Rutilated quartz is a variety of quartz which despite not being as ‘pure’ as more well-known quartz varieties, such as amethyst, are valued for their ‘inclusions’. These inclusions are needle-like strands which are often reddish or golden in appearance and it is these ‘rutiles’ from which the name derives.
One interesting thing about rutilated quartz is that rutile - the mineral that makes up the inclusions - is generally too soft to exist by itself. The rutile survives only thanks to the protection it gets from the much harder quartz!
Rutliated Quartz Meaning
The name ‘rutilated’ is Latin in origin, from the word ‘rutilus’ meaning ‘glowing red’. The rutiles present in rutilated quartz give these gemstones the appearance of something akin to a thread of gold or glimmering night sky. Historically, this is certainly how our ancestors viewed rutilated quartz, with names such as ‘Angel’s hair’ or Flèches D'amour (arrows of love) evoking beautiful, romantic connotations.
These connotations have been with us since ancient times. The Greeks called rutilated quartz ‘hair of Aphrodite’, while the Roman’s referred to it as ‘hair of Venus’ and these morphed into later associations with love and romance, with the name ‘Cupid’s Dart’ as well as the aforementioned ‘Flèches D'amour’. The gems have also been compared to a firework display. Although most often a reddish or golden color, they have been known to look silver, copper red or deep black.
Rutilated Quartz History
Ordinarily, quartz miners would’ve discarded any gemstones they unearth containing inclusions, as these are often regarded as less valuable than their purer counterparts, especially for the production of optical lenses. For this reason, rutilated quartz somewhat fell out of popularity over the years until the 1940s, when some miners in Brazil took a chance on the unique gems, recognizing their beauty instead of merely their practical application. They were brought to Salvador, where the gem dealers were in agreement and the rest is history!
Rutilated Quartz Properties
The rutiles present in rutilated quartz are due to inclusions of titanium oxide. Rutilated quartz has a hardness of 6-7.5 on the Mohs scale, making it quite hard and scratch resistant.
Where is Rutilated Quartz Found?
Today you can find rutilated quartz in a multitude of countries such as Brazil, USA, Spain, Pakistan and Australia among others. It is typically found wherever other quartz can be mined. We source ours from Brazil.
If you're looking for a unique piece of jewelry with a romantic history, check out our made to order Brazilian rutilated quartz jewelry here.