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Quartz, Natural and Synthetic
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Elise




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PostPosted: Feb 20, 2015 14:40    Post subject: Quartz, Natural and Synthetic  

Jordi admonished me for not being more active on the FMF lately, so I thought I would start a new thread on one of my favorite topics, Quartz, Natural and Synthetic. There were so many amazing displays at the 2015 TGMS, especially the cases devoted to the theme of quartz. Earlier in the previous week I had purchased several synthetic quartz specimens for my study collection and was later delighted to see the display case devoted to the same crystals! The exhibitors were Vlad and Mila Klipov, Quartz Grown by R&D XTALS, Inc, Cleveland, Ohio. Their display was very informative and also drew attention to the use of the technology to repair broken specimens -- not a new thing, but the first I've been able to see in person which was just great! And a note in the case announced that there is to be an article published in Rocks & Minerals regarding these specimens - I can't wait!

Matt already called attention to this in the Tucson Show thread; these are links to the discussion which ensued and which I hope we might continue with here (also don't miss his images of the other quartz displays and of course The Party pictures):
http://www.mineral-forum.com/message-board/viewtopic.php?p=43931&highlight=#43931
and follow-up from Jamison Brizendine:
http://www.mineral-forum.com/message-board/viewtopic.php?p=43944&highlight=#43944
and http://www.mineral-forum.com/message-board/viewtopic.php?p=43952&highlight=#43952

I wanted to start this thread with a group of 3 specimens which I bought from the daughter of Luiz Menezes - I was so happy to find some nice specimens to remember him by. They will show some contrast to the synthetic quartz specimens - I find both equally collectible and educational.

Cheers!
Elise



20150220_Natural_Quartz_6626a96.jpg
 Mineral: Quartz
 Locality:
Gouveia, Minas Gerais, Brazil
 Dimensions: L-R: 50mm x 60mm; 80mm x 70mm; 45mm x 60mm
 Description:
Luiz Menezes Minerals
 Viewed:  22411 Time(s)

20150220_Natural_Quartz_6626a96.jpg



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PostPosted: Feb 20, 2015 14:44    Post subject: Re: Quartz, Natural and Synthetic  

This is one of the synthetic quartz clusters which I was very happy to acquire (views of both sides)


20150220_Syn_Quartz_6612a96.jpg
 Description:
Hydrothermally Grown Synthetic Quartz Cluster
140mm x 90 mm
R&D XTALS, Inc. Cleveland, Ohio
 Viewed:  22383 Time(s)

20150220_Syn_Quartz_6612a96.jpg



20150220_Syn_Quartz_6613a96.jpg
 Description:
Hydrothermally Grown Synthetic Quartz Cluster
140mm x 90 mm
R&D XTALS, Inc. Cleveland, Ohio
 Viewed:  22410 Time(s)

20150220_Syn_Quartz_6613a96.jpg


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Elise




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PostPosted: Feb 20, 2015 14:50    Post subject: Re: Quartz, Natural and Synthetic  

The small crystal resting in the well of a water-worn rock is a Japan-law twin synthetic quartz -- I showed it to John S. White and he commented, but I can't quote - maybe some doubt? I include a picture of the twinned specimens in the display case and a natural Japan-law twin which I purchased from our Alfredo Petrov. Note the green on the large specimen in the display - I would have liked to acquire one of these, but could not afford to.


20150214_Tucson_6605a96.jpg
 Description:
Hydrothermally Grown Synthetic Quartz
(TGMS Display Case)
R&D XTALS, Inc. Cleveland, Ohio
 Viewed:  22402 Time(s)

20150214_Tucson_6605a96.jpg



20150220_Natural_Quartz_6632a96.jpg
 Description:
Natural Quartz Japan-law Twin
15mm x 15mm
Nagasaki, Narushima Island, Japan
Alfredo Petrov
 Viewed:  22366 Time(s)

20150220_Natural_Quartz_6632a96.jpg



20150220_Syn_Quartz_6620a96.jpg
 Description:
Hydrothermally Grown Synthetic Quartz Japan-law Twin
48mm x 40 mm
R&D XTALS, Inc. Cleveland, Ohio
 Viewed:  22362 Time(s)

20150220_Syn_Quartz_6620a96.jpg



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PostPosted: Feb 20, 2015 14:53    Post subject: Re: Quartz, Natural and Synthetic  

This is a single crystal synthetic quartz showing Dauphiné Law twinning. Note the wire and seed plate, as well as the c face at top of crystal.


