ARE THERE ACTUALLY TITANIUM GAS INCLUSIONS IN WHAT IS BEING OFFERED AS TITANIUM GAS PHANTOM QUARTZ CRYSTALS?
It was brought to my attention that crystals which have been named Titanium Gas Phantom Crystals do not actually contain Titanium Gas inclusions. I have been offering these crystals myself and it was important to me to be able to describe them as accurately and as truthfully as possible. I set out to discover the truth about these crystals and to share the results here with you.
The sharing of this information came in parts, so I am presenting it in that way. I’m laying it out in a compacted form of how it unfolded so you can have the experience of the process.
One of my suppliers of these “Titanium Gas Phantom Quartz Crystals” had originally sent me a Geological Analysis which does show Titanium inclusions in the Crystals. I am happy to copy and fax this to anyone who is interested. I will try to verify the accuracy of this analysis, but as you will begin to see, this research is no small undertaking. I am including this information because, as you will discover, while it seems unlikely that the gas inclusions are from Titanium Gas, it is certainly possible and it seems probable to me, that there is Titanium present in the crystals from the “rutile” sprays.
I began with my supplier and he told me that he never did believe that the inclusions were Titanium Gas. He believes that the white sprays are closely related to rutile, a Titanium Dioxide mineral, which can come in many forms and colors. He said" "I don't think that it was titanium gas that created the inclusions, and I don't see phantoms in this material. I did’t name it. That's all I can tell you about what I know and think about it. Hope that helps!”
WHAT IS THE TRUE CAUSE OF THE UNIQUE INCLUSIONS?
I contacted the person who brought this to my attention, assuring them that I would look into the cause of the inclusions and amend my listings accordingly. I did ask if this person had a geological background and where they got their information, but I did not receive a response.
In researching the cause of this crystal’s inclusions, I found an ebay guide posted on ebay which speaks about the Titanium Gas Phantoms as being “bogus”. I’m not sure what that means. The guide states that: “Anyone who understands physics knows that Titanium Cannot Be Turned Into A Gas”. Well I don’t have a strong knowledge of physics, so I was curious to discover more. I tried to contact the writer of the guide to find out where the information came from and to learn more. I did not receive a response.
This guide accuses a miner of giving a fancy name to the crystal to raise prices. It seems that people in this industry – as well as many other commercial industries – give more memorable and “marketable” names often. The scientific names are not always “pretty” or easy to remember. Not every one knows that Ruby and Sapphires are both Corundum (“scientific” name) of a different color. Not all Labradorite comes from Labrador. Is this an attempt to deceive? The names of stones do not always fully hold their true nature – chemical or otherwise. If we’re going to fault someone for being creative with the name, it’s going to be a long list. In fact, the writer of this same guide does the VERY SAME THING and in the SAME GUIDE with a crystal they sell. Don’t get me wrong … I think it’s wonderful. I choose to believe that the writer of the guide is coming to this with the best of intentions in a passionate attempt to protect the consumer. I trust that if he sees this, he’ll share a chuckle with me.
The guide also stated that a well known and trusted Geologist tested the crystals and found no traces of Titanium, and that this information can easily be found on the internet. I would be interested in knowing which Geologist tested the crystal and at seeing the test results. I have not found anything confirming this on any internet search.
The Guide compared these Titanium Gas Phantom crystals to white Quartz, and that the “white” color is caused by tiny gas bubbles. I understand that the milkiness in Quartz comes from gas and/or fluid inclusions trapped during the crystal formation. I think that is pretty special in and of itself, even though it is a very common type of inclusion and is found in Quartz Crystals all over the world. But these specific “Ti Gas” crystals – I’ll continue to call them that so we are clear on what we are speaking of – can only be found in one place in Arkansas – so far. They are also quite different in physical appearance than typical Milky Quartz crystals. You do not need to be a geologist to see the very obvious difference in these crystals. The milkiness in the Titanium Gas Phantom crystals is more of a bluish opalescent haze rather than an opaque/semi-translucent whiteness like the “typical” milky Quartz. Pictures can’t always capture the uniqueness of these crystals, but in person, they are unmistakable.
I have no “scientific” training. I can only say what I know. I find them to be quite different in appearance than any other Quartz crystal I’ve seen and they are just as unique in their energetic presence. I have no formal geological training and no evidence either way, but I would think that if they have the same mineral content as any other Quartz crystal, which this guide states in no uncertain terms, then they would look the same as any other Quartz crystal. I’ve spent much time looking at them under magnification. I have found visible solid and gaseous inclusions, and their appearance is different than other natural Quartz crystals I’ve seen. Though I hesitate to be so general, because each and every crystal, Quartz or otherwise is unique. But whether or not they have the same “physical-geological” make up as any other Quartz crystals, there is something very special about these crystals that is indefinable by scientific measure.
MUSEUM MINERALOGY EXPERT
I got in touch with a Mineralogy expert at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and had several discussions with him about what the inclusions are. I sent him some samples so he could see them first hand.
