Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Fortune-Telling Gemstone

By on Sunday, January 14, 2007 0 Comments

Rock Crystal or Clear Quartz is not to be confused with crystal which is just plain glass. Crystals like the famous Swarovski variety are sparklingly attractive but they are still glass.

The word quartz comes from the Greek one, krustallos, which means ice. It does resemble a transparent mass of ice so much so that the ancient Greeks thought it to be fossilized ice or ice made by the gods.

Since the Middle Ages, crystal balls have been used for fortune telling or scrying, to see things past and future. This type of divination using a crystal ball is called crystallomancy. Rock crystal is seldom found without faults so a perfect gemstone especially crystal ball size is very rare.

Today, clear quartz has a number of uses including the manufacture of precision instruments. Synthetic or cultured quartz is used in electronic applications because of its valuable physical properties. One such application rests on your wrist - your quartz watch. Your watch quartz vibrates when a voltage from the battery is applied. This oscillating vibration at 32,768Hz is a more accurate timekeeper than the balance wheel of the old style mechanical watches.

"The Crystal Ball" by John William Waterhouse, 1902 (oil on canvas.

References
Wikipedia : Crystal Ball
The Mineral Information Institute : Quartz
Quartz Watch, Smithsonian Institute
Judith Crowe (2006). The Jeweler's Directory of Gemstones: A Complete Guide to Appraising and Using Precious Stones From Cut and Color to Shape and Settings
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