Mineral Included Crystals

Inclusions are but one of the fascinating phenomena that set quartz crystals apart from other minerals. In mineralogical terms, an inclusion refers to a second mineral that grew inside the quartz while it was forming in a fluid state. An inclusion will not form from an organic substance, such as a leaf or a bug; only secondary minerals are able to form under the suitable geologic conditions. The quartz serves as the host rock within which the other minerals crystallize, the white canvas on which colored layers of exotic minerals are painted. These crystals are often referred to as scenics for their stunning internal gemscapes.

When I first began looking for crystals to cut, I visited warehouses that stockpiled clean, clear quartz imported from Brazil and Madagascar for electronics. I initially believed that the cleanest, visually purest quartz was the “best,” because it was the only quartz that had value. Now and then, I would find discarded chunks lying on the warehouse floor containing vibrantly colored minerals floating in the clear quartz: radiant hues of pink, purple, white, mauve, yellow, orange, brown, and red; a starburst of golden rutile or blue tourmalines floating in the quartz; a green chlorite phantom; a dogtooth calcite; or an enhydro water bubble that had been trapped for millions of years. These chips and chunks of quartz with inclusions were usually discarded, oftentimes knocked off with a hammer, because at the time they were perceived to have no value to the electronics industry.

I didn’t know what these odd shapes and colors floating in the quartz were, but was more than happy to buy them for almost nothing. I figured that anything this interesting and beautiful could be reshaped, cut, and polished, so that others could enjoy their beauty. Of course, today fine quality “inclusion” quartz is highly sought after and, as a result, quite valuable.

Most quartz crystals have veils floating in their transparent bodies, cloudlike formations that usually consist of tiny trapped air or water bubbles. Floating in the quartz are often highly visible planes that strongly refract light.

Beyond the pure wonder of these formations, the inclusions can be given personal meaning and can suggest ways of working with them in the crafting of one’s life. Here is but one example:

In the early 1980s, Edward Swoboda invited me to visit his mining operation located on a sprawling green hilly ranch land in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Ed, Rock Currier, and Ozario Neto had begun mining in this location, which brought to the world some of the most spectacular phantom crystals ever seen. I had a memorable time extracting a few treasures from their hard rock—encrusted pegmatite cocoon. The crystals lined the walls of an open pit about the size of a large round swimming pool, which had until recently been the top of a domed hill. I leveraged my weight so as to cling (for several hours) to the steep slope as I painstakingly chiseled out crystals. They came out slowly, but each was steeped in the excitement that it might be more exceptional than the last.

Inclusions can take on any metaphorical meaning one gives them. I look at the character of a crystal and the inclusion, and see what it is saying to me. It speaks to the subconscious in pictures contrived by imagination. Some of the images that emerge inside are so obvious that everyone seems to share the same interpretation, while others are more subtle and personal.

One might look like a forest, another like “strawberry fields forever,” a waterfall of light, a bright moon in the trees at night, a flock of birds flying free, a world undersea, a mysterious ghost dancer, or the dawn of creation frozen in time. Rainbows abound. Under a very strong light, blue needles shooting rays of light may even appear. These are actually voids in the crystal lattice.

One such inclusion may be a gateway to pass through to another realm of consciousness. An etheric gateway is a highly reflective internal structure that is very pronounced when viewed in one direction. When it is turned 45 degrees, however, it becomes invisible. A message plate may hold ancient knowledge, if one is willing to ask for it to be revealed, and then give it the attention needed to receive an answer.

I am regularly asked by people new to looking at inclusions: “Did you put that in there?” While I am a competent lapidary, only Nature has the prowess to create at this level. And when it comes to inclusions, I am convinced that Nature has tried everything at least once.

In the gem trade, having an inclusion lessens the value of the stone. This is especially true in the diamond and cut-gem industries. I’m happy to say that this is not true when it come to quartz crystals, which can be far more rare and valuable with a special inclusion.

The elusive myth of perfection must be a human invention, existing only in our minds. In Nature, we refer to things being perfect the way they are. There is great beauty in flawless, optical-grade quartz, but with strong enough magnification, an “imperfection” will inevitably show itself. I like to substitute the word “excellence” for “perfection,” such as for a beautiful sky that includes clouds containing the colors of a setting sun. When I look inside a quartz crystal, my imagination ignites.

To this day, Sunni and I use one of the phantom crystals I extracted in the mountains of Belo Horizonte as our “abundance generator.” The crystal has a thick, green, mossy-looking phantom: we have designated that its function is to emit and attract the energy of prosperity.

About this entry