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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Quartz

Rectangular step-cut pink quartz weighing 0.75 ct.
Photo by Ken Larsen. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G10662-00
Locality Madagascar
Weight 0.75 ct

Gift of Luciana Barbosa in 2010.

Quartz is one of the most abundant minerals in the Earth’s crust. It is the major constituent of beach sand and an important component of many types of rocks. Quartz is composed of the elements silicon and oxygen. In its pure state it is colorless, but just small amounts of various impurity atoms can yield a variety of colors. Rose quartz ranges in color from pink to deep rose red. It is typically found in massive chunks and rarely occurs in the form of individual crystals. Most rose quartz appears turbid, and deep-colored flawless material is uncommon. Consequently, it is more suited for beads, cabochons, and carvings than faceted gemstones. The most important sources for rose quartz are Brazil and Madagascar. This step-cut rose quartz is unique not only because it is quite transparent and faceted, but it also has inclusions of the mineral diopside. Diopside is a calcium-magnesium oxide, typically green in color, and commonly forms in short prismatic crystals as seen here.


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