Here are some of his comments on the inclusions:
“Feathery and wispy certainly could be rutile needles or another titanium bearing mineral …. Very fine needles of rutile (TiO2) are a fairly common inclusion which would account for the Ti in the analysis … Rutile is an oxide of Titanium with a melting point of 1830 C much closer to the range of the quartz. The rutile would crystallize first and then would be taken up by the crystallizing quartz … Melting point of Quartz 1610 C Boiling Point of Titanium is 3287 C … I still think rutile is a better bet … I would think that rutile needles are the most likely source of the Titanium in your analysis (or another titanium mineral like anatase or brookite (all Ti oxides) and likely are the cause of the wispy inclusions … If it is rutile then it will be in the solid form as fine fibres.
I can't comment on the gas bubbles other than to say fluid & gas inclusions certainly could induce a milkiness to crystals … If there are "gas bubbles" then they can have solid gas and/or liquid phases in the same bubble but are likely so small you won't be able to see them … … The swirls whether gaseous or fibres would just be the result of the conditions present in the system during crystallization … The gas or liquid inclusions contain what was in the system that the Quartz was crystallizing from ... It takes a specialist in fluid inclusion studies to be able to analyze these remnants. I really can't hazard a guess as to what they may contain … Ti in a gaseous form is highly unlikely.
Remember too that these are ideal values. There are a lot of factors in nature that can change these values.”
It is interesting that even after seeing samples of the crystals, this museum expert was not able to tell me what it was or was not that was causing the inclusions. There is much to consider and the answers are often not clear. Different people come to different conclusions based on their own experiences. Some don’t know and say they don’t know ….
ANOTHER INTERNET EXPERT
I sent a question to Barbara Smigel, PhD, GG. She offers an internet course on Gemology from a Scientific viewpoint and I thought she might be able to shed some light on this issue. Here’s an excerpt from her reply:
“Inclusions can be pre-existing and engulfed by a developing crystal, or they can form within as it crystalizes -- in some cases they can even form afterward due to pressure or heat applied to the finished crystal. I am not expert enough in gemstone inclusions to help you in more than the most general way.”
She offers some wonderful information on her site and is easily found on the internet (I’m not allowed to include links – or I would do so).
VORTEX SHAPED INCLUSIONS
During my work with these crystals, long before this controversy about the nature of their inclusions was brought to my attention, I discovered something fascinating. One of the Titanium Gas Phantom Quartz Crystals held a vortex like inclusion. Interestingly, I was watching a Naked Science episode called “Exploring what a Comet is and the Secrets they Hold”. I noticed something connected to the Ti Gas Crystals in this episode. The scientists were re-creating a miniature lab sized comet and the mini comet had what they called gas eruptions - which look exactly like the vortex shaped inclusions in the Ti Gas Phantoms. During my research I began to study more and more of the crystals and I discovered other crystals with the vortex inclusions.
LISTENING TO WHAT THE CRYSTALS SAY
Part of what I do in my work with the stone beings is listen to them. These crystals shared a beautiful song and something interesting came through in that song. I will be publishing the whole Titanium Gas Phantom Crystal song somewhere, at some point. You are free to get in touch and ask me about it. Now though this comes from an “unscientific” place, it does hold a physical, scientific message. What came through was that learning about dry ice would help to shed some light on the nature of these crystals. So I looked up Dry Ice on the internet and I found something interesting.
I discovered that water freezes at 32 degrees F (0 degrees C) and boils at 212 degrees F (100 degrees C). However, as you change the pressure, these numbers also change. The lower the pressure, the lower the boiling point becomes. If you lower the pressure enough, water will boil at room temperature.
If such changes in the water's behaviour can be caused by changes in pressure, I wonder after all if it is indeed possible that the gas inclusions were caused by Titanium. Perhaps because I was not trained "scientifically" I am more open to any possibility. Or perhaps their name comes from the combination of the Titanium inclusions in the Rutile sprays (if that’s what they are) AND the Gas inclusions – rather than their being one and the same. After all the research I’ve done, I see that it is not so simple a matter to conclude.
No matter what the cause of the inclusions or the name given to the Stone, it doesn't change its attraction. Whether it has some fancy name or a common one; whether it grows all over the world, or can be found in only one location, whether it is physically considered “more beautiful” or not … it does not change what it is. No amount of description or “scientific fact” can take away from its uniqueness of being.
Today, as I stood outside on a rainy winter day, the mist focusing my view on what was before me, I thought of these crystals. They arrived much like this unexpected rain in the middle of winter … the mist within their icy clarity serving the same purpose as the mist before me. I had come full circle. How fitting that this part of their song is completed today.
I will continue to share whatever else emerges about these fascinating crystals. In the meantime, what shall I call them? My sense is that their name has already been given them and it should remain just that. The purpose of that name may not yet be apparent, but it is still their name.