Quartz is the second most abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon-oxygen tetraheda, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2. There are many different varieties of quartz, several of which are semi-precious gemstones. Especially in Europe and the Middle East, varieties of quartz have been since antiquity the most commonly used minerals in the making of jewelry and hardstone carvings. The word "quartz" is derived from the German word "quarz", which was imported from Middle High German, "twarc", which originated in Slavic (cf. Czech tvrdy ("hard"), Polish twardy ("hard"), Russian твёрдый ("hard")), from Old Church Slavonic тврьдъ ("firm"), from Proto-Slavic *tvьrdъ.
Quartz crystals have piezoelectric properties; they develop an electric potential upon the application of mechanical stress. An early use of this property of quartz crystals was in phonograph pickups. One of the most common piezoelectric uses of quartz today is as a crystal oscillator. The quartz clock is a familiar device using the mineral. The resonant frequency of a quartz crystal oscillator is changed by mechanically loading it, and this principle is used for very accurate measurements of very small mass changes in the quartz crystal microbalance and in thin-film thickness monitors.
( from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quartz)