The Truth About Quartz

A few decade ago, there was a sudden flurry of interest in crystals, especially quartz crystal. All sorts of claims were made for this material, many of which were difficult to verify under laboratory conditions.

Failing mainstream acceptance, the majority of humans dismissed the alleged “specialness” of quartz as just another kooky fad with no scientific underpinnings, like astrology and geomancy. A rock, they thought, like any other. Just a pretty rock.

Oh, really?

Actually, not. There are big differences between clumps of amorphous mixed atoms in solid state, like a chunk of concrete, and a macrocrystalline lattice of atoms like clear quartz crystal. One of the obvious differences is that you can see through quartz. It is transparent to light. Concrete, not.

But the transparency of quartz is not guaranteed by its chemistry. There is plenty of quartz that is cloudy or white. So why is some quartz white and some quartz is clear?

The reason is the large-scale structure. If the quartz consists of many tiny crystals, light has a complicated path to follow. At every border between one tiny crystal and another, there is the chance of reflection as well as transmission, because the grains are not parallel. You can easily see that if some light has to pass through a hundred or a thousand of these interfaces, losing a little each time to reflection, there is hardly any light left to emerge from the other side of the chunk of matter. Thus you can have a chunk of quartz, a material inherently transparent to light, and yet in the macroscopic aggregate it is effectively opaque.

When, however, crystallization is such that the individual crystals are few and very large, the small-scale structuring of the silicon and oxygen atoms extends all the way to the scale of a few inches. There is thus a single large crystal with extreme uniformity of structure. The crystalline grain is uniform. The absence of inhomogeneities and transition boundaries inside the large crystal allows light to pass through with very little reflection. The large crystal is clear.

Moreover, the uniform structure of the large quartz crystal, with extremely uniform spacing between the atoms along various axes, makes for a structure uniquely suited to conducting displacement waves, which travel through the lattice while the atoms responding to them merely bob back and forth as the wave passes by them. In the electromechanical physics of these 3D lattice systems the mathematics becomes quite interesting. It turns out that each atom can be seen as a resonator, like a pendulum, or a weight held in place by springs. The weights are nuclei, and the springs are the molecular bonds securing each nucleus in its place in the crystal — the electron springs hooking the nuclei together to make the lattice..

When you have many identical resonators in energetic contact with each other, unexpected macroscopic properties appear. One of these is strong resonance. When you have very large numbers of identical resonators (simple mechanical systems which can resonate) all connected together, the collection is very good at responding to incoming energy and resonating to it. For example, if you have a tuning fork or a guitar string tuned to A440, when a sound wave at A440 goes by the tuning fork or guitar string will absorb some of the sound energy and begin resonating to it. Okay. Now imagine having something like 1023 tuning forks or guitar strings all lined up in an densely ordered grid. The atoms cannot wiggle very far back and forth, so they wiggle quickly; the resonant frequency is high, too high for a mere mechanical sound wave.

In fact, since the electron sharing between the silicon and oxygen atoms is unequal, we might as well consider them to be positive and negatively charged atoms even though the quartz overall is neutral. This means that in addition to being able to absorb physical vibration energy like sound (but only efficiently at high frequencies), the quartz is able to resonate to electromagnetic waves was well.

Do quartz crystals come from Atlantis? Are they left by Martians? Give me a break. They form naturally in the Earth’s crust, where hot water and silicates create the correct conditions for large scale crystals to grow. We can even make them in the laboratory, with the appropriate equipment.

So what if that quartz crystal you bought in 1990 isn’t an Atlantean data archive. Take heart. It does have the ability to resonate to light, to electric and magnetic fields — such as those surrounding and emanated by living organisms. That is a fact of physics, not metaphysics. Quartz is a resonator. Clear quartz is a strong resonator — and it can resonate to you. I do not personally believe that a piece of quartz will make you enlightened or give you super powers. But its ability to interact with the fields associated with your body means it has the potential to affect your body — and perhaps your mind, since it is part of (or at least connected to) your body.

And that is fact. That is physics, not philosophy. Quartz is still a resonator, after most of us have forgotten or dismissed it. The laws of physics are not fads. The properties of matter and charged particles do not go away because they are ignored.


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