Cutting Gem Silica

Hi everyone,

I recently got a good deal on some beautiful gem silica, also known
as quattro quantum silica. I’m just learning to cut stones. (the hard
way, trial and error, lots of error) I’ve only seen a few pieces of
jewelry made with this stone before. I’m wondering if anyone here
could give me any tips. I’m suprised I haven’t seen more jewelry made
with it, it is a georgeous stone.

Ms. Terry Pettit

Hi Terry, Is your gem silica translucent blue or does it have other
colors/mine rals and opaque? I only ask because to me and some other
“old timers” know Gem silica as the blue ice like material. I like
it all :wink: I think there is an article on Quattro Quantum silica in
the October, 2000 Rock & Gem Magazine. Also, if I remember right to
be quattro quantum silica it has to have chrysocolla, shattuckite,
dioptase and malachite in a quartz base. If your material has good
silica it should polish OK. The problem with some stone that have
several minerals of varying hardness they tend to undercut like
malachite does sometimes in chrysocolla unless it’s treated. Without
seeing your material it is a little difficult to give much opinions.
If your just learning cabbing, how about just smoothing a small area
of a piece of rough, sand and polish and see how it goes? Don’t cut
it up yet and try a cab, just a face on the rough. And, are you
using all diamond to cut and polish with? If you like, email me a
picture of your rough. Even a picture is not a good way to evaluate
anything but it helps over none.


Terry, I don’t know the quality of the gem silica you purchased,
but…if you are a novice cutter I would first practice on
something else…anything else. Gem silica is considered a rare (or
at lease hard to get) stone and the prices on the market can be
quite high for good quality. The last thing you want to do is mess
up hundreds of $ worth of nice gem silica.

When you do begin cutting it, you will find it performs pretty much
like any quartz…it is after all a quartz…very much like
chrysoprase in cutting. So, start on your 100 to shape, go to 220 to
fine cut, then to 280, either 400 or 600, 1200 or 3000 final smooth
and then polish either with cerium on felt or 50K diamond. Its a
pretty standard cutting procedure.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple elegance IS
fine jewelry!

Hi again,

Sorry to take so long to get back but have been very busy getting
ready for another couple events to vend at.

Aceminer, there are large areas like what you describe being very
transluscent blue as well as areas that have the other minerals very
predominant and more opaque. I will email you a couple pics as well
as some of the cabs that I have already cut from it.

Maybe I should have used a better term than “novice” when describing
myself. I consider a novice or beginner as someone with less than 10
years experience at something. I have been cutting my own stones now
for about 3 yrs now and have been creating crystal healing tools and
ritual tools for Wiccans for over 15 yrs. As far as my jewelry is
concerned, I am finding I am selling more of the wire-wrapped jewelry
than any of the other jewelry I have made.

I was just hoping that someone here could give me soem advice from
their experience with working with this stone. TY.

Bright Blessings,
Ms. Terry Pettit

Don’t ya mean cyrptocrstaline Quartz? Silica is too broad of term to
truly give advice, a genie polisher should do what you wish, flat
laps are hard to give a good cabochon cut as it will leave flats.


   Don't ya mean cyrptocrstaline Quartz? Silica is too broad of
term to truly give advice, a genie polisher should do what you
wish, flat laps are hard to give a good cabochon cut as it will
leave flats.   

No, I don’t mean cryptocrystaline quartz. It is also known as Quantum
Quattro Silica.

And I have no problems creating a good cab of many different shapes
with a flatlap. Yes it takes practice but it is worth the effort to
learn. Also I am finding that using a product called “Holy Cow” is
working out great as a final polishing medium.

You might try spending the time to actually find out why you are
leaving behind “flats” on your cabs using a flatlap, rather than
just deciding it is too difficult to do. Patience and perseverence
works wonders. Or as my grand father used to say when he was asked
what his wood working secret was," Make haste slowly."

Ms. Terry Pettit

Continue from:

Quantum Quattro Silica is a trademark name used to market a complex
copper ore originating in Namibia, but also found elsewhere in the
world. Refering to it as a variety of quartz is defintely a stretch.
Calling it gem silica is more of a stretch. Most people refer to
chrysocolla in chalcedony as being gem silica. On the other hand,
why wouldn’t one refer to chrysoprase as gem silica ? There have been
many attempts to subvert common semi precious gem names for purposes
of marketing. I remember when “parrot wing” was a very popular
copper ore used for lapidaruy purposes. Then there is Eilat Stone
from Israel. It is sold to tourists with representations about being
rare and valuable. I quite agree that all of these copper ores are a
lot more valuable as baubles than they are as copper ore. And, I
completely agree that they can be quite beautiful…rare?
seldom…valuable? not very.

Ron Mills, Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.

No, I don’t mean cryptocrystaline quartz. It is also known as Quantum
Quattro Silica.

Well, sort of…Quantum Quatro quartz is gem silica
allright, but gem silica is not necessarily Quantum Quartz. That
name is reserved for a material which is found only in Namibia and
which is composed of dioptase, shattuckite,smoky quartz and
malachite. Gem silica is quartz with chrysocolla inclusions.

Jerry in Kodiak