Rock crystal -- one of the August stones mascots

Our next publication in the column "Stone mascot of the month" is about August rock crystal.
Rock crystal is colorless clear quartz that occurs as well-developed crystals and in river sediments as naturally polished pebbles. Crystals can reach several meters in size. Rock crystal is characterized by high transparency, after polishing it acquires a good luster. The stone was known even to primitive men. Basic jewelry and amulets were made of this durable and beautiful material, which often did not require processing. Its transparent pebbles, crystals and their fragments in the form of arrowheads have been found by archaeologists during excavations of ancient sites in sediments about 30,000 years old. Ancient Tibetan healers used crystal balls to treat wounds. They put the stone on the wounded area in such a way that sunlight passed through it. As a result, the wound healed faster. As it turned out later, the ray passing through the crystal kills bacteria. Interesting optical properties of the stone were discovered in ancient China - craftsmen made excellent quality eyeglasses and magnifying glasses out of it. In ancient Greece, there was a belief that rock crystal emerged from the tears of the gods that fell from the heavens and absorbed their power. In the ancient era, rock crystal was very popular. Tableware made of this mineral was considered especially valuable: goblets, vases. Among the Romans, crystal balls were in fashion – in hot weather people cooled their hands against them, because the stone, due to its low thermal conductivity, always remained cool. The Japanese recognized it as the frozen breath and saliva of a dragon. For the Japanese, rock crystal is "tama", a symbol of purity and infinity of environment, as well as a symbol of patience and perseverance. In the Middle Ages in Europe, "magic balls" were used for fortune-telling, and crystal balls – "stones of victory" – were hung by warriors on their banners and weapons.

The name comes from the Greek "kristallos", meaning "ice", because in ancient times rock crystal was considered to be hardened ice. Under this name that rock crystal was mentioned in “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey”. The practical uses of rock crystal are quite varied. Today rock crystal remains a sought-after gem among jewelers. Jewelry with this mineral is in demand.

Rock crystal has long been processed in Russia. Already in the 13th century the first enterprise for crystal processing was opened in the town of Gus-Khrustalny. Products from this town were famous for their amazing transparency, skilful faceting and pleasant "voice". It is known that Emperor Peter the Great ordered for his residence a crystal samovar made by Gus-Khrustalny craftsmen from a solid quartz nugget. Rock crystal was one of Carl Faberge favorite materials. One of the activities of the Fabergé firm, which made it world famous, was the production of precious flowers in miniature vases. Work-cutters skillfully processed pieces of rock crystal to create the impression that the vases were filled with water.

In eastern folk medicine (India, China, Tibet), crystals of this semi-precious stone have been used for a variety of purposes since antiquity. For example, litho therapists use rock crystal for heart, stomach and eye diseases, varicose vein treatment and colds. It is believed that the crystals normalize the physical and spiritual state of a person, relieve headaches, stress and fever. A sphere made of rock crystal is a traditional attribute of magicians and fortune-tellers. In it or through it, calling spirits, they try to see the pictures of the past time and the images of future. Rock crystal mascots serve to attract love, joy, sympathy of others, good luck, mental comfort and well-being into the life of their owner. The mineral is said to relieve sleep problems, nightmares and fears.

The physical properties of rock crystal have made it widely sought after in many areas of human activities. Due to of its very high hardness (seven on the Mohs scale*), the stone has been used since antiquity to make knives and arrowheads. Nowadays, the mineral, which has good electrical conductivity, is actively used in watch movements. The well-known quartz watches are characterized by unprecedented accurate timing. High-quality lenses, magnifying glasses, carved figures, seals, cups, magic objects, and jewelry are made of rock crystal. At the same time, it is relatively inexpensive, nevertheless its beauty can be compared with the most exquisite precious minerals.

The museum "Collection" section “Lapidary works of Art” features the great variety of rock crystal products.

Here are some of them:
Bowl on four dolphin-shaped supports. Faberge firm. Russian Empire, Moscow. 1887-1898
Rock crystal box with reverse intaglio carving. Manfred Wild. Germany, Idar-Oberstein. The 20th century. Manfred Wild. Germany, Idar-Oberstein. 20th century
Snuffbox with agate lid. Manfred Wild. Germany, Idar-Oberstein. The 20th century
Chalice with lid. Manfred Wild. Germany, Idar-Oberstein. The 20th century
Rose in a vase. Germany. The 20th century
Inkpot. Manfred Wild, Emile Becker Company. Germany, Idar-Oberstein. The 20th century
Easter egg from the Creation series "Mars". Germany, Idar-Oberstein

On the cover: Presentation bowl Henry Dunay. USA. The 20th century

*The Mohs scale of mineral hardness (/moʊz/) is a qualitative ordinal scale, from 1 to 10, characterizing scratch resistance of minerals through the ability of harder material to scratch softer material.

Ref.:  https://www.livemaster.ru/topic/1600462-gornyj-hrustal