Quartz Crystals from California
A Brief History of Quartz Crystals
From earliest times humans have treasured quartz crystals. Indigenous peoples attributed magical qualities to them, as good luck charms,
tips on ceremonial wands, and used crystals in healing rituals. The ancient ones traveled great distances to obtain these crystals, and revered them.
Varieties of micro-crystalline quartz, called chert, were the first materials to be sculpted into tools. When struck properly, chert
fractures to create sharp edges. Throughout the Neolithic Age, most stone tools were made of chert. Quartz crystals were used to make
projectile points and spear tips. Its hardness made it good for a sharp cutting knife, hide scrapers, and later arrowheads.
The most important prehistoric use of quartz may have been to start fire. When struck with skill, particularly against iron or other
metallic rock, chert produces a long-lived spark, making it one of the most reliable and portable means of starting fires.
Today people still treasure quartz crystals, for their aesthetic beauty which inspires wonderment, their colorful
inclusions, rainbows, and bizarre shapes of completely formed crystals. Scientists are intrigued with crystallography,
piezoelectric properties, and silicon chip technologies. From crystal and mineral collecting, to creating therapeutic environs
that promote healing, to instant computer functions, quartz crystals have abundant applications in the 21st century.
When you visit the California State Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa, look for two quartz crystals from This Old Rock on display.
All photos by This Old Rock, or John French, are Copyrighted, ©, and may not be used without written consent. All Rights Reserved. This Old Rock 1998 - 2015