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Quartz is composed of silicon and oxygen and is common throughout the world, although most of it is not crystallized. Crystallization occurs when the silicon dioxide or silica is heated. The source of the heat can be extremely hot water from underground sources, which fills open fissures to create filled quartz veins. In Arkansas, this reaction is estimated to have occurred during the last part of the formation of the Ouachita Mountains, about 280 to 245 million years ago. During the cooling, the silicon and the oxygen recombined as molecules formed by one silicon atom and four oxygen atoms. All of the crystals have six sides or prism faces because of their molecular structure. Quartz is rated seven on the Mohs hardness scale; diamonds are rated ten. Some quartz exists in sand form.

Uses for Quartz

Electronics / Wafer fab

Crystallized quartz has several properties that make it valuable. It is capable of steady vibrations, also called oscillations, that can be used to regulate the flow of electricity. Quartz chips are made of synthetic crystals that are cut into very small wafers using lasers. The chips are found in clocks, watches, computers, stereos, television, radar and sonar. Quartz is also an ingredient in synthetic stone materials that can be used as kitchen counter tops. The crystals can convert electrical voltage into the mechanical regulation of clocks and computers. This process can be reversed by using mechanical pressure to produce electrical voltage.

Metaphysical properties

Many people believe quartz contains metaphysical properties, and followers of the New Age movement look to crystals for their purported healing properties and as an aid to altered levels of consciousness. Hot Springs diamonds are quartz crystals that are cut in the faceted style of diamonds and other precious stones.