What is Quartz?

Posted by Rock Solid Worktops on 23 January 2017 at 4:55pm

Since the dawn of time, spiritual healers and meditators alike, have looked to exploit the positive energy that quartz is able to store though its ability to absorb sunlight. From magical enchantments to funerary rites, clear quartz has been the metaphorical touch-stone for the understanding of the human condition in culture and tradition around the world.

An abundant, natural stone, quartz is actually a compound called silicon dioxide, and is found at the earth’s surface all over the world. More often colourless (shown lower right), oxygen and silica form hexagonal shaped prisms which refract light.

Quartz is the major component in sand, and is found within igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. The colours often seen in quartz derive from impurities in the rock; a combination of iron and irradiation, for example, produce the violet colour associated with amethyst (shown above top).

Incredibly hard and resistant to heat and many chemicals, quartz is not only very durable, but it has many unique properties which make it a valuable resource in a wide range of applications. If a crystal of quartz is accurately cut and shaped like a tiny tuning fork, and if a small current is applied from a battery, it will oscillate at a set frequency - normally tuned to 32,768 Hz. This means that quartz can, and is, used to accurately regulate time in clocks, watches and computers. Indeed, quartz has been vital to the advancement of digital technology and everything that goes with it in our modern lives.

Quartz is used in heavy industry such as in foundries, fracking operations and mining, and the range of colour found in some quartz crystals affords the jeweller a rich palette with which to create a range of pendants, ornaments and other treasures.

When mixed with acrylic resin, special additives and pigmentation, crushed quartz is used in the manufacture of composite stone slabs. Composite quartz is formed under high pressure, making the finished material resistant to heat and acids, and less prone to staining than natural rock such as granite and marble. There is no requirement for sealing quartz composite slabs since it is naturally non-porous; hence, the product is well suited for use as work surfaces in kitchens and similar environments where safe hygiene standards are a priority. The material is robust against accidents with crockery or sharp implements, and maintenance is easy and hassle free; down to nothing more than cleaning with everyday household detergents.

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