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Help?--Quartz/Aquamarine ruined by yellow growth

*Sorry if my terminology is all wrong, but I'm not an experienced rockhound*


I have a big chunk of quartz, about the size of a baby's head, somewhere between grey and vaguely rosy in color. It is shot through on top with a rod of aquamarine the size of a large, fat pencil. The aquamarine is on top of the quartz (imagine lightly pressing a pencil onto the top of a lump of clay or bread dough--it looks like that...but prettier, of course).

In the past year, I've noticed that a dull yellow opaque substance is beginning to "grow" on the quartz--only on the area where the aquamarine is touching it. It's a hard substance, and a little rough on the surface. The yellow stuff is also beginning to grow on the aquamarine, which incidentally, has always had a little bit of orange/yellow color in areas, just below its surface. The quartz has always been nice and clear, but it appears that the yellow is not only growing on it, but also penetrating it.

I bought the piece of quartz in Brazil about 9 or 10 years ago, and I keep it in my apartment on my desk. There's nothing remarkable about the climate here--San Francisco--or in my apartment, in case that might be relevant (neither humid nor too hot/cold). To be best of my knowledge, it hasn't been exposed to any chemicals or substances, or had anything spilled on it.

I don't have any sophisticated tools for polishing or sanding, etc. I tried sand paper, which didn't work. I've tried washing and scrubbing it, to no avail. I tried chipping at it briefly just to see what happens, but since the yellow has penetrated, chipping would need to be deep and extensive, and it would surely be foolish for me to continue. I don't dare chip at the aquamarine for fear of ruining it.

Can anyone tell me what this yellow substance might be and how I might remove it without damaging the quartz and aquamarine? I would greatly appreciate any advice. Thank you in advance!

From Rachel - May 04, 2010 at 10:49:07

Message: 69008

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