One of the most common minerals on earth. Huge numbers of rocks with their own names are types of quartz; most beaches have sand made of grains of quartz and it acts as a natural cement between other minerals.

Pure quartz is colorless and has been used since ancient Roman times for lenses to concentrate the sun's rays; it is still used in lens systems and prisms. Its electrical properties make it useful in crystal radios, phonographs, and watches. It also has a rating of 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, making it useful in jewelry and any other purpose where a tough stone is needed.

Various added elements give quartz different colors which are used as gemstones. Some of these are: amethyst, citrine, ametrine, aventurine, and the whole chalcedony family. Several other less valuable varieties don't have their own name (but are very pretty nonetheless):

  • Smoky quartz is a tan, brown, or gray color (extremely dark smoky quartz is called morion). Radioactivity is believed to cause the color. It has been mixed up with andalusite, tourmaline and topaz in the past. It is probably the most common colored type of quartz and can be found in huge crystals which make very striking jewelry.
  • Rose quartz is pink or peach-colored and is usually rather opaque compared to most quartz gems. It is often carved into beads or even like jade into art objects. Too much weathering, though, will turn the stone grayish.
  • Quartz crystal, or rock crystal are common names to specify the clear variety. This material was often used in the past for things like rhinestones (so called because they were made from quartz pebbles found in the Rhine river valley) and fortuneteller's crystal balls.
  • Quartz is also occasionally found in all sorts of other colors such as a deep blue. It takes tests to tell if something is colored quartz or some other material.
  • Rutilated quartz is not really a separate type of quartz; any color of quartz is said to be rutilated if it contains impurities, usually golden or reddish and needle-shaped, which show through to the outside of the polish crystal. Smoky and clear quartz crystals are more likely to have this, though rose quartz has been known to show rutiles with asterism.

Quartz is also the name of Apple's graphics layer in OS X. It is meant to eventually replace Quickdraw. It is all PDF based (remember the Adobe format?). It is currently available only to Cocoa apps (I'm not sure about Java), but it will be available to Carbon apps sometime after OS X ships.

Quartz crystals are piezoelectric - applying voltage to them will cause vibration. Each quartz crystal resonates at a certain frequency with great precision, and crystals can be cut to vibrate at any needed frequency. This makes them ideal for keeping time in clocks and watches, since a simple battery (as a source of electricity) can replace an intricate sytem of mechanical gears, thus making accurate timepieces affordable. They are also used for frequency control and timekeeping purposes in many electrical and electronic circuits.

An international Amiga demo scene group born in the UK.

Quartz was formed in 1991 by British ex-members of Flashing Bytes led by Jaz. Armed with the good musician Hydlide and several other productive members, the group produced many small intros and demos but nothing spectacular. In 1992 Quartz started expanding outside of the Great Britain. They started divisions in Denmark, Sweden and even one in South Africa (which was led by Bjørn, a dane who moved to SA).

Now this is where things get complicated. More or less the entire Danish division left for Majic 12. The Swedish people recruited the megaswapper Speedy in Denmark, and he in turn let a 13-year-old swapper/musician Neutralizer form the Finnish section of Quartz. The main division in UK soon found out that the Swedish people were - in good old scene terms - lamers, and they were kicked out immediately. The British people also initially meant to get rid of everybody hired through the Swedish section. In the end, the Finnish section was allowed to stay while Speedy moved on and joined Parasite.

The scene back then was worse than your average soap opera, eh? But let's move on...

1992 was pretty much the best year for Quartz. The British members released the great music disk "Project Techno". It was based on the old idea of mixing together many modules into one giant megamix, but it was done better than in any similar scene production up to then. Quartz also acquired the very talented swapper Majic Mushroom, whose packdisks were very popular. A small party was also arranged on summer '92 in the UK.

Meanwhile, the South African division produced numerous intros during the year. While the quality varied, at least one couldn't call them unproductive. The same can't be said about the Finnish division, though. While it had grown to 3 members, including swapper Daftworm (who joined from Origin) and the talented musician Beadwave, the Finns failed to release anything due to a lack of coders. There was some talk about arranging a small demo party in Hämeenlinna, Finland along with Groo of Virtual Dreams, but this plan never became a reality. During The Party 92 Quartz UK released their best intro yet, "Space Trip", which used one of Beadwave's tunes, so at least the Finns achieved something. :)

Quartz slowly faded away in 1993. A mediocre music disk "Go For the Record" was released by Bjørn, but with Majic Mushroom joining Lemon and the British section falling into a coma, things were pretty much over. The Finnish section died as Daftworm quit his scene activities due to being too busy with his studies, and Beadwave disappeared without a trace. Finally, Neutralizer changed his handle to Breakbeat and left for the old Danish Quartz member Speedy's group, imaginatively titled Speedy.

In case you didn't figure it out yet, I was once known as Neutralizer/Quartz.
(I know it's a silly pseudonym - hey, I was 13 years old! :))

Amiga Scene Groups

You don't honestly think this was cut'n'paste, do you? :)

Quartz (?), n. [G. quarz.] Min.

A form of silica, or silicon dioxide (SiO2), occurring in hexagonal crystals, which are commonly colorless and transparent, but sometimes also yellow, brown, purple, green, and of other colors; also in cryptocrystalline massive forms varying in color and degree of transparency, being sometimes opaque.

The crystalline varieties include: amethyst, violet; citrine and false topaz, pale yellow; rock crystal, transparent and colorless or nearly so; rose quartz, rosecolored; smoky quartz, smoky brown. The chief crypto-crystalline varieties are: agate, a chalcedony in layers or clouded with different colors, including the onyx and sardonyx; carnelian and sard, red or flesh-colored chalcedony; chalcedony, nearly white, and waxy in luster; chrysoprase, an apple-green chalcedony; flint, hornstone, basanite, or touchstone, brown to black in color and compact in texture; heliotrope, green dotted with red; jasper, opaque, red yellow, or brown, colored by iron or ferruginous clay; prase, translucent and dull leek-green. Quartz is an essential constituent of granite, and abounds in rocks of all ages. It forms the rocks quartzite (quartz rock) and sandstone, and makes most of the sand of the seashore.


© Webster 1913.

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