Enhydros, Fluid Inclusions, The Phases, & More Enhydro Data
By Jan Styer-Gold
What is an Enhydro ~ Fluid Inclusion?
Illustration, Photos, & Viewing Tips Below:
An Enhydro/Enhydros is described as a natural water or fluid filled chamber that is found within a crystal or mineral. Scientists prefer to call the majority of them “fluid inclusions,” not enhydros. Even though it is not always correct, wherever crystals with fluid inclusions are found for sale, whether at shows or on websites, the word "enhydro" is most commonly used and best known by hobbyists and mineral collectors as the name for all types of fluid inclusions. Scientifically, the term "enhydro" is usually reserved for two particular Agate formations containing water. All types are described below. Crystals containing water are also referred to as Enhydrite Crystals. The water/fluid is usually millions of years old and is most likely very pure. The crystals or minerals grow around the liquid deposits and trap it within forever, unless it is broken open by natural conditions or manipulation by man. A large majority of fluid inclusion chambers break during their growth cycle in the ground or after they are freshly pulled out of the ground by miners or collectors. This breakage may be caused by many factors, including changes in position, pressure, or temperature. Many also break in transit after being mined and sent to dealers, due to extreme changes in temperatures from different locations that they pass through on the way. If the temperature in their transport box goes below freezing, the water or fluid in the chamber can freeze and expand, causing the chamber to break open. The chamber will then be dry and empty once the crystal has defrosted. The liquid that was once within the chamber gets reabsorbed into the crystal itself and evaporates. Poorly packaged crystals also fall prey to breakage. It is wise to not ship such crystals or minerals when the possibility of a freeze may be likely to occur. An empty enhydro/fluid inclusion chamber may be referred to as a “Dry Enhydro,” which sounds more like an oxymoron to me than anything else.
There is another unusual type of “dry enhydro.” Many fluid inclusion crystal
chambers contain mineral inclusions or other organic debris within them. A
large majority of the black inclusions found in quartz crystals, especially
those within fluid inclusions, are composed of Anthraxolite, which is also known
as Pyrobitumen. It is a fossiliferous
type of Hydrocarbon, and many people may refer to it simply as “carbon.” Anthraxolite is actually a form of fossilized sea life,
sometimes referred to as "Sea Cabbage." Other black inclusions that
may be found in the chambers are Black Tourmaline, Black Hematite, or
Manganese. Also occasionally found in fluid inclusion chambers are dark
brown to yellow petroleum oil liquid substances. These oily liquids have been
likened to "fossil fuel." Quartz crystals containing liquid
yellow petroleum oil may be referred to as "Golden Enhydro"
crystals. Some crystals, mainly Quartz, may contain multiple black inclusions
scattered about within the crystal itself. Sometimes they appear to be within
the fluid chambers, but they are not. Careful
observation under magnification can help you tell the difference between the
two. These crystals may be referred to as “Black Spot Quartz." If the
crystal is heavily included with black material it may have a clear and
transparent, yet dark coloration. It may be referred to as “Clear Black
Quartz.” Both of these types of quartz crystals are most commonly found in
The contents inside a fluid inclusion chamber can be either mobile or immobile. It depends on the physical proportions of the chamber itself and the sizes of the contents within it. If the chamber is too narrow, the gaseous and solid contents can get trapped inside the chamber with the fluid and not move when repositioned. You are usually able to still see the immobile air bubbles and/or the debris trapped inside the chamber. Occasionally a flick with ones finger can dislodge bubbles or debris that are not too badly trapped inside the chamber. They may just be too tightly packed together, so it is always worth a try to see if you can release them from each other. Most collectors prefer to have crystals with mobile contents, even if they only move a couple of millimeters. Some may move up to several centimeters, depending on the size of the crystal and the size of the fluid chamber. The air bubbles and/or debris in the fluid chambers can move in various directions and at different speeds. Again, it all depends on the size and shape of the chamber and the matter within it. Some quartz fluid inclusion chambers may contain only clear liquid, which fills the chamber completely. They have an “underwater mirror-like” appearance to them. After you have familiarized yourself with these types of fluid inclusions, you will easily be able to identify them. If the fluid inclusion chamber is large enough, you may be able to see the "water line" along the chamber’s edges change slightly in shape as you move the crystal around.
