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Drusy Quartz


Talk to cutters and designers who use drusy quartz and they will tell you it has a way of taking over your creative life. Cutter Greg Genovese, based in West Cape May, New Jersey, and designer Howard Lazar in West Bloomfield, Michigan, are going through prolonged drusy phases. Indeed, Genovese’s devotion to drusy is now headed for a third decade. What is so addictive about this gem?

Genovese answers by showing me an assemblage of 50 drusy leaf-carvings finished in the last year. They are so true to the flora that inspired them that I tell Genovese he should create an exhibition called “The Drusy Arboretum.” “At least 90 percent of what I do is drusy,” Genovese says. “Once in awhile I take a break and work with other gems, but drusy always calls me back.”

Lazar first heard that same call when looking at some of Genovese’s works in this medium about three years ago. Both the individual artistry and diversity of his pieces impressed him. “Each drusy carving demanded a jewelry design response that was as unique as the gem,” Lazar says. “This gem was an open-ended invitation to creativity.”

Hundreds of other designers have also taken the drusy challenge in the last five years. Drusy is perfect for a generation of shoppers who want jewelry to be a statement of taste and an expression of individuality. Genovese and Lazar are proving that drusy can make five-figure elegance available to people on three- and low four-figure budgets. Drusy is a godsend for the consumer who wants affordable magnificence and originality.

QUARTZ ON QUARTZ

Drusy (spelled with an s and pronounced with a z) is a mineralogical term used as a noun and an adjective. The noun refers to mineral cavities lined—usually in quartz—with thin layers of tiny, tightly-packed crystals that resemble sugar granules, each of these toppings of a different fineness from coarse to powdery. The adjective refers to any such granulated crystal layers.

In most cases, drusies are double-decker quartzes—quartz crystals deposited over a mineral base, or matrix, of agate like snow-capped mountains. The word drusy comes from the ancient Greek word druos for gland or bump. Drusy, like opal, can form on practically any mineral base (even, occasionally, on fossilized eggs, shells, and other objects). But the drusy used for jewelry comes from geodes in whose hollows it sometimes forms.

Two or three times a year, Genovese travels to Brazil, still the number one source for this gem (although recently Indonesia has come on strong) to conduct drusy hunts. He is looking for that one-in-a-thousand geode with a drusy lining. Thankfully, geodes are plentiful. So the long odds against finding drusy geodes don’t seem so daunting—especially since non-drusy geodes have established commercial use as ornaments.

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Drusy amethyst quartz ring
Drusy amethyst quartz ring by Nina Basharova.
drusy jewelry
Different colors of drusy in jewelry by Howard Lazar Jewelry Design, photo by Ralph Gabriner.