Inclusions are often referred to as ‘flaws’, a term I really dislike because it’s really not an appropriate description as the term suggests a failing, a glitch, or a defect. ‘Inclusion’ suggests involvement, formation or incorporation. Yes, some inclusions may affect the clarity of a stone, but they can also contribute to the beauty of a stone.
We need to remember these ‘flaws’ are remnants of a tedious and turbulent beginning – some hundreds of thousands to millions of years of heat, pressure, volcanic action, erosion, climatic changes and a delicate balance of chemical bonds. Crystals are an absolute miracle of nature requiring the perfect balance of ingredients and circumstances for crystallisation to take place.
Inclusions are the battle scars and something we should learn to love and appreciate (particularly since sources are not as abundant as they once were, and this may be our only hope for survival).
Aside from the regular old feathers, veils, negative crystals, cavities, colour banding, etc. there are mineral inclusions that add colour, sheen and charm to a gemstone. One of the more beautiful and intriguing mineral inclusions are dendrites and dendritic inclusions.
Dendritic is the term used to describe the formation in which certain minerals crystallise, fine, fern-like branches much like the structure of frost and snowflakes. Dendrites are, by definition, a fractal-a “self-similar” pattern, meaning they are the same either near or far, an ever-evolving pattern of repetition and growth. Fractals are fascinating for more than just the dendrites enthusiast. Mathematicians and scientists have studied their attributes to further their knowledge of geometry, metallurgy, computer technologies, neurosciences, space and time. In the gemmological world, dendrites and manganese oxides (MnO2) and iron oxides (Fe2O3) and form in fine fractures and fissures through the crystallisation of manganese and/or iron rich solutions from surrounding weathered rock. In the jewellery world, they’re simply beautiful and can turn a piece of Quartz into something of spectacular beauty and intrigue.
Dendritic Quartz can be transparent to translucent depending on the clarity of the quartz and density of inclusions. Occasionally, healed fractures are stained with iron giving a yellow through orange body colour. The dendrites themselves can vary from black through to a pale brown giving each stone its own unique visual characteristic appearance of a landscape, a mineral garden of delicate ferns. With a hardness of 7, Dendritic Quartz is great for rings and pendants. Earrings can be impossible to find matching stones for and the detail is lost in smaller gems.
Taking pride in his Dendritic Quartz collection, owner and designer at Made in Earth, Bunny Bedi, has always sourced the most exquisite specimens for his jewellery.
“This stone is picturesque, and it is important to treat each stone as a work of art, nature’s art. We carefully set each stone so that the scene of each dendritic picture is displayed perfectly. I’m never afraid to work with large stones, particularly with Dendritic Quartz, as the bigger the stone the more exquisite the scenery.
The best quality stones are found in Brazil and are generally sold by the carat. ‘High grade’ doesn’t necessarily imply the best clarity but the most picturesque scene of dendrites. Stones are generally cut with a top-polish crown and step-cut pavilion to best show the inclusions and not get facets in the way of the details.”
Take pride in your gemstone’s inclusions, it is not every day that you can find crystal jewellery that looks like a beautiful painting has occurred naturally within it. We know you will love the display of nature’s art within our Dendritic Quartz jewellery range in our galleries, and certainly worth adding a dendritic quartz ring or pendant into your personal collection.
The title of “Gemologist” carries more than just knowledge and skills, it also suggests a person who is perpetually intrigued by the marvels of minerals and delicacy of crystallography and, I’d say, a fascination with the universe in general. Rocks and minerals leak a story of the past. As we study these million to billion-year-old specimens we can relive some of the conditions our planet has seen. More specifically, the microscopic investigation of inclusions in gemstones also tells a tale, where crystal has been, where it has come from and how old it is.
The Sikhote-Alin Meteorite is the largest observed meteorite fall in modern history. It is estimated that over 23,000kg fell that morning leaving behind 120 craters, the largest measuring 6 x 26 metres, with debris covering an elliptical area of 1.62km. The pre-atmospheric size of meteorite body was suggested to weigh over 1000 tonnes and more than 70 tonnes estimated to have reach the Earth’s surface. From this, 8,500 specimens have been collected, the largest weighing in at 1,725kg!
Kind of like a big-time celebrity who is notoriously private out of the public eye, Sapphire is one of those stones that absolutely everyone has heard about, but no one really knows anything about. “They’re the blue one’s, yeah?” Obviously not private in a Kardashian way, more like a Beyoncé situation. Yes, I just compared sapphires to Beyoncé; perhaps Kate (the Duchess of Cambridge) is more appropriate Bey is an Emerald girl after all.