A large majority of fluid inclusion chambers contain air bubbles. The gas bubbles which are found in enhydro/fluid chambers are usually composed of water vapor, methane, or carbon dioxide. An air bubble will always float upward when you move the crystal in various directions, unless it is trapped inside the chamber. Most chambers will hold only one air bubble, but there are some rare ones that are capable of having multiple air bubbles. In my collection I have a large Brazilian Elestial, or Skeletal Smokey Quartz crystal that has a large long and narrow channel within the fluid inclusion chamber. Approximately fifty air bubbles move through it one by one along the entire width and length of the channel. They flow through it so quickly that it is difficult to count exactly how many bubbles there actually are. They are all perfectly clear and round, and measure in diameter from approximately 5-10 millimeters. Magnification is definitely not necessary to view that crystal. What a beautiful sight it is to see! Some other air bubbles that one may find in fluid chambers are coated or covered with solid particles of black debris. A small piece of black debris may also be seen attached to a clear air bubble. These black debris coated or covered air bubbles are frequently referred to as “Black Snowballs.” Occasionally an air bubble will be coated or covered with golden yellow Limonite, which gives it a gold colored appearance. A bubble may even be coated with liquid petroleum. The coated or covered air bubbles will almost always float when moved. Particles of black or other debris within fluid chambers will almost always sink when they are moved. Very rarely a minute piece of black debris will float, even if it is not attached to an air bubble. Fluid inclusion chambers that contain fluid and solid debris, without any air bubbles, may be referred to as “Swimmers.”
The majority of quartz crystals with fluid inclusions that I
have seen and own came from either
Fluid inclusions may even be found in crystals and
minerals other than quartz. Agate, also known as cryptocrystalline quartz, from
There is a second type of agate enhydro
formation. They are found in a less porous agate "nodule" which is most commonly found in
Water, or other fluid inclusions, are not only restricted to quartz
crystals and agate formations. Also, various types of fluids can be found
within many different types of minerals, although water is the most commonly
seen fluid inclusion. Saltwater and petroleum oil liquids are other types of
fluid inclusions occasionally found inside crystals and minerals. A fairly
recent find of yellow petroleum oil inclusions in quartz crystals has been made
on the border of
Recent studies of the yellow fluid inclusions in quartz crystals from
Several other minerals and crystals, besides the quartz varieties, have
been known to contain enhydros/fluid inclusions. Minerals, other than the
varieties of Quartz, in which I have personally seen fluid inclusions are:
Agate, Amber, Aquamarine, Beryl, Calcite, Cerussite, Copal, Danburite, Emerald, Fluorite,
Halite, Phenakite, Ruby, Sapphire, Selenite, Topaz, and Tourmaline. The water/fluid
within the natural Copal and Amber specimens is without a doubt millions of
years old. Fluid inclusions have also been found in Hematite and Hausmannite
from high-grade Wessels-type ore from the Kalahari Manganese Field in
There seems to be some confusion regarding what the “inclusion phases” are. Many people seem to be quite puzzled about what they are and how to tell the difference between the three phases. The three phases are basically rather simple to understand, since they are based on the three forms of matter: liquid, gas, and solid. Most collectors have never seen a “Phase 3 Fluid Inclusion,” or they did not examine the specimen closely enough to notice it. The most commonly seen phases are the “Phase 2” fluid inclusions. “Phase 3” fluid inclusions are the most difficult ones to find. It involves working under a good amount of magnification and lighting, and it can be a long and tedious “quest” finding them. I admit to being seriously addicted to enhydro and fluid inclusion crystals! I can spend hours "inside" them and never get bored! The three phases are described in full below. I hope this information has been helpful to you.
Enhydro ~ Fluid Inclusion Phases:
PHASE 1: a chamber that is filled with water/fluid only (LIQUID)
PHASE 2: a chamber that is filled with water/fluid and an air bubble (LIQUID & GAS)
PHASE 3: a chamber that is filled with water/fluid, an air bubble, and solid debris (LIQUID, GAS, & SOLID)
**Please note that some may refer to a chamber containing water/fluid and solid debris as a Phase 2 inclusion because it contains two forms of matter, liquid and solid. Others may call it a Phase 3 inclusion because it contains a solid. The illustration below shows examples of all four of these types of fluid inclusions. Air bubbles and empty chambers, which once held fluid, are not fluid inclusions/enhydros. Fluid inclusions must contain fluid/liquid!
If you have any questions regarding enhydro/fluid inclusion crystals, feel free to contact me.
Fluid Inclusion Crystal Illustration
Agate Enhydro Geode
Agate Enhydro Nodules
Herkimer Diamond Quartz With Brown and/or Yellow Petroleum Oil Inclusions
This Is My Favorite "Herkimer Diamond!"
It Is 3 Inches Long & Contains 18+ Fluid Inclusions!
All 3 Phases Are Represented Several Times...Water, Air Bubbles, & Anthraxolite!
