Purple Amethyst. Citrine. Tiger’s Eye. All these different colors, and where do they come from? Now that I am designing jewelry from natural stones, I often wish I had paid closer attention to those geology lessons in Junior High School!
The amazing array of colors in natural stone come from minerals – that’s not hard to figure out. But how those minerals react so individually with the type of rock material they mix with is what makes each variety of stone so unique.
Take, for example, iron. Iron impurities is what gives Tiger’s Eye its deep, rich, golden brown
hue. When I visited Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan’s U.P. the iron deposits on the cliffs were that same rich color – stunning to behold. That’s the color that iron gives when infused into metamorphic rocks. But that same iron, when infused in quartz (which is commonly found in sedimentary rock) can also give us the lovely purple shades of Amethyst. And even this can vary greatly – Amethyst can be light or dark, opaque or translucent, all based on how the iron was infused into the quartz and what happens afterward. And then there’s Citrine, with its pale yellow coloring, formed when iron impurities mix with quartz. Why do some iron impurities mixed into quartz make yellow Citrine and others purple Amethyst? Heat. Many of the commercial transparent citrines are actually heat-treated Amethysts, but it also occurs naturally, and I love these natural milky-white to pale golden Citrines!
Stay tuned – we’re going to explore this some more in future posts! The more I research what gives these natural stones their unique qualities, the more enamored I become with them. Wearing a pendant and understanding how the power of the universe gave it its special shape, color, weight, and feel makes me feel a part of the vastness of life.