Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Let's Talk Quartz

As an artisan jeweler I have had to learn about gemstones (and since they are so pretty and sparkly, you can imagine how horrible that has been). I have educated myself on common and not-so-common gemstones, gemstone families (ex: corundum which is sapphire and ruby), the Mohs Hardness Scale (Talc being the softest, diamond the hardest) and a bunch of other technical things I will not bore you with.

Yesterday I received a flier/ catalog from a retail jewelry store. Every girl loves to look at jewelry, so I flipped through it last night. When I got to the colored gemstone section, I became irritated. Let me tell you why. I believe in charging a fair price for my creations (what did I pay for the raw materials+ my time) and I also tell my customer what they are receiving. My irritation was over a $700 "Green Amethyst" ring and my irritation was for two reasons:  One - "Green Amethyst" is actually called Prasiolite and Two - I felt the price tag was well above and beyond the real value. Let me explain further.

Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz. Prasiolite is the green. Citrine is the orange and Smokey Quartz is the brown. You get where this is going? So calling Prasiolite "Green Amethyst" would be like calling Citrine "Orange Amethyst". While most customers would not know what Prasiolite is, telling them it's Green Amethyst isn't educating them either. I know the first part of my irritation may seem petty, but I would rather give my customers a little education into what they are buying than tell them the wrong thing.

The second part of my irritation is this:  Quartz is not rare. In fact, it is the second most abundant mineral in Earth's crust. Since it's not rare, it's not terribly expensive. In fact, you can get a very nice large Prasiolite for under $100 (and by you, I mean someone who pays retail). While the ring was in gold (which drove part of the price) and had some small diamonds (melee diamonds aren't expensive either), it did not warrant the price tag. It wasn't an amazing design. In fact, it was rather common.

So now, lets have a little quartz show and tell!
Faceted Prasiolite

Rough Prasiolite
Quartz with Amethyst Phantom
Faceted Amethyst
Amethyst Rough
Faceted Citrine
Citrine Rough
Crystal Quartz Rough
Quartz with Lepidocrocite
Quartz with Rutile
Rose Quartz Geode
Bolivian Ametrine Rough (Citrine & Amethyst grown together)
Smokey Quartz Rough
Quartz with gilalite inclusions
As you can see, there is a WIDE variety of quartz and it is beautiful! The above pictures are just a small sample of what is out there.

If you love gemstones as much as I do, be sure to follow me on Pinterest. I have an awesome Gemstone board. You can find my artisan jewelry in my Etsy shop. Also be sure to check out my Facebook Fan page where you can get sneak peaks on what I'm working on.

Do you want to learn more about gemstones? What stones would you like me to feature next? Let me know in the comments section.

Until tomorrow - Melissa