Tips For Viewing Enhydro ~ Fluid Inclusion Quartz Crystals:
1. Hold the crystal in your hand for a few minutes to warm it up prior to examining it.
2. Inspect the crystal section by section, and mark each area with a small dot from a marker or pen after you have finished examining it. Pen ink and Sharpie marker marks can be easily removed with rubbing alcohol. This way you will not keep going over the same areas multiple times.
3. Hold the crystal in between two fingers and move it back and forth slowly at first. Some bubbles or debris move slower than others. Once you know what you've got, then you can move it back and forth more quickly or vigorously.
4. If you see something that you think might be mobile, give it a flick with your finger to see if you can give it a jumpstart. Then, continue moving it back and forth to see if it can move.
5. I suggest examining the crystal outside during the daytime under magnification. You can also adjust the amount of light passing through the crystal better in daylight by repositioning your body. Indoor lighting may cast too many shadows or reflections from other things, especially the TV. If you prefer examining it inside, do it next to a window with a lot of light coming through it, or under only one light source. Turn off the TV and/or computer monitor!
6. If you find one particular (or more) area more interesting than the others, place a circle around that area with a marker. You will be able to instantly find it the next time you view it.
7. More than likely you will examine the crystal many times and continue to find new things inside of it each time you look!
8. Phase One enhydros and fluid inclusions may be difficult to locate at first. After some time you will be able to identify them as such. Many of them are quite small. You may be able to make out their shapes. They actually look like they have water in them, or have a mirror-like appearance, as if you are looking through water. Sometimes the fluid's edges will move slightly when you reposition the crystal, making them easier to locate.
9. The more magnification you have, the better the view! Warning...these crystals are addictive :-)
A Really Brief History of Herkimer Diamonds
By W. David Hoisington, Ph.D.
Herkimer diamonds are found in Herkimer county,
Over the course of Earth’s history this
This is a really brief history and the details are more complex and varied across all the different deposits in what is called the “Herkimer Diamond Mining District.” For more detailed information please visit the "Herkimer History" website via the link provided below.
"Everything You Need Or Want To Know About Herkimer Diamonds"
**HerkimerHistory.com is an excellent website with tons of information, including ongoing research! You can help too!**
An enhydro is a mineral or crystal which naturally contains fluid/water; the fluid could be eons of years old and is most likely quite pure; they are said to help one to recognize and understand the true feelings of another; they support the empathetic state; they provide for the coupling of imagination and practicality; they induce sensibility and acceptance of responsibility; they contain life-sustaining energy, which can decrease stress and allow one to be more adaptable to changes; they assist in metamorphosis and continued change throughout all times; impetus and catalytic motion are enhanced; they are most useful in healing; they assist in bringing the body to the state or specified condition that one is attempting to attain; they enhance the healing properties of all minerals; consider greatly the water cycle, without which no life could exist anywhere on Mother Earth's surface; water is the World's most valuable resource; human beings must not be allowed to turn its lifeblood into poison by polluting it; water helps maintain the body's functions, and is taken in to slake ones thirst and to help maintain the body's fluid and electrolyte balances; the main component of our bodies is water.
**If the images and/or text on any of the web pages do not appear evenly spaced and centered on your screen, which commonly occurs with AOL pages, maximize the individual page's window. That should resolve the problem.
Copyright © 2005-2009 Jan Styer-Gold - All rights reserved.
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Photographs and data are the copyright of Jan Styer-Gold, unless stated otherwise.
| Home Page | Physical and Optical Properties of Minerals & Gemstones | Classification of Mineral Groups | Crystal Systems | Geological and Mineralogical Glossary | Enhydros, Fluid Inclusions, Phases, & More Enhydro Facts | Inclusions In Rocks, Minerals, Crystals, & Gemstones | Fluorescent Minerals | Pleochroic, Color Change, Color Shift, & Multicolored Gems & Minerals | Earth's Geologic Time Scale | Gemstone Clarity Grades GIA, Mohs Hardness Scale & Much More | Diamond Grading Chart GIA, Variable Sizes, Fancy & Famous | Gemstone Treatments, Enhancements, and Care | Complete List of Birthstones, Anniversary Gemstones, & More | Precious Metals & Alloys & Live Price Charts | Weights and Measures Conversions | International Ring Size Conversion Chart | The Periodic Table of Elements | Rare Earth Elements | Pseudomorphs | Minerals With Magnetic Properties | USA State Gemstones, Minerals, Rocks, Fossils, & Rarities | Free Crystal, Mineral, & Gemstone Backgrounds | Additional Information | Metaphysical and Healing Properties of Minerals and Crystals | Crystal Formations and The Master Crystals | The Chakras and Chakra Stones | Book Recommendations | Mindat's Detailed Scientific Mineralogical Properties Data Base Website | Search Page |
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