"The rocks of the original soil, he wrote, are arranged in perpendicular layers or inclined towards the horizon. They are composed of quartz, granite, shale, slate and talcose."
- Father of modern chemistry and French polymath, Antoine Lavoisier.
- Father of modern chemistry and French polymath, Antoine Lavoisier.
Did You Know?
Quartz is, as a matter of fact, the second most widely available mineral on the continental crust of the earth, covering almost ⅛th of it, beaten only by feldspar. Even though the purest form of quartz is essentially colorless, either transparent or slightly clouded, there are innumerable varieties of quartz that are diversely hued and can be found all over the world, no matter what the temperature conditions of a place are.
Quartz happens to be present in all three types of rocks - igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary. Agate, amethyst, aventurine, carnelian, chalcedony, citrine, drusy quartz, heliotrope, jasper, milk quartz, onyx, prasiolite, rock crystal, rose quartz, rutilated quartz, smoky quartz, tiger's eye, and many other quartz varieties, some of which are extremely celebrated and sought after semi precious stones.
Quartz is used for a number purposes on a daily basis, worldwide and the basic reason behind that is, quartz has a few extremely essential attributes due to which quartz uses are multiplying by the day. But, before we move on to checking out some vital uses of quartz, check out what certain varieties of quartz actually look like.
Characteristics of Quartz
Quartz is one of the hardest minerals known to man, scoring a very high 7 on Mohs scale (the highest being diamond with a score of 10). This makes it extremely resistive to any form of either physical or chemical corrosion.
Owing to its natural hardness, quartz happens to be the 4th most scratch proof mineral on earth, humbled only by diamond, sapphire and topaz.
Heat resistance and electrical activeness
As I pointed out earlier, quartz is found all over the globe in spite of varied temperature conditions. This makes it a mineral which can withstand extremely high temperature. It is also a fantastic isolator in which the anisotropic crystals contained in quartz show linear dimension alterations in tandem with the alteration of electric field as applied to certain faces of quartz. These qualities make quartz an extremely important crystal that can serve several electronic purposes, even though it is not a very good conductor itself.
Quartz exhibits a maximum amount of chemical inactivity when in contact with most known chemicals to man. It would take a lot to change or alter the chemical composition of quartz.
Most forms of quartz are imbued with beautiful colors and happen to display some very exclusive and exquisite patterns. It is therefore that variant quartz varieties are employed to make jewelry as well as other artifacts such as statuettes, vases and other encrusted trinkets.
Common Uses of Quartz
Evidently, it is the quartz characteristics determine the variant quartz uses. Let us see some of the most common uses of quartz which aren't purely ornamental.
- Owing to its hardness and corrosion resistance, quartz is often used to make abrasive items such as sandpaper and other such abrading articles. Other than that quartz is used for the manufacture of grinding media and the process of sandblasting.
- Whetstones or smooth stones for sharpening edged tools or knives can be made from quartz given their hardness. Even hones are made from quartz which in turn are used to sharpen razors. Also, refractory bricks are made of quartz due to the sheer strength of the mineral.
- Quartz is a very popular material which is used for kitchen countertops, given that it is not extremely porous and so food particles and fluids do not get trapped in it. Subsequently, the growth of germs is harnessed by quartz. Also, quartz is available in myriad colors and is majorly stain resistant. So, in a battle between quartz vs. granite countertops, the former wins hands down. Also, for very similar reasons, quartz can be and is widely used in bathrooms as well.
- Quartz is used to make crucibles, which are basically vessels that do not melt easily and are employed for performing for high temperature chemical reactions. It also does not actively react with chemicals or yield to their corrosive effects.
- Quartz can channelize ultra violet light and, therefore, is used for manufacturing UV prisms and lenses.
- Quartz is used in quartz wristwatches, clocks, computers, mobile phones, radios, television receivers, and navigational instruments that function with the help of a quartz oscillator. This quartz oscillator is nothing but an electrical circuit that has a crystal displaying piezoelectric properties. This means that under a particular amount of mechanical stress, the crystal can whip up a temporary electrical signal that has a very steady and rhythmic frequency by vibrating incessantly. Quartz is one such crystal that generates piezoelectricity and is thus used to not only keep a tab on time but also for stabilizing radio frequencies.
- Quartz is used for making glasses of all kinds including fiberglass and container glass. Sometimes, both glass and quartz is commingled to produce lenses and other glass products that exhibit the qualities of both.
- Silica based quartz sand is often used as foundry sand which is blended with cohesive agents such as clay and oil, among others, and then used for the purpose of molding and casting. Also, any crude edges on metals after they have been cast, cut or drilled is also burred or removed with the help of microcrystalline quartz.
- As a continuation of the previous point, flint - a microcrystalline quartz (a.k.a. cryptocrystalline quartz) - is today used in the medical field as sharp cutting sides of highly refined surgical tools for ultimate precision and efficincy.
- Quartz sand is also added to molten metals so that it bonds with impurities which then can be easily removed.
- Quartz sand is also used in beaches, baseball arenas, golf courses, volleyball courts, as well as children's sand boxes and also employed for traction purposes in rail tracks and mines.
- Making for fantastic filter media, once they have been screened and washed, quartz sand grains are also expended as effective fillers in the paint, putty, and rubber industries.
- Quartz crystal has a metaphysical and spiritual healing properties which helps a person to de-clutter. When placed on the particular chakra that is choked up by negative elements. Quartz can help ventilate negative energies and restore positive vibrations in a person's mental and physical space so as to allow the person to think clearly and optimistically. It is believed by some healers that the rose quartz can help an individual to reconnect with one's basic self. A verve enhancer, it is believed to fortify teeth and bones, detoxify the body and boost sleight.
- Tripoli, a very high quality, crystalline silica is used in toothpastes, soaps, as well as buffing, metal polishing and jewelry polishing compounds owing to its very mild abrasive qualities.
So, those were some of the innumerable quartz uses. For a common man, quartz jewelry and wrist watches remain is something that is used on a daily basis. Human beings have been using quartz for a long time now for various purposes, be it for making phonograph pickups or for hardstone carvings. With the number of constructive properties that this mineral has and its sheer availability to a large number of people on earth, one doesn't have to guess that the uses of quartz is on the rise. It's just a matter of time before all the dynamics of this crystal is discovered, just like Nicolas Steno had suddenly discovered that even the prism fronts of the most deformed crystal formed a precise 60° angle, that opened up a whole new door in the field of crystallography.