Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Lets talk Druzy!!!!

My shipment of druzy just came in...Aren't they pretty??!!

I quickly made a ring (below) because I wanted to see a finished piece.  I know...it's not quite as fancy as it could be...but I am pretty happy with it.  :-)


Sometimes referred to as druzy, druze, druse or drusie, these glittering rocks are sought-after by jewelry lovers and rock hounds.  (I prefer to use this spelling, druzy.) 

A druzy is sets of tiny crystals of minerals that form on the surface of another stone. There are many types of druzy, because there are many types of minerals. Each type of druzy has particular characteristics, such as crystal size, luster and color. Quartz is one of the most common druzy types because of the prevalence of silica throughout the world. No matter what mineral forms the druzy, the overall appearance usually resembles that of sugar. The tiny crystals are considered beautiful because, like large gemstones, they glitter and catch rays of light.  The most commonly found druzy is quartz (agate or chalcedony).  Druzy comes in many colors, most coming from non-quartz species of druzy gems, such as cobalto-calcite (hot pink), uvarovite (day glow green), and rainbow pyrite (multi colored) among many others.   There is also a special coating called that can be put over the cystals to make them even more brilliant. 

A chemical process called Chemical Vapor Deposition(CVD) in which the druzy are exposed in a gaseous environment that contains a metal like titanium. During the process the metal bonds on a molecular level with the mineral resulting in a spectacular rainbow of colors. By varying the metals and process parameters a host of colors and shades can be created. The most common compound used is titanium but others are cobalt, Silicone-Dioxide, gold, and silver.

A druzy has a Mohs hardness of 7...which is...hum...not the hardest, especially for rings.  I have just started working with druzies...but I plan on ALWAYS setting my rings in a "shadow box" setting.  This type of setting means the sides of the bezel extends past the crystal sides of the stones and will protect the tiny quartz crystals.  You can see in the picture below how the sides of the bezels extend past the crystals.  These are NOT set yet, they are merely sitting in bezels for now.   

Unprotected settings:  
Since druzies are fragile, the way they are set is really important to the "life" of the stone.  A lot of druzies look like they are just set with glue or epoxy and the crystal tops are not protected.  If the crystals get knocked off, the bare stone from underneath the crystals is not very pretty.

Below is another example of an unprotected setting.  You see this type of setting a lot when you are surfing the net for druzy jewelry...click on this link for examples.  This type of bezel is electroplated.  The sides of the stone is protected however, the crystals are above the electroplating and are subject to being chipped off of the stone.  
I did read my comment box for this post and there were some designers that were quite miffed at me for saying the things I said about electroplated jewelry.  I didn't mean to offend any jewelers that actually do electroplating in their own studios...as I am sure they do everything they can to protect the stones from the users wear and tear.  

The mass produced electroplated druzies from China do not protect the stones...therefore the jewelry does not "hold up."  Hopefully the buyer will do their research on who they are buying from and if the jewelry is handmade/handcrafted.  The buyer will also need to be educated and use their own judgment in regards to the quality and wearability of the jewelry they are buying.   


I prefer to set my stones in a more traditional setting because I believe it protects the integrity of the stone.

More Information on druzy gemstones...