Friday, February 24, 2012

Tourmalated Green Quartz

Quartz is one of the most abundant minerals on earth, accounting for as much as 10% of the total crust of the planet. It can be found in just about any kind of geographical setting and is found all over the world.

Tourmalated quartz, a.k.a. tourmalinated quartz or tourmaline quartz, is a variety of quartz that has inclusions of tourmaline, typically black schorl, growing through or out of it. Tourmaline is not a single mineral, but a group of several closely related minerals. The three most well-known members are elbaite, schorl, and dravite.
Sometimes the tourmaline inclusions in quartz are thin needles, either sticking out of the quartz or completely encased in it, similar in form to those found in rutilated quartz. Rutile formations tend to be more red or orange in color. Tourmalinated quartz is less common than rutilated quartz.

What’s interesting about this stone? Wow, tons!  First, let's mention that quartz is well known for it’s many uses, owing to its high thermal and chemical stability and abundance. It's widely used in many applications; abrasives (silicon), foundry materials, wristwatches, electronics, ceramics and cements to name just few. It is also known for it’s powerful resonance of energy and healing powers.
Add that to tourmaline, which has many unusual optical - and electrical - properties. Most specimens are strongly pleochroic, an optical phenomenon in which a substance appears to be different colors when observed at different angles with polarized light. In other tourmalines, the color may actually be different when viewed at different angles. Here's an example of a light tourmaline from two angles -

Now for some (more) cool stuff. Tourmaline is also both pyroelectric and piezoelectric. Pyroelectricity (from the Greek pyr, fire) is the ability of certain materials to generate a temporary voltage when they are heated or cooled. The change in temperature modifies the positions of the atoms slightly within the crystal structure, such that the polarization of the material changes. This polarization change gives rise to a voltage across the crystal. The pyroelectric effect is also present in both bone and tendon, whoa. (Enhanced bone regeneration by electrical polarization is currently being researched. Regrowth of bones!)
Piezoelectricity (from the Greek piezo or piezein to squeeze or press) means electricity resulting from pressure. The first demonstration of the direct piezoelectric effect was in 1880 by the brothers Pierre Curie and Jacques Curie. They demonstrated this electrical effect using crystals of tourmaline, quartz, topaz, cane sugar, and Rochelle salt. The first practical application for piezoelectric devices was sonar.
So tourmaline, combined with the strong resonance of quartz, just amplifies all these energies. Want to attempt to regrow bone? Or speak with dolphins? Try tourmalatad quartz. This is one powerful stone.
You can find some of this energy-enhancing stone in my shop -

Good stuff.

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