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Rose Quartz

Tons of the stuff are mined every year, but chances are great that you won’t see a single piece of rose quartz, loose or set, in any mainstream jewelry store. The gem’s conspicuous absence from retailer showcases raises the following questions: Where does it all go? Who sells it?

The search for rose quartz vendors takes one into the separate world of gem and mineral distributors and retailers, just next door to the one jewelers know but running parallel to it. “I have store-owner customers who are crazy about rose quartz,” boasts importer Damian Quinn of Talisman Trading Co., San Diego, California, who may very well be the United States’ only specialist in this gem.

Most of Quinn’s retail customers, it turns out, run gift and tourist shops, which fact instantly explains the dearth of rose quartz in mainstream jewelry stores. Even so, don’t ask Quinn about the run-of-the-mill bead and cabochon rose quartz that you’ll likely see in gift shops. You know the kind? Milky with colors that reminded you of every gaudy pink from that of rouge to cotton candy. In other words, the very kind of rose quartz that most who are writing about it have in mind. Who would know, until aficionados like Quinn set them straight, that this gem has its own premium grades suitable for jewelry stores? It is this kind of rose quartz to which Quinn restricts himself.

Doubtless, many will find the very idea of “premium-grade rose quartz” a contradiction in terms. Never mind. Your first glimpse of faceted rose quartz should make scoffers feel kinder toward a gem “whose only drawback is its surname,” quips dealer Ray Zajicek, Equatorian Imports, Dallas.

The gem’s name emboldened one dealer to re-christen the gem “pink velvet” for a line of rose quartz jewelry featuring high-grade material from Madagascar. It is just such creativity that may someday earn rose quartz its first serious foothold in the world of mainstream jewelry retailing.

NATURE’S LEADING STAR GEM

In the gem and mineral show world which Damian Quinn calls home, high-grade rose quartz has long had a large and loyal following. There the idea of proselytizing for the gem seems pointless when connoisseurs already pay tens of thousands of dollars for star rose quartz spheres the size of baby grapefruits.

Usually, however, star rose quartzes are pebble-sized, perfect for use in jewelry, especially with prices of only a few dollars per carat. In any case, the jewelers on the lookout for affordable star stones might be interested to know that rose quartz is perhaps nature’s most abundant star gem. (The star effect, also known as “asterism,” is caused by internal groupings of microscopic needles, often rutile, that reflect light in ray-like patterns when stones are cut in rounded and cabochon forms. Sapphire is the best-known star gem.)

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Rose Quartz