The gift of love among Roman youth and known as the symbol of reconciliation, is rose quartz the perfect pink stone?
Pink gemstones have been associated with love for thousands of years as an aid to mend a broken heart and help find or manifest love. When it comes to the gentle soft pink hues only a few gemstones lead the gemstone race in the pursuit for pale pink perfection. With each gemstone having a list of its own eccentricities the ideal pink stone may in fact be a unicorn.
Rose quartz beads were found back in 7000BC, while rose quartz jewellery was found around 800-600BC created by the Assyrians and Romans. In fact, the ancient Egyptians believed that the stone could prevent ageing (wouldn’t that be nice!).
Rose Quartz is a pink variety of crystalline quartz and can be found in very light (almost colourless) pink through to medium-dark pink and colour zoning is not uncommon. Although some sources say this delicate pink colour is due to trace elements of titanium, iron or manganese, it is believed that microscopic inclusions of aligned silicate mineral fibers similar to the mineral dumortierite are the cause. These colouring inclusions give this stone a characteristic cloudy translucence so it is generally cut into cabochons. Stones with higher clarity and superior transparency are favoured for faceting and can produce quite magical gems. Along with stones of fine colour and clarity, Madagascar is known to producer ‘star rose quartz’. Dense with fibrous inclusions aligned at 120” to one another, when cut into cabochons or spheres a 6-pointed star is visible when light is reflected off the polished surface.
Forming in masses, rather than crystals like the rest of the quartz family, large cut stones are not unusual for rose quartz. Abundance as well as price gives cutters an opportunity to sacrifice a lot of quartz that can be found as well-formed crystals is named ‘pink quartz’ although it is acceptable to refer to them both as simply rose quartz. This variety owes its colour to a different mechanism and is extremely rare. Exceptional specimens of this mineral have been found in Brazil.
Popular in the new age market for decades, recent jewellery trends have showcased pastel toned gems and rose gold settings giving rose quartz a new-found interest in the jewellery market as a cheaper alternative to its rarer counterparts. Although sapphires and diamonds offer us a pretty pink option, their cost and availability crush the dreams and budgets of most. Kunzite (spodumene) and morganite (beryl) have been the long-standing mainstream pink favourites amongst jewellers and gemstone enthusiasts as they both offer unique shades of pink as well as larger carat sizes and exquisite cuts. These stones are still not without flaws of their own, kunzite is famous for fading over time and being quite fragile and morganite can teeter on the edge of peachy-orange or be pale in larger sized stones. Rose quartz offers a fabulous alternative as it is highly abundant, affordable and the perfect shade of pink despite its lack of complete transparency and low dispersion.
India has been a long-standing source of rose quartz for Made In Earth, but with a rising demand for faceted stones of a higher clarity Bunny Bedi, owner and director at MIE, has shifted his supplies to other sources. “Once upon a time a simple rose quartz cab was one of our most popular stones. Now, with the shift in jewellery trends, we’re finding our customers are after ‘gem quality’ faceted rose quartz for cocktail rings and pendants. We’ve since moved most of our supply to Madagascar where we can source brighter colours, excellent clarity and unique star stones.”
“I’m not surprised these higher grade stones are so popular, the price is very competitive, the supply meets our demand and they look pretty amazing! Along with faceted stones, we can never have enough carved hearts. Being the stone of love, this shape seems fitting and is always popular.”
Perfection can come in many forms but with gemstones there are key factors that contribute to the final decision. Rose quartz may not be perfect, but it’s so close and a little love in your life is a sweet bonus.