It cost $10 so I was not expecting anything marvellous. What I did get was rather unique, and has become one of my favorite pet stones. At first glance you would say it's a beautiful clear quartz crystal of size 7.5cm long and 2 cm across, weight 50 grams, exhibiting hexagonal prism faces capped at each end by six pyramid faces of about equal size. Along one end was a lovely spray of wispy inclusions giving it a natural appearance.
What Oh, what have we got here, I wondered. I've never seen a synthetic quartz like this before. Normally they are flattish having been grown on basal plane seed plates. The first thing I did was to use a hand lens (10X to 40X) to examine the inclusions. They were tiny spherical gas bubbles all nicely swirling around…..and not to be found in a natural crystal, but frequently encountered in glass imitations. So I then tested it assuming it was glass, or an item you might find dangling from a chandelier.
An amateur collector may remain stymied at this point, lacking any testing equipment, and remain happy about it being a nice quartz crystal, suitable to use as a wand in crystal healing. It can still be used for this purpose, since crystal healing is I believe largely the power of positive thinking. However, it's nice to know what it really is. Using a gem refractometer, the R.I. was found to be 1.49 and isotropic, typical of glass, whereas quartz is doubly refractive with a mean R.I. of 1.55. The specific gravity was 2.4 compared to 2.65 for quartz.
If you examine a perfect natural quartz crystal, like a coffee table specimen, you will find the prism faces have weak horizontal striations, which on some may alternate with faces covered in etch marks. The termination of the crystal is with two sets of rhombohedra, giving a hexagonal pyramid-like capping, often with widely different sizes, with one face being dominant. It is possible for these natural features to be ground and polished off on a lap and so add to the confusion of identification.
I like my man-made glass wand and it takes its place among other pet stones and crystals, which include topazes, tourmalines and beryls.