Ruby Aura

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Sulphur and Ruby Aura

Sulphur and Ruby Aura,
originally uploaded by chough.

Tehm and I recently bought this rather fine specimen of “ruby aura” which is, apparently, quartz bonded with gold or gold and platinum (or silver – there are a lot of conflicting descriptions). It’s truly an amazing piece, but I would really love to know how it is made.

I can’t seem to find any information using Google, so if any gem or mineral specialists out there can enlighten me, I would be most grateful!

5 Responses to Ruby Aura

  1. dave watts 17 November, 2005 at 11:23 pm #

    I am a dealer in crystals and minerals in the uk. As far as I am aware, these ruby aura crystals are made using a natural quartz crystal. They are placed in a vaccuum with a low voltage electric current passed through them while a “plasma” of vaporised silver is sprayed into the chamber. If the right amount of silver is used, the silver is electrically bonded to the surface of the quartz one atom or molecule thick, causing the pinky red colour via the bond.
    Hope it helps…if you hear otherwise i/d be interested to hear also, so let me know.

  2. Tom 18 November, 2005 at 8:37 am #

    Aha! Thanks for that. I wonder how the “plasma” is produced?

  3. Ian Williams 23 November, 2005 at 7:49 pm #

    Hi Tom,

    It does look a nice piece. It is possible to get transparent deep red quartz by heating quartz in the presence of iron oxide where the iron coats the surface. This can occur naturally. See http://nsminerals.atspace.com/Boylston.html.

    Regarding the “plasma treatment”, this is technically known as Thin Film Deposition and, as usual, Wiki comes to the rescue: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thin-film_deposition

    If this is how your crystal was produced then your crystal is a novelty shaped “dichroic filter”. These filters are often used in photography and the sciences and are produced by depositing metallic layers onto a quartz or quartz glass substrate such that the layers are similar thickness to the wavelength of light you want to allow through:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thin-film_optics
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dichroic_reflector

  4. Tom 23 November, 2005 at 9:08 pm #

    The mystery is solved! Thanks Ian 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. tehmina.org » Blog Archive » Tangerine quartz - 8 January, 2006

    […] Yesterday, I bought an amazing bed of tangerine quartz. Today, I have been trying to find out what causes the fabulous tangerine-orange hue. The colouring is translucent and comes from the surfaces of the quartz, rather than from the inclusion of a foreign mineral within. Tom (my extremely excellent other half) asked about what causes the similare but made-made effects displayed by aqua, ruby and opal aura quartz and Dave Watts (a mineral dealer) and Ian Williams (a physicist) explained that the effects are created by a process called Thin-film deposition, also referred to as the ‘plasma treatment’ where (explained simply by me) clear quartz is placed in a vacuous chamber in the presence of metallic particles such as gold, silver or platinum. Then, a low-voltage current is passed through the quartz and the metal particles adhere, electrostatically, to the quartz creating hues of irridescent blue, ruby red, and irridescent pearl or white respectively. Quartz (silicon dioxide), or rock crystal, itself has piezoelectric and pyroelectic properties which means it will undergo any manner of transformations when subjected to pressure or heat, or in the presence of other electro-magnetic charges (even human). Such changes do, of course, occur naturally in the earth and it seems that tangerine quartz is created while quartz is in the presence of of haematite dust (iron oxide) in intense heat causing the iron to adhere and create this wonderful colour. It is also referred to as haematised quartz. The Mineralology of Novia Scotia website contains good explanations of this and other types of minerals. See another picture of the tangerine quartz on courgettelawn’s flickr blog (that’s mine). What a literally brilliant orange thing! […]