20150220_Syn_Quartz_6615a96.jpg
 Description:
Hydrothermally Grown Synthetic Quartz
Single crystal with Dauphiné Law twinning; detail
(note cobbled C face at top, seed plate and wire)
90mm x 60mm
R&D XTALS, Inc. Cleveland, Ohio
 Viewed:  22372 Time(s)

20150220_Syn_Quartz_6615a96.jpg



20150220_Syn_Quartz_6616a96.jpg
 Description:
Hydrothermally Grown Synthetic Quartz
Single crystal with Dauphiné Law twinning; detail
(note cobbled C face at top, seed plate and wire)
R&D XTALS, Inc. Cleveland, Ohio
 Viewed:  22354 Time(s)

20150220_Syn_Quartz_6616a96.jpg



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PostPosted: Feb 20, 2015 14:58    Post subject: Re: Quartz, Natural and Synthetic  

These "sea urchin" clusters really created quite a stir - they are beautiful! This one has two second generation growth large single crystals. I understand that these take many months to grow. I can't wait to hear more about the growth process - I love quartz in any form - natural or synthetic, it's all amazing!

Cheers!
Elise



20150220_Syn_Quartz_6625a96.jpg
 Description:
Hydrothermally Grown Synthetic Quartz
Two generations of growth – first “sea-urchin” then two large crystals
90mm x 60mm
R&D XTALS, Inc. Cleveland, Ohio
 Viewed:  22380 Time(s)

20150220_Syn_Quartz_6625a96.jpg



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PostPosted: Feb 20, 2015 15:05    Post subject: Re: Quartz, Natural and Synthetic  

One last image from the display - this is the repaired amethyst cluster. I find the process very, very interesting to finally see.

Again, see an in-depth explanation from Jamison Brizendine here:
http://www.mineral-forum.com/message-board/viewtopic.php?p=43944&highlight=#43944

and a quote from later posting in that thread:
Jamison Brizendine wrote:

Ironically, the synthetic quartz industry itself has been on the rapid decline for quite sometime. Synthetic quartz from what I understand is a niche market and only used in some optical instruments. When cheaper options become available, it furthers pushes the industry into obsolescence. When this happens there will be no more synthetic quartz, because it costs a lot of money and time for these laboratories to maintain the autoclaves. I wonder if these clusters could breathe new life into an industry that is becoming more obsolete by the day.

In terms of telling the other differences between synthetic and natural quartz, if you broke a synthetic crystal quartz and compared it to a natural one of the same size and color, you really can't tell the difference. Some of the quartz clusters might have some iron oxide and microscopic inclusions of acmite from the steel.


Thank you Jamison for sharing those insights!

Cheers,
Elise



20150214_Tucson_6616a96.jpg
 Description:
Damaged Amethyst Quartz, regrown tips via hydrothermal process
R&D XTALS, Inc. Cleveland, Ohio
2015 TGMS Display
 Viewed:  22354 Time(s)

20150214_Tucson_6616a96.jpg



20150214_Tucson_6615a96.jpg
 Description:
Damaged Amethyst Quartz, regrown tips via hydrothermal process
R&D XTALS, Inc. Cleveland, Ohio
2015 TGMS Display
 Viewed:  22346 Time(s)

20150214_Tucson_6615a96.jpg



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PostPosted: Feb 20, 2015 15:11    Post subject: Re: Quartz, Natural and Synthetic  

Elise,

These are fascinating crystals. Thanks for posting.

I enjoyed our visits in Tucson.

Don

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PostPosted: Feb 20, 2015 15:56    Post subject: Re: Quartz, Natural and Synthetic  

I, too, ran across Vlad (R&D XTALS) and was fascinated with some of the things he was able to grow. Here is a photo of a twinned quartz that I picked up (about 4 cm across). Not a Japan-Law, but at a more acute angle, perhaps on the rhombohedron. He said he had only seen this once or twice in nature. I'm not an expert on twinning in quartz, so perhaps others can say more about this.

I was also impressed by the quartz cluster that had a re-grown tip. A lot of people seemed fearful that this will usher in a new level of fakery in the mineral specimen trade. I think the time and expense involved in doing something like this would place serious limits on it becoming a widespread practice, however.

Cheers,
Jesse



SynthQtz-8850r.JPG
 Mineral: quartz (synthetic)
 Dimensions: 4 cm
 Description:
 Viewed:  22267 Time(s)

SynthQtz-8850r.JPG


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PostPosted: Feb 20, 2015 16:07    Post subject: Re: Quartz, Natural and Synthetic  

Jesse - what a stunning photograph! I didn't have much time to image the specimens this afternoon, but even so could quickly tell it was going to take a lot of reflectors and coaxing of the light to do well -- and a lot more time. You nailed it.

I was a bit perplexed by all the comments about "fakery" etc - I spent a lot of time at the display and heard similar fears, also expressed by others later. I have several specimens produced 40-50 years ago in Russia - this is nothing new. These new specimens and the repaired crystal are just a gorgeous examples of a fascinating technology.

