Materials: Quartz

by Samantha Lile

Spiritualists consider quartz a master cleaner that dispels negativity and sweeps away negative energy. In the home, quartz not only purifies the spiritual aura of any room, but it also creates surfaces tougher than granite that give a sense of history to any decorative scheme. 

Naturally-occurring quartz surfaces began 550 million years ago as forces deep within the Earth shifted, allowing magma to seep up through compiled sediment. Throughout geologic history, a variety of rocks formed, many of which ultimately contained crystals that grew over time. Quartz is the second-most abundant mineral in the Earth's crust, and humans have been crafting it into personal items since the dawn of antiquity. Ancient peoples believed quartz was an ice that never melted, and the Romans commonly carved rings from quartz to provide a sense of cooling in the warmer months. 

While the most common forms of quartz are clear or white, the mineral occurs in almost every color of the rainbow, including lights shades of pink, purple, blue, yellow, green, brown and gray. Rose quartz beads dating to 7000 B.C. have been found in the area once known as Mesopotamia, while many of the world's greatest ancient civilizations used quartz crystals as potent talismans. The Egyptians believed quartz could prevent aging, and it was identified as a mystical substance in Australian Aboriginal mythology. 

By the middle ages, medical practitioners and mystics alike began using quartz in healing potions and spells. Quartz was used in medieval England to treat dysentery, colic and fever. In early American cultures, quartz was said to balance emotions and heal disappointment. The Cherokee Indians believed rock crystal's power could aid in hunting, and in South America quartz crystals carved into skulls were venerated as powerful religious objects. 

Modern healers associate quartz with weight-loss, protection and purification. It's commonly placed in a home's main gathering area to create harmony within the family and to protect the home from toxic energy. Some believe that quartz enhances the power of prayer and helps channel positive energy. It's even said that quartz can stabilize dizziness and assist with weight loss. 

Today, quartz is a popular choice among decorators for a variety of reasons. It's tougher than granite, doesn't require sealing and is naturally resistant to moisture, stains and bacteria. It can be molded into all sorts of shapes and edges, and its range of colors make it a master chameleon, fitting into any color scheme. Quartz occurs in a wide range of varieties under a plethora of names, including jasper, flint, tiger’s eye, amethyst, citrine, chalcedony, onyx, opal and agate. 

Although most quartz is clear and colorless, slight chemical impurities create a number of color varieties, some of which are common enough to have their own names. Translucent purple crystals are called amethyst, while translucent pink to reddish quartz is known as rose quartz, and translucent gray and cloudy white crystals are respectively called smoky quartz and milky quartz. The material lasts a lifetime, so it's a favorite choice among decorators who plan to turn a house into a home.