“When I meet people, especially people traveling in Alaska, I will show them a piece of quartz gold and ask them if they have ever seen it before. Many people have not because it’s really only found in Alaska.” – David J. Conner
David J. Conner grew up in the jewelry business and is an expert on gold. David’s grandfather founded the family’s fourth-generation watch and jewelry company in the 1930’s. By the time David’s father took over Orocal in 1965, the family employed 28 watchmakers and was expanding into other specialties, including jewelry made from gold quartz, a rare stone found in Alaska that the family understands better than anyone else.
What is Gold Quartz?
Gold-bearing quartz, or “gold lod,” is quartz stone with naturally embedded gold veins. Gold-bearing quartz comes in many colors, such as yellow, rose, purple, grey, and black, but the most rare and valuable color is white because the contrast with the gold is the most pronounced. White gold-bearing quartz is considered gem-quality or jewelry-grade. Many first-time visitors to Alaska have never seen gold quartz before, not only due to its rarity, but because not many jewelers know how to work with the stone.
How is Gold-Bearing Quartz Formed?
Hundreds of millions of years ago intense heat melted the gold and the quartz into liquid lava streams up to 3,000 feet below the earth’s surface. As the lava streams cooled, seismic activity crushed and welded the gold into the quartz.
Erosion eventually exposed the beautiful veins of gold in the quartz. Pieces that had high-concentrations of gold sometimes separated from the quartz altogether. This gold washed into rivers and streams and tumbled and bounced in the rushing water against rocks and sediment, eventually forming gold nuggets (that’s why you can see tiny quartz remnants in some nuggets.)
“When erosion takes place it makes gold into flakes, so anywhere you find gold you can find gold quartz. Alaska, British Columbia, California, and Australia are the only places known where gem-quality can be found.” – David J. Conner
Gold-Bearing Quartz Makes Beautiful Jewelry
The quartz rock is cut into slabs to expose the veins. These slabs are then hand-cut and polished into smooth, beautiful, and unique gemstones. Since the gold is naturally deposited into the quartz randomly, each piece is one-of-a-kind.
Such jewelry is rare, because mining locations are kept secret. In fact, it took generations for David and his family to become so trusted by the miners that they could continue to source and deliver the highest quality gold-bearing quartz on the market.
Orocal Natural Gold Company specializes in gold found in its genuine form. Since 1965 Orocal has been a leading source of authentic, high-quality gold nugget and gold-bearing quartz jewelry. Because gold quartz is difficult to acquire, many jewelers carry low quality or craft imitations. Orocal’s pieces, however, come with a certificate of authenticity.
These pieces can be spectacular additions to your collection, symbols of the last frontier and the great Klondike gold rush of 1898.
To learn more about authentic and natural gold quartz by Orocal, or to see one of these beauties in person, visit one of the premier galleries in Alaska below like Lynch & Kennedy or Julie’s Fine Jewelry & Gifts. After all, not many retailers sell gold quartz in Alaska and this may be the last time you encounter this beautiful stone.