Rutilated Quartz: Golden Threads in Glass
Rutilated quartz is a quartz crystal that includes needle-like inclusions of the mineral rutile. This inclusion creates a dramatic effect within the stone.
What is Rutilated Quartz?
The quartz stone is an extremely common stone that comes in many varieties. Clear quartz, the most common variety, can be completely transparent or an opaque white color. Amethyst is another type of quartz which comes in a brilliant purple color, and rose quartz appears in a warm pink shade.
All of these varieties are possible because of how common quartz stone is and how it can mix with other minerals to create unique stones. When rutile grows through quartz stone it is called rutilated quartz. This quartz is comprised largely of clear quartz. The clearer the surrounding quartz is, the more visible the rutile will be. Rutile is a mineral that has one of the highest refractive indices and this adds to the appearance of the rutilated quartz.
Rutilated quartz usually contains inclusions that range from golden to copper. The inclusions can be significant and pervade the entire quartz crystal or they can be sparse and only run through small sections of the crystal. The inclusions can also be extremely thin or thicker and they may run together or cross each other.
Rutile growths may even extend beyond the quartz crystal. Due to the differing densities of rutile and quartz, the material can be difficult to work with. Items of jewelry made from rutilated quartz may show pitting due to the inability to smooth both minerals at the same rates.
History of Rutilated Quartz
Rutilated quartz has been used for ornamental purposes since ancient times. Due to the common nature of quartz, rutilated quartz is found in many areas despite being a rare variety of quartz.
Taking Care of Rutilated Quartz
Quartz is a relatively hard mineral with rutile being slightly softer. The care of rutilated quartz is extremely similar to the care of ordinary quartz. The stone can be cleaned by a warm, damp cloth and jewelry cleaning solutions should usually be avoided.
Automatic jewelry cleaning systems such as sonic cleaners should also be avoided. Quartz jewelry should be kept either in a padded box or in a cloth bag to avoid scratches. Steam cleaners should not be used with rutilated quartz.
Rutilated Quartz Buying Guide
Rutilated quartz is usually relatively inexpensive. Rutilated quartz can come in yellow, gray, purple or clear but the clear versions are usually more highly prized.
Rutilated quartz is not usually sold by the carat but instead by the piece of stone. Rarer types of inclusion and rarer colors of inclusion will usually be priced higher. This means that the cost of a piece of rutilated quartz may be determined by the attractiveness of the stone itself rather than by more specific metrics such as clarity and hue.
Rutilated quartz cabochons usually sell at less than $5 a carat despite their popularity. An even dispersal of rutile is often seen as more attractive than an asymmetrical dispersal, and a bright golden color is usually preferable to a copper or brown color. Beyond this, the price of rutilated quartz may be more subjective than the pricing of many other types of semi-precious gemstones.
Rutilated quartz is often considered more valuable when the rutile formation is completely encased within the quartz material. This means that the rutile does not extend beyond the quartz at all in any direction. Rutilated quartz in this form is far easier to smooth and polish, because the jeweler does not have to worry about the different structures of the materials.