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Thread: Mystery Crystal

  1. #1 Mystery Crystal 
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    Let me first say I have a nodding acquaintance with geology. As a kid my grandfather took me on digs in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. I have rose quarts, geodes, agates, pink/green/black tourmaline, smokey quartz, white quartz, garnets, mica and more in my collection. I am always combing the beach, and walking through the woods looking at the ground.

    While hiking through a state forest in NY today something caught my eye in a patch of sunlight shining through the trees. We were on a very well-worn trail, paved with gravel. I assume the gravel was either dug within the confines of the state forest, or at least nearby and trucked into the park for the trails. It's rife with hunks of quartz, shale, slate, schist, granite and many other rocks and minerals. They vary in sizes as well. The paths there have a silty make-up with the gravel on top or half embedded in it. Even seen some pieces of pottery, concrete piping, and other debris.

    Being a rock enthusiast I bent down and immediately spotted a bright white chip of quartz. Upon picking it up I deemed it was not the culprit for the bright glass-like shine that had caught my eye. I let my gaze scan the path a bit more and landed on what looked like glass. However I noticed angular facets rarely found even in chips of glass. Having my pocketknife at the ready I began to work around the specimen and popped it out of the silty dirt. What I produced appeared to be a quartz crystal. I Thrilled to have chanced across one so unexpectedly. However upon further inspection I noticed the specimen was completely formed. Most well formed quartz crystals (at least to my knowledge) have a nicely crystalline structure (clear/prismatic) protruding from a less formed more milky portion. Also present within the crystalline structures of quartz crystals are milky wisps and somewhat grainy filmy deposits.

    This specimen has multiple facets, some deposits of what appears to be rust/discoloration due to soil or sedimentary rock exposure. But has no milky quality whatsoever. It is literally crystal clear. It can be held up to the eye and seen through clearly. It also refracts direct light and indirect light with a prismatic quality better than the quartz crystals we have at home. It's akin to cut glass prisms or otherwise man-made or machine cut prisms.

    We encountered some thick glass broken into chips on the path about an hour after finding the crystal and we compared the two. Upon first glance the glass chips (well worn and weathered) appeared to be crystals as well. However they lacked the distinguishing facets and were much lighter even at larger sizes than the crystal specimen. There do appear to be some very small jagged pockets within the depths of the structure. Perhaps air pockets or "bubbles"?

    At home we performed the scratch test and our specimen definitely scratches glass. We scratched the specimen with a quartz crystal. The quartz flaked off on the specimen. I also cleaned it under running water and let it soak in water for 20 minutes just to make sure it wasn't a rogue rock salt crystal (I've been fooled before) though I doubt it would be one as it's summer here and it's in an area exposed to rains and flooding. It did not melt at all.

    I've never seen a crystal such as this before. Have looked on google a lot and haven't seen anything like it. Best comparison was Phenakite, but those crystals are still not as crystal clear as this specimen. It's very small, not even a centimeter, but large enough to really shimmer in direct light.

    Honestly it's a really cool specimen, I love that it stumped me, and don't care even if it turns out to be glass, or just very very clear quartz. It's just neat to find something like this and just by chance.

    I'm going to take it to a local gemologist tomorrow, but i have a feeling the only thing she's going to be able to tell me is "it's not a diamond/nor a precious stone"

    Excuse the fingerprints on the specimen and the "on the fly" quality of the photos. Hopefully I've captured the crystal well enough to make some rough guesses at least. Also my camera's time stamp is waaay off. These are from today!

    Please let me know what you think!


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    [url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/42686901@N08/5938651605/]DSC_1825[/url


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  3. #2  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    Its a quartz crystal, similar in morphology to the ones found a Herkimer, NY. you can check out the quartz galleries at mindat.org for more specimens to compare yours to.


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  4. #3  
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    Hey I think you might be right! They do look pretty similar and they are the NY state stone. pretty cool I found one just randomly walking about. Definitely a favorite of my collection now. However something sticks in my craw, doesn't Quartz scratch other quartz? When I scratched this herkimer with another quartz crystal the other crystal flaked and chipped, whereas this one didn't so much as show a mark.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockdood
    Hey I think you might be right! They do look pretty similar and they are the NY state stone. pretty cool I found one just randomly walking about. Definitely a favorite of my collection now. However something sticks in my craw, doesn't Quartz scratch other quartz? When I scratched this herkimer with another quartz crystal the other crystal flaked and chipped, whereas this one didn't so much as show a mark.
    Herkemers are a high pressure, hydrothermal quartz, so it is quite possible that one is slightly harder then the other.
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  6. #5  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    This document gives some idea of the large range of quartz types, though it does not comment on relative hardness.
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