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Venus-Hair Stone

Joint project of St.-Petersburg Mining museum and Forpost Nord-West.
рутил
Фото © Fred Kruijen

By its outward appearance, this rock is well ahead of all the other gemstones. It did not become popular among jewellers, but on the other hand, it has become a primary source of one of the most demanded metals of the 21st century.

This stone is mostly known for its unusual forms. Rutile crystals look like the thinnest needles, and they are often referred to as "Cupid's arrows" or "Venus' hair". As an ancient legend says, Venus, a Roman goddess of love, once went for a swim in a mountain river and accidentally lost a strand of her golden hair. Soon she noticed the hair lock missing and went back to the river. There Venus saw her hair having frozen in the water, which she liked so much that she turned the ice into stone to keep the hair frozen in it forever.

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Фото © Robert Matthew Lavinsky

Nowadays, rutile protruding from a transparent quartz crystal has come to be known as a "Venus-hair stone". In medieval Europe, such specimens were particularly favoured by fortune-tellers who could supposedly tell the future with the help of the mineral. Thin rutile crystals were called bridges since they were connecting people's past, present and future. Interspersions of red- with green-coloured minerals were valued the most, for those colours were believed to increase the energetic power of the stone.

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Фото © yahoo.aleado.ru

Rutile has indeed more to offer than just peculiar forms. It is characterised by high durability; it is also insoluble in acids and serves as a leading source of titanium. Titanium is remarkable for its ability to handle temperature extremes and cosmic radiation. Though it is a lightweight metal, it is incredibly durable - even cosmic particles cannot damage it! Therefore titanium has become an irreplaceable material in rocket and space engineering.

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Фото © Fred Kruijen

Another area of application of rutile is cosmetology. Thanks to the mineral, most beauty products have bleaching and UV-protection agents in their composition. In the production of face powder, eye shadows, blushers and lipsticks, purified rutile comes in the form of a finely ground powder.

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Фото © Igor Schwartzmann

Quartz, particularly in the form of rock crystal, with strands of rutile inclusions is highly valued by jewellers. Samples resembling living creatures - such as a hedgehog or starfish - may occur in nature. Such stones are an object of interest for collectors; they usually have the highest prices as well.

рутил
Фото © yahoo.aleado.ru