People can accept a certain amount of sand, mud, and dust as common ingredients in life. What they may not know is that most of this material is quartz—one of the most common minerals on Earth.
Rose quartz is one of the varieties of quartz used as a gem material. Named for its delicate pink color, it can range from very light (almost white) to moderately dark. The most attractive colors are usually large stones; small rose quartz samples of beautiful color are rare. The rose quartz found is usually bulky and therefore lacks the usual flat crystal faces. Rose quartz is commonly found in pegmatites, but is also found in hydrothermal veins.
Research has shown that rose quartz’s delicate pink color is due to the tiny inclusions of neatly arranged silicate mineral fibers. Advanced testing has shown that they are generally similar, but not identical, to the mineral bluestone. The fibers crystallized during the cooling of the host gemstone and aligned along the crystal direction of the rose quartz.
The inclusions in this pink gemstone give the gem its signature cloudy and translucent appearance, all of which are often beaded and cabochon-cut. Sometimes, if the finished gemstone is cut into a cabochon and oriented correctly, the inclusions will create a six-shot star. A great example shows a sharp, clear star floating above an even pink body color. The most transparent rose quartz rough may be faceted. Cutters can enhance the delicate color of gemstones by applying concave facets and cutting larger stones.
In addition to the typical cloudy rose quartz (color due to inclusions), there is a type of clear quartz that is pink due to a different mechanism. Some in the industry refer to it as “pink crystalline quartz,” “crystalline rose quartz,” or simply “pink quartz.” Compared to the larger rose quartz, this quartz is very rare and may form beautifully transparent, clustered, well-shaped crystals. The best examples come from Brazil, especially the deposits near Galiléia, in the governorate of Valadares, in the state of Minas Gerais. The best quality are often reserved for mineral specimens, which can command high prices at auction.
Rose quartz beading dates back to 7000 BC and was found in what was once known as Mesopotamia (now Iraq). According to records, the Assyrians were already making rose quartz jewelry around 800-600 BC. The Assyrians and Romans were probably the first humans to use this gem.
The earliest recorded human beings believed in the magic of quartz. Therefore, people in ancient Roman, Egyptian and Greek civilizations regarded quartz crystals as efficacious amulets. The Romans used rose quartz as a seal of ownership; the Egyptians believed that wearing this gem would prevent aging.