Monthly Archives: January 2019

Quartz: the Series

The α- Alpha  and the β- Beta

The Science & Art of Quartz.


Our most beloved gemstone, in its myriad forms…Eleven crystalline and 2 non-crystalline minerals comprise silica (SiO2), though Quartz is the most common form. In our landscapes, in our lives…
Twelve percent of Earth’s surface is quartz, and a full 20% of the whole crust is quartz.


Geologists have plotted the various forms of SiO2  over the years, culminating in the diagram to the left.

MySiOinterests these days, and most of my life actually, lie in the blue and pink  areas on the diagram:  α-quartz and β-quartz, respectively.

α-Alpha and β-beta quartz occur in all igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rock types. Within the alpha and beta fields lie a seemingly vast array of different rock types, all of which comprise quartz.

Pectoral Necklace of Senworset II, Middle Kingdom, 1880 B.C.


Beautiful enough for gemstones. Revered since antiquity. The ancient Egyptians were gifted artisans whose use of blood-red Carnelian—one of the Quartz gemstones—is iconic and legendary.

It’s ALL Quartz…

Trace elements (e.g. iron) produce the colors we see in all forms of Quartz, though it is not color but size and  translucency that are the keys to the Classification of Quartz.

From Large to Small…Macro to Micro to Crypto. Size matters not only in how quartz gemstones are classified, but how they come to display the endless and gorgeous variation in color and patterns of spheres,  bands and layers–whether smooth or crenulated. And why we love these humble stones more than diamonds.

Today, it’s all about Macro. Following are a few examples of the flavors of Quartz whose crystals are large enough to see without magnification. Tomorrow, the small stuff.

Macrocrystalline: Crystals are easily identified without magnification.

These Amethyst crystals are an example of Macrocrystalline Quartz.

The crystals do not have to be whole, perfect and complete like these. Some Quartz is quite coarsely crystalline yet do not display the crystal habit of the mineral.



Rose Quartz is a type of Macrocrystalline Quartz that does not form crystal faces, but is composed of many intergrown crystal ‘sub-individuals’


Second most popular Quartz gemstone…Amethyst is first.





A naturally occurring variety of Macrocrystalline Quartz comprising zones of Amethyst intergrown with zones of Citrine.




Ametrine cut perpendicular to the c-axis of the crystal. Is that freaking cool or what???


Quartz crystal axes: 

Macro…Micro…Crytpo…it’s ALL Quartz.
Versatile, beautiful, ornamental

Carnelian Pendant wrapped in Copper wire.
(and yes, Carnelian is one of the many lovely flavors of quartz, of the Microcrystalline Quartz variety)

Find this and more or my work with the Gifts of the Earth here:

And my Facebook page MCS Artworks

Thank you…

Coming Soon: Microcrystalline Quartz



The Mineral Citrine
The Mineral Quartz
The Quartz Page


Late last year on one of the social media sites, I was inspired by this poster—words from the great psychoanalyst Carl Jung which reads:

“I sketched every morning in a notebook a small circular drawing which seemed to correspond to my inner situation at the time”

My inner situation was to start the day so splendidly.  In meditation. Drawing meditation — a spiritual practice, centered within my own self, rather than the ravages of life in America in 2018 as reported incessantly by social media, news media, comedy media, bullcrap media…

The Mandala Project

I replace it all with Mandala Media—or perhaps Mary Media, though some would argue my inner being, the being whom I truly serve is probably not named Mary. Do our inner beings have names, I wonder? Names that survive our current incarnations?

No matter. Mary has worked well my entire life, in spite of the still, though thankfully occasional, references to nursery rhymes with gardens and contrariness.

Everyone knows what a mandala is, right? —from the Sanskrit, loosely translated as “circle”?

That’s the short definition, which I would come to find useful…but most of us probably think mandalas are a bit more than ‘just a circle’. We want more from a mandala than that.

Man·da·la — ˈmandələ/
noun: mandala;
-geometric figure of a circle enclosing a square, representing the universe.
-in Psychoanalysis: a symbol in a dream, representing the dreamer’s search for completeness and self-unity.

I see. The Universe and self-unity. And the dreamer is… the one who draws the mandala.

That works.

So I draw a mandala every day —  with ink and colored pencil on paper.  Free hand, but for the inner and outer circles, which are drawn using a template.

The rest is my hand, my focus, my intention.The images of the mandalas flow to me and through me, while I enjoy the patterns and the colors issuing forth from pen and pencils.  Emerging first, hearts and stars and squares of ever-increasing symmetry organized themselves in

symmetrical patterns of triangles and stars. The endless variety of possibilities of color and structure ultimately leads to the energy flows of the universe.

Outside, the flowers bloomed and finally, finally I understood that we are, like the flowers and trees, nourished from below and above— with the gifts of the physical earth, and the invisible flows from above, through the energy of sun, wind and eternal sky. Which gave birth to the quintessential mandala…

Tree of Life