Quartz is one of the most common minerals on earth. It is well loved as amethyst, citrine, rose, and smoky quartz. There are many other natural varieties, plus synthetic quartz that comes in every color of the rainbow.
Amethyst ranges from a light, pinkish violet to an opaque purple. The lightest shades are called “Rose de France.” While currently out of vogue, they have traditionally been very fashionable. Today, the variety most in demand is “Siberian.” That does not refer to its origin, but to dark purple coloring, with flashes of red or blue.
Citrine is the yellow to orange variety of quartz. These are the colors traditionally associated with topaz, and they are still confused by many. Its color ranges from a light lemon yellow, to a rich orange. “Madeira” citrine is a strong orange color, with red flashes. It is created by heat treating citrine with the proper iron content and demands the highest price.
Smoky quartz is also mistaken for topaz. It comes in every shade of brown, from a light tan to nearly black. “Chocolate citrine” is a pleasant brownish/yellow color. Smoky quartz is known for its large sizes. The person who wants a really big gem, without a really big budget, often ends up with one of these.
Rose quartz receives its coloring fromfibrous inclusions of a mineral similar to dumortierite. It is always a light to medium pink, but sometimes is influenced by amethyst and picks up a violet shade. Until the 1980s, when a new deposit was discovered in Madagascar, it was never found completely transparent. Indeed, one of its best uses is for star cabs and spheres.
Relatively new on the market is ametrine, with zones of both purple and yellow. The colors only reach a medium level of saturation and are never very dark. Cutting the material so both color show is sometimes a challenge for the lapidary. However, a well cut, bi-colored gem is a real delight. Ametrine is only found in Bolivia.
Quartz is one of the most common minerals in B.C., it occurs in many types of rock formations. Amethyst lined geodes occur at Little River Camp near Squilax, on Green Mt. Rd. near Penticton, and near Cherry Creek. Fine deposits of agate are found throughout the province. There is a great variety, ranging from fine blue agate, moss agate, banded agate, eye agate, and red agate resembling Mexican agate (locations are to numerous to mention). Along with agates other forms of chalcedony are found , including onyx, jasper, and petrified wood.