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November-December 2012

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Connoisseur's Choice: Rose (Pink) Quartz, Lavra da Pitorra, Laranjeiras, Galiléia Minas Gerais, Brazil

There can be multiple reasons for including rose quartz crystals in your collection. One that immediately comes to mind is that it's festive, much like the icing on a cake! A remarkable number of specimens “wear” their rose quartz crystals as halos, crowns, overgrowths, sashes, belts, skirts, bowties, or scepters. All of these forms of decoration may be found on larger crystals or masses of smoky, milky, or colorless quartz, some exceeding 30 cm in size. This results in specimens with sculptural aesthetics and color contrasts that can be quite intriguing and decidedly unique. Although the rose quartz crystals themselves scarcely reach 3 cm in size, their clusters provide a burst of bright pink color that will catch any collector's eye. A close inspection of individual crystals reveals what must have been a rapidly changing crystallization environment as evidenced by complex stepped or terraced faces, overgrowths of varying transparency, dissolution pits, and asymmetrical proportions. These specimens formed during the final stages of pocket crystallization in lithium-rich pegmatites, and only rarely have other mineral species, typically phosphates, formed on top of them.

Guest columnist Janet H. Clifford is a geologist by training though not profession. An avid mineral colletor for forty years, she enjoys field trips, exhibiting at mineral shows, volunteering at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and occasionally editing or writing for the hobby.

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