Rutilated quartz is one of the March stones mascots

Our new publication under the heading "Stone of the Month" is about the April rutilated quartz.
Rutilated quartz is a transparent quartz with thin, hair-like or needle-like inclusions of reddish-brown rutile insertions oriented in different directions. This quartz is called Venus hairstone. The mineral was formed around 500 million years ago by volcanic activity. It was found in Egyptian tombs, was venerated by the priests of the ancient world and was admired in the Middle Ages. Different legends exist about the origins of the gemstone. The most common one is about the goddess Venus, who went for a swim. Her hair was caught in the plants at the bottom and one of the locks was pulled off. The goddess did not notice the loss, and when the water froze, her hair turned to stone. There is another version of the same legend — while bathing in the lake, the goddess got her hair caught by a rock. The torn lock of hair attracted the attention of the mermaids. They shouted and fought in an attempt to get hold of the trophy. The goddess became enraged and turned the hair into stone. The Greeks believed that the stone contained the threads of destiny woven by the goddess Moira. In the Muslim world, rutilated quartz is known as 'Mohammed's beard'.

Brazil is the leading producer of this mineral. Local rutilated quartz is considered the most valuable. Intricate star-shaped patterns are often found inside the rough stones. Moreover, the mineral from this part of South America is the most resistant. Rutilated quartz is also mined in Pakistan, the USA, Madagascar, Greece and Kazakhstan. In our country, Venus hairstone is widely quarried in the Northern Urals. A special variety of the mineral is the Kola variety, which is mined on the Kola Peninsula in the Murmansk region. It is not as transparent as the others are, it has haze like rauchtopaz, white or greyish spots. The treads and lines inside this variety of Venus hairstone are green or black. There is no precise classification of rutilated quartz, as no two identical crystals can be found in nature. Each specimen is singular and the pattern is always unique.

The mineral is used as an ornamental stone and as a collector's item. Gem-quality specimens, with their rich colour and characteristic pattern, are used for jewellery — bracelets and necklaces are made from them, while some specimens are set in noble metals such as silver, white and yellow gold. A rule exists: stones of golden hue with orange, yellow or red streaks are set in yellow gold. Misty-grey stones with silvery, black or, less frequently, green inclusions are set in silver or white gold. Platinum is not used.
As quartz is a rather strong mineral, it is used to make statuettes, figurines and various esoteric paraphernalia. In the past, it was used to carve seals. The stone is also a popular material for decorating mirrors, candlesticks and the bases of expensive table lamps.

In ancient cultures as well as in the Middle Ages, rutilated quartz was considered the stone of magicians and priests. They gazed into the thickness of the stone to foretell fortune. The stone was believed to have the power to bring peace of mind and harmony to one's life.
Modern lithotherapy has come a long way in the study of minerals and their effects on the human body. While millennia ago quartz was famed as an antidote to snakebite and a remedy for hair growth, today stone therapists have discovered a number of other benefits of the gemstone. Rutilated quartz is said to have beneficial effects on the organs in the solar plexus area: the liver, spleen, stomach, and pancreas.
Astrologers believe that the stone favors those born under the signs of Leo, Libra, Cancer, Aquarius and Taurus. It enhances positive qualities and suppresses negative ones. This gem helps one to find love and always be the center of attention.

Rutilated quartz is the talisman of people engaged in the arts, as well as magicians and clairvoyants. The talisman can bring happiness in one's personal life, develop talent or capabilities, protect against melancholy and depression.

The thematic photo album "Rutilated quartz -- stone mascot of April" is posted in the museum Photo Gallery.

On the cover: Rutilated quartz bonbonnière. Stephen Webster Ltd. Great Britain, London. The 2nd half of the 20th century