Sometimes gold prospectors are lucky enough to unearth a piece of gold that is encased in a solid piece of quartz. Rather than a solid gold nugget, these are generally referred to as “gold quartz specimens,” and are quite a thrill to find.
These natural specimens of gold in quartz are highly valued by collectors, and generally it is best to keep them as they are and market them to mineral collectors. They can fetch a nice premium over the price of the gold by itself if you are able to find the right buyer.
Making Jewelry Using Gold Quartz Specimens
There are some occasions where you may want to do something special with a specimen that you find. I am talking about using it to make a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry. You may be able to slice the specimen and make a cabochon that can be mounted in a ring or pendant.
Not all gold in quartz is suitable for this. In fact, the vast majority of gold in quartz aren’t really great candidates to use in jewelry either because they are too small, they aren’t structurally sound enough to endure the process, or they simply aren’t of high enough quality to produce a quality end product.
Once you’ve selected your specimen, you will need to have it cut or “slabbed” so that you can expose the veins of gold running through the quartz. This is the process that will really tell you whether or not your piece is going to be suitable for use in jewelry. Cutting a slab should give you a nice cross section of the gold and hopefully it will look attractive enough that you will want to proceed.
Next you will want to select the nicest part of the slab and select the area that you want to make into a cabochon. Cabochons are most commonly round or oval shaped, although you could potentially do a wide variety of different shapes. Try to select an area that has the best contrast of white quartz with shiny gold running through it.
Once the cabochon has been cut out, it needs to be rounded and polished. The end result should be a beautiful shiny piece of gold in quartz that is suitable for mounting in some type of jewelry like a ring or cabochon.
At this point, there are endless varieties of ways that a custom jeweler could incorporate the cabochon into a piece of jewelry. My friend Steve Wandt owns NaturalGoldJewelry.com and specializes in working with natural gold like this. He has made some spectacular creations. Not only can he work with gold in quartz, he can also use natural gold that has been mined and use it to make the gold that goes into the jewelry itself. Here is an example of his awesome work below.
Of course it takes quite a bit of specialized equipment and skill in order to go from a raw gold in quartz specimen to a polished cabochon and eventually a piece of finished jewelry. If you want to learn, the best bet would be to join a local rockhounding club and start learning how to work with material like this.
If you want to speed up the process then you will want to seek out a person who has done this kind of work before and can do all this for you. They can also take a look at your specimen and give you an educated guess on whether or not it is a good candidate for use in jewelry. Pieces that are cracked or have weak points in them likely are not going to hold up to the rigors of cutting.