quartz found in today's marketplace has occasionally been enhanced by irradiation to produce darker colors -- this treatment is undetectable and stable, and therefore tolerated as "standard" in the marketplace. You can avoid the treated ones, in general, by sticking with the traditional paler colors. Glass imitations exist, but are easily detected by their clarity and the presence, within, of swirls and bubbles.


Value Considerations

Beyond having at least visible pink color and not being too cloudy, most of the value associated with rose quartz pieces comes from the artistry of the fashioning--this is generally true of modestly priced lapidary materials. An exception to this would be star stones which have enhanced value due to the star phenomenon.
Gemological Properties:

Chemical Composition: Silicon Dioxide (SiO2)

Crystal System: Hexagonal

RI: 1.54 - 1.55

Density: 2.65

DR: .009

Dispersion: .013

Pleochroism: moderate to strong in shades of pink

Cleavage: none

Luster: Vitreous

Fracture: Conchoidal

Hardness: 7

Toughness: Good


Stones Currently Available:

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Go to: Homepage -- what's new in faceted gems -- what's new in designer cabochons and gem carvings -- gem of the month -- gem of the month archive -- birthstone of the month -- key to all the codes used on the ACS site -- definitions of terms used on the ACS site -- how to order -- about ACS -- about the ACS cutters -- settings for these gems --faceting information -- purchase UltraTec equipment