Cheers!
Elise

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PostPosted: Feb 20, 2015 16:20    Post subject: Re: Quartz, Natural and Synthetic  

Actually, I think the most time-consuming part of the process was getting the specimen out of the plastic capsule it was mounted in without damage. The specimen cooperated nicely for the photo with only a few reflectors.

I also got one of those "sea urchin" clusters but am afraid of removing it for fear of damage. Amazing things, however!
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PostPosted: Feb 20, 2015 16:45    Post subject: Re: Quartz, Natural and Synthetic  

In general I do not want man made minerals but I certainly don't exclude them and in most cases don't consider them fakes. I am an avid coin collector so I have a pre-conceived notion of what a fake is. Quite a few fake turquoise and opal exists that really are fakes.

I also have a couple man made jewels for samples that are pretty neat. They are the mineral they purport to be but are man made.

If I ever go for a Bismuth sample (and I eventually will) it WILL certainly be a man made sample. For a clear Quartz crystal cluster...I could go either way.

Nice samples!

Dale
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PostPosted: Feb 20, 2015 16:52    Post subject: Re: Quartz, Natural and Synthetic  

I have a quartz specimen that I treasure, made by Vlad. I treasure it because its basic symmetry is all wrong - it is a cube! Actually, I'm sure the symmetry is all right (alright?) because it is controlled by the structure. But the way the seed was cut allowed it to develop into a cube. Fun!
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PostPosted: Feb 20, 2015 16:56    Post subject: Re: Quartz, Natural and Synthetic  

The synthetic quartz is quite spectacular. I see no problem as long as they are labeled as such. Frankly I would be happy to have such nice work and would value it no less, perhaps a bit more perchance.
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PostPosted: Feb 20, 2015 17:09    Post subject: Re: Quartz, Natural and Synthetic  

Jesse Fisher wrote:
Here is a photo of a twinned quartz that I picked up (about 4 cm across). Not a Japan-Law, but at a more acute angle, perhaps on the rhombohedron.

(snip)

Jesse


With the usual proviso that it's hard to do morphological analysis from a photograph...

my guess is that these crystals basically have only one of the terminal rhombohedra well developed. And it appears that the outer edges of these rhombohedra are parallel to each other across the twin. If this is true, the edges are parallel to the twin plane. The Miller indices for the plane which would be there if it were expanded from being an edge (and still retaining parallelism to the twin plane) are obtained by summing the Miller indices for the two faces that meet at the edge. These would be (10-11) and (choose your favorite other face of this rhombohedron, I'll use (-1101)) 1+ -1=0, 0+1=1, -1+0=-1, 1+1=2, i.e. (01-12), a negative rhombohedron. This is what Frondel describes as the Sella Law in the third volume of Dana's System 7th edition. I did not try to follow all the details, but the angle between the c-axes is reported to be 64°50'.

On the other hand, if my reading of the photo is wrong, I have no clue and all bets are off!

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PostPosted: Feb 20, 2015 17:31    Post subject: Re: Quartz, Natural and Synthetic  

thought I'd add some Vlad/Milla photos of their booth in the JGM tent. interesting xls - all he needs to do now is add some color (inconsistently within a specimen) and it's be a winner.

a few booths down was a Colombian quartz dealer selling specimens by the Kg. this has to be the most lustrous, sharpest and most gemmy natural quartz there is.

bob



DSCN3978a.jpg
 Mineral: quartz man made
 Description:
Vlad and Milla's booth
 Viewed:  22229 Time(s)

DSCN3978a.jpg



DSCN3977a.jpg
 Description:
 Viewed:  22213 Time(s)

DSCN3977a.jpg



DSCN3981.JPG
 Description:
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DSCN3981.JPG


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PostPosted: Feb 20, 2015 17:34    Post subject: Re: Quartz, Natural and Synthetic  

here's a photo of the Colombian quartz specimen I bought at $200 a kg.

bob



DSCN3986aa.jpg
 Mineral: Quartz
 Locality:
Peñas Blancas Mine, Municipio San Pablo de Borbur, Western Emerald Belt, Boyacá Department, Colombia
 Dimensions: 8cm wide
 Description:
 Viewed:  22146 Time(s)

DSCN3986aa.jpg


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PostPosted: Feb 20, 2015 18:17    Post subject: Re: Quartz, Natural and Synthetic  

bob kerr wrote:
here's a photo of the Columbian quartz specimen I bought at $200 a kg.

bob

This is a stunning quartz.
When combined with emeralds, it becomes the holy grail of emerald matrix specimens.
Gérard
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PostPosted: Feb 21, 2015 03:48    Post subject: Re: Quartz, Natural and Synthetic  

Fantastic thread Elise! I have always wanted to acquire 'man made' quartz specimen/s and am glad to see that some one is selling them. Regards :-)
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PostPosted: Feb 21, 2015 06:23    Post subject: Re: Quartz, Natural and Synthetic  

