Just add water, and wait a few million years….
What are we talking about? The formation of beautiful crystals called druzy, (or drusy). This post is a brief overview of what these gemstones are, how to care for them, and a look at some of the exciting ways artisan jewelry designers are using them.
While these unusual gemstones have been around as long as any of the other better known gemstones, it is only in recent years that they have become so popular. My own experience with the druzy gem bears this out, as one of my first and most beloved pieces of jewelry gifted to me, as a teenager, was a simple gold chain on which hung a druzy pendant. I was enthralled with it (being a rock hound) yet the teenager in me was aware that no one else I knew had anything quite like it.
“Until about 10 years ago, drusy minerals were little more than a curiosity, of interest to serious mineralogists, but unnoticed by jewelry designers, gem collectors, and the general public. Times have changed! Drusy materials, at first slowly, then with increasing frequency appeared in the work of noted gem carvers and jewelry designers and, as a result, gained space in gem and jewelry publications.”Barbara Smigel, Gemologist
The credit for this sudden rise in popularity has been attributed to another recent trend—that of “boho style”! We don’t have to look too far for the reason: Druzy stones are considered as more than adornment, but as even mystical and beneficial; they have wonderful color options, can be cut into various shapes to suit the individual’s unique style, and, yes, let’s talk price points! The good news is druzies are less expensive than the finer, faceted gemstones but still deliver on color and the fabulous sparkle we love.
The way druzy is formed is also quite different than their more illustrious counterparts. Diamonds are forged in the heart of the earth, through intense heat and pressure. Sapphires and rubies are born where two gigantic plates of earth come crushing together in a continental shift.
Yet the dreamy druzy is formed by the creation of an opening in its ‘roof’, revealing its agate heart, inviting the gentle flow of mineral rich water droplets that come trickling in with their rainbow of colors. (And no, that’s not the official explanation but it does sound more peaceful!)
The minerals that the water brings, over vast amounts of time, will encrust themselves into crystalline and colorful effects, and are considered ‘the last layer’ atop an agate base.
Although druzy formations can be quite colorful on their own, the intense colors we might see in druzy quartz jewelry are those that have been enhanced with dyes.
The iridescent flicker of this gorgeous chunk of druzy (below) was created by adding a titanium oxide coating to enhance the natural sparkle of the crystal.
As with anything in the world of gemstones, there can be variations of quality. Look for druzy that exhibits even coverage of crystals over the entire stone matrix, as this will ensure a longer lasting product.
Druzy is most often found in quartz crystal, but it is by no means limited to that particular stone.
“By far the most commonly found drusy is quartz (agate or chalcedony), but many other species can exist in this form. A non-exhaustive internet search yielded the following types: chrysocolla, uvarovite garnet, rainbow pyrite, rainbow hematite, psilomelane, cobalto-calcite, calcite, dolomite, sphalerite, melanite garnet, demantoid garnet, azurite, dioptase, siderite, vanadinite and turquoise.”Barbara Smigel, Gemologist
A couple of practical notes regarding your drusy jewelry:
Druzy hardness on the Mohs scale is a 6, which means that many jewelers and gemologists do not recommend it for rings, cufflinks, or anything that will potentially have a lot of contact with other objects.
As druzy is not as durable as most gemstones, some common sense care instructions are observed. If needed, you can use warm, soapy water and a soft brush to gently clean your druzy jewelry, then rinse and dry. Druzy does not like to be exposed to household chemicals or chlorine.
Still, druzy jewelry today is associated with easy style, and the artsy charm of boho trends. To think that the simple action of water dripping on rock could create the beautiful crystalline structures called Druzy.