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The Power of Quartz

It’s easy to think of gemstones and minerals as the old grandpa because, well, they have been around for as long as the earth has been! In a previous blog, , I talked about how each gemstone is actually a mineral and usually has a separate mineral name. Some of those minerals include several gemstones in their group. Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz, while Citrine is the golden or yellow variety of quartz. There is also a light pink quartz called Rose Quartz and grey quartz called Smokey Quartz. Interestingly, Quartz is one of those minerals that actually make our modern world of computers, cell phones, televisions, watches, and other electronics possible! Are you curious? Me too!

One of the properties Quartz exhibits is the piezoelectric effect. The what effect??? The pie-zow-uh-lek-truk effect, it’s a tongue twister! The piezoelectric effect was first discovered by the Curie brothers in 1880, and it describes the ability of certain materials, Quartz being one, to generate an electric charge in response to applied mechanical stress.

One example of how this works in real life is a cigarette lighter. When the button is pressed, it causes a tiny spring-loaded hammer to hit a piezoelectrical crystal which causes a sufficiently high voltage electric current to flow across a small spark that heats and ignites the gas. You can also see this in most gas burners on stoves.

Another example are Quartz watches. All watches have gears inside of them that count the seconds, minutes, and hours while sweeping the hands around the clock face. Instead of being powered by a pendulum (think Grandfather Clock), a battery sends electrical currents through a circuit to a small Quartz crystal. The Quartz crystal vibrates back and forth at an exact frequency of 32,768 times per second. The circuit then counts the number of vibrations to generate regular electronic pulses, one per second! The same concept works in LCD watches or clocks. Quartz watches weren’t invented till 1969 by Seiko, prior to that, one had to wind their watch every day. Using the piezoelectric effect first began in WWI, and it has evolved to be used in almost all of our electronic technology today.

Gemstones have played an important part of our society from the very beginning. The jewelry, watches, and technology you wear have a history that has taken millions of years to get here. I think that deserves respect for its parts and craftsmanship! And, jewelry is something you can pass down to family making it last the longest!

I would love to help you with your special purchase or custom design! Angela Cisneros Jewelry Concierge brings back the joy and confidence of jewelry shopping, so that you can celebrate with ease! My by-appointment approach means:

  • One-on-one appointments (personal attention and no crowds!)

  • Discretion and privacy (surprises remain surprises!)

  • Expert help from a Graduate Gemologist with 23 years of experience (yep, that’s me!)

Book your FREE appointment with me today!

*Photo credit: Photo credit: @fleurs_sauvages_officiel

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