Ghost Crystals

The formation of ghost-crystals, or phantom-crystals from a quartz with occassional opaque layers, and the attraction of the spectral interior to crystal-gazers

The names "ghost-crystals," "phantom-crystals," "spectre-crystals," "shadow-crystals," etc., are applied to a form of quartz in which the crystallization was interrupted from time to time, so that in the transparent successive layers there is an occasional opaque layer, often no thicker than the finest possible dusting of a whiter material. Sometimes as many as fifteen or twenty of these successive growths are observable, one over the other. When these crystals are in the natural form, they show beautifully from the sides and ends. Sometimes such crystals are found after they have been rolled in the beds of mountain torrents until they have become entirely opaque, but when the surfaces are polished, the "phantom," "spectre," or "ghost," appears with wonderful beauty. Occasionally the entire crystal has been worn down to a small part of the original prism, in which case it is cut into a ball. The ball may seem to be absolutely pure, but when held in certain lights little tent-like markings can often be observed; sometimes only one marking is visible, but there may be as many as twenty. These are occasionally due to a layer of smoky material, and, though they add a charm to the ball, they detract from its value. Nevertheless, crystal-gazers may find an additional interest when the "ghostly" or "spectral" interior exists in a crystal ball. This growth is similar in kind to that seen at times in opaque quartz, forming what is known as cap-quartz; here the crystallizations can frequently be broken apart so that they fit one over the other in many successive layers. Occasionally the regular crystalline development will be interrupted, as it were, and in place of the original crystal continuing its growth harmoniously, a larger crystal will form on a smaller one, forming a sort of mushroom, or "cap," or "stilt" quartz, as it is termed.


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