Feature Gems & Gemology, Spring 1982, Vol. 18, No. 1

The Natural Formation and Occurrence of Green Quartz

Amethyst may develop into the more common citrine and rarer green quartz naturally under certain geologic conditions. On the California-Nevada border, just north of Reno, amethyst, citrine, and green quartz do occur together in clusters of crystals in detritus. These crystals, found lying loose in rocky and sandy rubble, appear to have eroded from cavities and vesicles in the inaccessible cliffs above. The quartz was deposited in these spaces by the slow accumulation of silica from migrating solutions. Low-grade radiation over a geologic time span was responsible for the alteration of the ferric and ferrous quartz into its amethystine color. Secondary, high-temperature, extruding volcanic bodies are believed to be responsible for the subsequent color change to citrine or green quartz.