I am one of those who found the repaired amethyst unsettling. It is all well and good to say it is okay if the specimens are appropriately labelled, but we all know that there are those who will not do so. In fact, I attended a small mineral show nearly two years ago where a dealer was selling very large sprays of the porcupine-like quartz, up to 10 inches or more, and they were not labelled as lab grown and he refused to tell potential buyers that they were not natural. But to return to the repaired amethyst, I would have been eager to examine it closely. One thing I have observed is that the striations on prism faces of lab grown quartz crystals are diagonal whereas those on natural quartz tend to be horizontal (at right angles to the prism edges). I would want to see if the striations on the repaired amethyst are diagonal or horizontal.
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PostPosted: Feb 21, 2015 10:07    Post subject: Re: Quartz, Natural and Synthetic  

John S. White wrote:
One thing I have observed is that the striations on prism faces of lab grown quartz crystals are diagonal whereas those on natural quartz tend to be horizontal (at right angles to the prism edges). I would want to see if the striations on the repaired amethyst are diagonal or horizontal.

For those wondering what John is referring to, here is a photo comparing the surface features of crystal faces on a synthetic specimen (old Russian grown crystal) and a natural quartz specimen. John has examined the one on the left, as has Si Frazier a couple years ago -- it's pretty neat. But, all depends on the seed crystal orientation and the growth conditions as to what appears to be a prism or other crystal face. It can be very disorienting without looking at the angles.

As to the repairing of specimens - isn't it done all the time with glue (?), especially with tourmaline? Well, maybe not a good analogy. I spent a lot of time trying to look at the amethyst cluster in the display - it was difficult to tell much about the angles and surface without good lighting while being able to turn it around in the hand -- I wondered how both changed in relation to the natural and whether there is overgrowth lower down that masks the natural part (also, how much color loss occurred and where - too bad it's not possible to capture on film what is happening inside the autoclave with time-lapse photography, such as can be done inside a Diamond Anvil Cell). But, I'd point out that the process is expensive and time consuming, not to mention dangerous. There is also the danger of damaging very expensive equipment. Rather than a link again, I'll paste in part of Jamison Brizendine's explanation for those who missed it (original: http://www.mineral-forum.com/message-board/viewtopic.php?p=43944&highlight=#43944):

Jamison Brizendine wrote:

Before the specimen was subjected to the autoclave, there were roughly seven crystals that probably were terminated. Most likely those crystals broke after the pocket was subjected to some tectonic force. One of the terminations later had secondary quartz crystal growth (lower front right). The quartz during the secondary quartz crystallization was clear as there was no iron to produce the amethyst color. Various smaller quartz crystals also grew during this secondary pulse of crystallization. One of the pre-requisites of trying to regrow quartz was that the amethyst had to have as little matrix as possible as the matrix would have dissolved, and then those dissolved particles would have damaged the steel autoclave. This particular specimen had barely any matrix and therefore made a very good candidate to attempt the experiment.

After five months of being in an alkaline aqueous solution at high temperature and pressure (roughly 650 F [345 C] and 10,000 psi), all broken terminations were “regrown and re-healed”. These new growths were all clear points, because the silica solution in the autoclave was pure. A small portion of synthetic quartz had to be added to the matrix to keep it stable and from breaking apart. The purple color has quite diminished, but there is still a portion of the original color that remained. Any small crystals originally on the matrix were dissolved in the autoclave. You can see the contact between new and old crystal growths quite easily. ..
(snip)....
To allay your fears about knowing the difference between synthetic vs natural quartz, you just have to look at the crystal very carefully. Often you can see the original seed quartz crystal in these clusters. It is also extremely difficult, laborious and requires intense knowledge, time and patience to regrow these clusters. Besides the waiting period, you need to maintain the correct temperatures and pressures, for months and even years at a time. If you make a mistake it can be catastrophic. Today, there are very few laboratories around the world that continue to even make synthetic quartz, because there are cheaper alternatives. So I doubt a lot of “copy cats” will pop up, but time will only tell.


The old lab-grown "mineral specimens" in my collection - quartz grown on druzy 40-50 years ago - are pretty weird looking if one looks closely. The angles are all off. I guess I'm more disturbed by the metaphysical hype surrounding quartz -- let's have more emphasis on learning about the crystallographic and other properties of minerals so that people will be better informed about what they are looking at....then they can inform the sellers promoting synthetic as natural or, in my mind, the much more disturbing notion of any "healing powers" of quartz (see: http://www.mineral-forum.com/message-board/viewtopic.php?p=33695&highlight=#33695 )

Carry on... ;-)
Elise
(PS: Pete - I would love to see that synthetic quartz cube!)



20150221_surface_quartz_a.jpg
 Description:
Synthetic and Natural Quartz
Photo: Elise Skalwold
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20150221_surface_quartz_a.jpg



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