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Opalescent quartz specimens boast a metallic finish, caused when the stone is plated with a special metal mix. To start, quartz is selected then treated via an electrostatic process whereby the stones are put into a vacuum and charged. Heat is applied. The special metal mix is then put into the vacuum and it “clings” to the stone, giving it an entirely unique quality of iridescence. Interestingly, this process was first created as a way to protect the exterior of a space shuttle during exit and re-entry of the atmosphere. The theory was that the plated metal would add the protective properties of metal without the weight. Unfortunately for the aesthetic of space travel, this hypothesis was quickly disproven. Today, this plating process continues to evolve in conjunction to quartz and other gemstones as an enhancement method.