Since writing the last article about agates and why they are given this name (or not), I have seen much confusion from those coming into the shop seeking stones. We will continue to be lost about “agates” until we first figure out why stones are different and how they are named. So I have written what I hope is an easy explanation of a sometimes complicated concept.
The $64,000 dollar question is…What is the difference between Quartz and other stones such as Jasper and Agate that we have in the store? These all have the same basic makeup of SiO2 but they still differ. If you ask an “expert” if something is an agate, you could get many different answers. Also, one person might say Ocean Jasper and the next says Ocean Agate. These stones are both mostly Quartz. So why don’t we call them Quartz? Why don’t we describe Ocean Jasper or Ocean Agate as Quartz with multi-colored circles from Madagascar? After all, why must we confuse everyone with fancy names? There is a great deal of confusion out there! Besides the fact that it is a mouthful referring to a stone that way, there is also the convenience of naming something so that one can easily picture what stone is being referred to. In addition, giving names to stones that reference where they are found can also make them much easier to identify. If you wanted to buy a Herkimer diamond for instance, you would not buy something called a Pakimer or an Arkimer. The reason is that the Pakimer, although very similar in vibration and healing attributes to the Herkimer, is from Pakistan. An Arkimer is from Arkansas, while the Herkimer actually comes out of Herkimer, New York. All three are wonderful crystals and perhaps have the same clarity, hardness, etc, but they are subtly different because of their origins and possible impurities.
We had an individual come in just recently and corrected us on our naming of a type of landscape jasper as Polychromatic Jasper. She said, “That is Mookaite” (or sometimes referred to as Mookaite, Mookite, Mookalite or Mookarite.) She was loosely right because it has the same make up as mookaite but does not come from Australia, it comes from Mexico. Considering that the jasper that she was looking at, called Polychromatic Jasper, comes from Mexico it could not be the same stone that comes from Mook Station, a ranch in Australia. Even though they have the same geological name they have slightly different colors and come from different parts of the planet so they have different energy. Confusing, I know.
Here is the analogy I use to explain to customers. A dog is a dog. Simply put, a Poodle is a dog and a Labrador Retriever is a dog. If the two breed, you get a dog. It may have the fancy new name of Labradoodle, but remains a dog all the same. All dogs have an element of wolf in them, just as almost all stones we have in the store have Quartz in them. All dogs have canine teeth but some are larger just as Quartz crystals have differing sizes in crystals and stones. Dogs come from different parts of the world and so display different attributes. In other words, the main components may be the same, but the size etc could be different. In stones, perhaps hardness is the same but the colors may differ. Why do the colors and patterns differ? We concluded that most all stones are quartz based. The difference is the size of the crystals and the impurities that make up the rest of the stone. A Jasper, for instance, is made up of tiny quartz crystals referred to as microcrystalline or cryptocrystalline if they are even smaller. These quartz crystals can only be seen with microscopes. As the crystals were growing, other minerals, or impurities, became caught inside or grew with the quartz creating one stone. Some examples of impurities seen commonly would be Chlorite, Copper, Lithium, and Iron. Iron is the impurity in Red Jasper and that is why it is red. There are approximately 4-5 thousand different mineral impurities such as these. Heat, water and so many other factors cause these mineral impurities to sometimes swirl together to make a myriad of colors and patterns that are truly wondrous and endless.
So finally, what does this mean on a metaphysical level? If the crystals are so similar why are there so many different attributes offered about them? Well, we already know that a clear Quartz crystal and a Red Jasper (for example), are both made with Quartz. Due to the almost pure-like state of quartz crystal, it has a much higher vibration associated with it. The Red Jasper is much denser as it is microcrystalline Quartz mixed with mostly iron impurities. The Red Jasper will have a “heavier” feel to it metaphysically because energy does not flow easily through the impurities. We also take into consideration where on the planet the crystal, stone, or mineral came from. Different parts of the world are going to carry differing energies. Whether something grew fast or slow, and yes, even the color (as color has vibration to it) can be factors in the overall “energy” of a stone.
I trust this was helpful for those just beginning or those that have found the subject to confuse them for a long time. It is a difficult concept to grasp, so don’t feel badly if you need more time to get it all straight. I am by no means an expert. Even the experts that I have spoken with sometimes appeared confused as well. Stones and crystals have been worked with for thousands of years. The only difference between then and now is that people didn’t know how many stone combinations there were. They just accepted the fact that they aided us in healing, and that’s all that mattered. Times may have been simpler back then? But really the help that they offer is all that ever mattered. Until next time…enjoy your stones!