Mineralogical and Metaphysical Properties of Clear Quartz Crystals
The word crystal comes from the Greek word "krystallos", meaning ice. The Greeks found quartz crystals high in the frigid Alpine mountains, and Pliny (c. 62-113 A.D.), the foremost historian and mineralogist of his time, believed quartz crystal was ice that had frozen so hard it would never thaw.
One common legend is that crystals were originally heaven’s holy water, poured out by God into the aethers. As the holy quintessence descended toward the Earth, it froze into ice in outer space, where it was petrified into permanent solidity by angels so that when it fell to Earth it would be available permanently for the protection and blessing of mankind. [See “Rock Crystal: Nature’s Holy Stone”, by Frank Dorland]
Quartz is the low-temperature stable form of silicon dioxide or silica.Silicon and oxygen are the two most common elements in the Earth's crust.Quartz crystal is perhaps the most common mineral found on the face of the Earth. Sand and sandstone are considered “clastic” forms of quartz by mineralogists, meaning that they are formed of fragments of pre-existing rocks.
Although quartz makes up a large portion of the Earth's surface, there are only three places in the world that have enough high quality quartz crystal to warrant mining. These are Brazil, Madagascar, a small island off the coast of Africa, and Mt. Ida in the Ouachita Mountain range of Arkansas.
The remarkable geometric patterns quartz crystals form in nature have been the subject of scientific inquiry for centuries. In 1660, Renaissance Saint and scientist Nicolaus Steno conducted precise measurements of quartz crystal structures and found that regardless of their source, the angles between corresponding quartz crystal faces are constant. This became known as Steno’s Law of crystallography.
In the next century, the Abbé Haüy formulated the geometric law of crystallization. His work led to the modern definition of a crystal: any substance in which the molecules or atoms are arranged in a regular, ordered way in three dimensions.Crystals formed of the same mineral occur naturally in many different shapes, but all share specific internal structural characteristics.
There are believed to be seven shapes, or "systems" into which crystals can form. They include cubic, hexagonal, tetragonal, orthorhombic, monoclinic, and triclinic. Quartz manifests in hexagonal crystalline systems, commonly having the form of a six-sided prism terminating in a six-sided pyramid.
Modern science has discovered that quartz crystal, silicon dioxide (SiO2), contains 46% silicon and 53% oxygen. Each tetrahedral quartz molecule is composed of four atoms of oxygen and one of silicon. Chains of tetrahedral quartz crystals bond in spirals which in turn link to form a precise, repeating latticework of molecules. This latticework creates the macroscopic geometric quartz crystal structure.
Because of the variability of their molecular geometry, which depends upon the angle of the bridge bonds between oxygen and silicon, each quartz crystal is unique, and quartz crystals often fail to conform to the ideal geometric structure.
Twins are common, and considered by spiritually minded crystallographers to have unique metaphysical qualities. Both single and double terminated crystals abound.
Quartz may be transparent, translucent, or opaque; it may be colorless or colored. Many varieties of quartz occur around the world because quartz forms in so many different geographical climates and rock formations. Varieties include: ordinary colorless crystallized quartz, or rock crystal, rutillated quartz, rose quartz, smoky quartz, milky quartz, and amethyst.
They may contain streaks, lines, rainbows, metallic flakes, clouds, water bubbles or other inclusions. The inclusions are of two primary kinds -- metallic flakes and clouds. Clouds are created by tiny bubbles or flows of fluid entering the crystal during the period of its formation.
The beauty of the inclusions can add to the value of the quartz crystal, depending upon the nature of the inclusion, its visibility, and overall appearance of the crystal.
Inclusions do not diminish the utility of the crystal for spiritual or energy work, and often inclusions will enhanc
e the efficacy of the crystal, imparting specific metaphysical properties that are prized by healers and energy workers.
Quartz crystals have a unique ability to convert electrical energy to mechanical energy and vice versa. This is called the piezoelectric effect.
The piezoelectric property of quartz crystals enables them to receive energy, process it, and transmit the oscillations outward in precise patterns of vibrations.
Quartz crystal’s piezoelectric properties became the foundation of post Twentieth Century technological society. Scientists found that the vibration patterns quartz crystals receive and transmit could be manipulated to augment, store, amplify, transfer, transform and focus other vibrational frequencies of energy, including sound, electricity and even information in the form of precise periodic pulses.
Sonar, radios, cigarette lighters, transistors, computer chips, liquid crystal displays, digital watches, cars, satellites and many other technological pillars of today’s global society utilize quartz crystals in their manufacture.
Quartz crystals have been used by healers, spiritual teachers, and scientists of the sacred throughout history to receive, transmit, store, focus, amplify, transform and balance the various forms of energy found in our Universe, all of which can be considered to be interchangeable forms of Universal Light.
Quartz crystals have this marvelous ability because, metaphysically, quartz crystal expresses the unity of the five elements (Earth,Air, Fire, Water, and Ether or Spirit).
Crystals grow deep in the earth and form much of the earth’s crust, yet crystals, like the element air, allow light to pass through them. Thus crystals partake of the qualities of the elements of air and earth.
Crystals are fiery in that they have piezoelectric properties yet they are watery in their hexagonal molecular structure which resembles snowflakes, and in their ice-like appearance.
Crystals are quintessential expressions of the element of Ether or Spirit, which is synonymous with Universal Life Force Energy, the fundamental energy that sustains all forms of energy in the known universe.
Thus crystals partake of the qualities of all five elements and thus crystals manifest the unity that underlies the apparent multiplicity of material creation, the unity of both material and spiritual worlds.
From a metaphysical viewpoint, quartz crystals are cosmic tuning forks, harmonizing the soul, mind, heart and body of the user with the vibrational frequencies of Spiritual worlds – which are after all simply realms of light resonating at a much higher frequency than the material world.
Native Americans revere quartz crystals as the brain cells of Grandmother Earth. Viewing the Earth as a living organism, primitive stones such as granite and sandstone comprise the skeleton of the organism, the Earth’s crust is the skin. Vegetation and water channels make up the lifeblood of Earth’s body, and metals and minerals function as glands, nerves and sensory organs.
“The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water, but the blood of our ancestors,” Chief Seattle explained. “If we sell you our land, you must remember that it is sacred. Each ghostly reflection in the clear waters of the lakes tells of events and memories in the lives of my people. The water’s murmur is the voice of my father’s father. The rivers are our brothers, They quench our thirst. They carry our canoes and feed our children. So you must give to the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.”
Quartz crystals, in this worldview, act as the Earth’s brain-mind, through which Spirit, the Universal Mind, maintains communication with all parts of Earth’s organism, equilibrating the earth’s temperature, moisture levels, and other important variables. In addition, quartz crystals and other gemstones collectively create and modulate an electromagnetic field around the Earth, which is a vital component of the Earth organism’s auric field, and clear quartz crystals, identified with white light, represent the unifying vibrational frequency that harmonizes the seven rainbow rays of Earth’s many varieties of gems and minerals, within that auric field.
Thus in the Native American tradition, any human being who can attune to the power of the quartz crystal is in tune with Grandmother Earth, and obtains the ability to communicate directly with Spiritual worlds.
Read more about quartz crystals in our Crystalpedia, and in our online books, Spirits of Stone: Using Quartz Crystals in Healing and Meditation and The Crystal Wisdom of Marcel Vogel.