Rutilated Quartz is a type of clear quartz with inclusions of rutile needles. Brazil is one of the few origin locations that produces such unique golden color rutile formed in broad bands, resulting in gems as unique as individual snowflakes.
Can you tell us a little about the source of this material?
Our Rutilated Quartz is sourced from the state of Bahia, Brazil - the primary mine location being Morro da Capela. We work directly with and source from Brian Cook, a close ally in the Responsible Sourcing Movement for colored gemstones. The mining is done under ground at a primary deposit, where the miners use small percussive hammers and drills to break up the host rock and release the Rutilated Quartz crystals. The Morro da Capela property is connected to an electrical grid, which means the equipment is run on electricity as opposed to generators.
Mining for Rutilated Quartz in Brazil can generally be seen in more remote locations, so many others must run off of diesel generators, which may negatively contribute to environmental changes and pollution because of the diesel exhaust. Ultimately, some of these other mining locations may be converted to solar power (or other), but as of today they are not. This is a huge advantage for the teams mining the material we offer today since running off electricity is a much cleaner and more efficient method. This is also not a large mining operation. It’s locally operated in small groups of five or less, all of which are using minimally invasive mining equipment.
What kinds of sizes, shapes and cutting styles can be found?
Rutilated Quartz crystals form in voids within the host rock and range from the size of your thumb to maybe a bit larger than your open hand. The rutile is generally fully encapsulated within the Quartz and is a crystal formation itself. It often grows outward from a hematite inclusion in the quartz, so it is not uncommon to find a black hematite inclusion with rutile growing from that spot. The crystals generally grow in a classic quartz crystal formation, which is somewhat columnar with a pointed end.
We like to have fun with cutting this material, so you will find quite a range in our collection! We do both faceted and cabochon shapes, but work meticulously to find the ‘good side’ to highlight the beautiful rutile needles within each stone. While we focus in repeatable calibrated styles, we also offer a variety of unique one-of-a-kind gems. For faceted stones, you will find standard rounds, ovals, and hexagons, but more commonly we like to cut this material in fun creative styles. This includes styles like our signature GeoCuts™, hex tablets, kites, or rose cuts that feature the rutile needles in a unique way. Our cabochon shapes also include standard rounds and ovals, but also bullet cabs and many one-of-a-kind free form shapes.
Is this material typically enhanced in any way?
The Rutilated Quartz we offer is not treated or enhanced in any way. While it is not often, you will sometimes find suppliers who will fracture fill with a 2-part epoxy material. When this happens, the crystals are heated and then a drop of the epoxy seeps into the inclusion or cracks. It can be very hard to identify this type of treatment, so it’s particularly important to buy from a trusted source if you care to buy a completely untreated Rutilated Quartz. And if you ask us? There is no reason to treat it anyway! It’s a beautiful gem just as it is in its natural state.
Are there any unique characteristics you can share about this material?
The most unique characteristic about this material is the broad golden rutile needles. Brazil is one of the few origin locations that produces such unique golden color rutile formed in broad bands. These rutile needles remind us of flattened pieces of straw and make each gem as unique as a snowflake pattern. The Rutilated Quartz from other locations though may look quite contrasting to what you see here. Some areas may produce gems that have rutile needles that look like thin wispy hairs or might display a less saturated or brown-grey rutile color.
What are the gem specs of this material? How do we know if it is authentic?
The material we source at Columbia Gem House is backed with our Gem Trust guarantee. This means you know it’s an authentic gemstone and that we will share all available information with you. You can find additional gem specifications below:
How do I care for my gemstone?
Rutilated Quartz is a type of Quartz, so it is quite tough. You may clean with warm water, detergent, and a soft brush. These gems can also be put in ultrasonic or steam cleaners.
What can you tell us beyond the facets? I want to know more…
Traditionally, this material was not seen in the retail jewelry market. Mainly because traditional Quartz birthstones were Amethyst and Citrine, so Rutilated Quartz never received the spotlight. There also used to be a perception that any included gem was less valuable. Can you imagine looking at these gems and thinking that? It is precisely the inclusions in these gems that give them such natural beauty and value! Needless to say, the beauty of the market today is that many designers and consumers alike are looking for exactly that – unique one-of-a-kind gems that look natural and showcase natural inclusions. It has also become a very popular gem type in the crystal healing community, believed to foster clarity, creativity and action. Some also believe it filters negative energy.