Block of the Week: Quartz

A quintessential cube for keeping your home secure!

Oh, come on. You're not fooling anyone. We know you didn't build your palace out of Nether Quartz because you think it looks good – you're just humblebragging that you've been to the Nether, mined the place rotten for Nether Quartz ore, and then got back alive. Alive and smug. Now we have to live next to your magnificent palace made of quartz in our hut made of dirt. Grumble grumble...

Ah, but not all of you are pathetic show-offs. Some of you use Nether Quartz to craft complex gizmos like redstone comparators and daylight sensors. We're big fans of the daylight sensor, seeing as it can sense when night falls and automatically close your doors, stopping mobs from getting in. Very handy if you're crafting in your basement and lose track of time!

In fact, real quartz is one of the Earth's most useful minerals. Some people even believe quartz has magical healing powers! But those idiots are wrong, so let's move on. A real property of quartz is that its crystals can vibrate at specific frequencies. So what? So everything! These frequencies are so specific that clever science-types can use quartz in something called a 'crystal oscillator', which keeps the vibrations of the crystal consistent, making them reliably keep time in quartz clocks and watches.

A beautiful photo of some smoky quartz! Wouldn't it be nice if all our 'Block of the Week' articles contained photos this pretty? Well next week it's 'slime' so don't count on it. Photo by JJ Harrison.

Here's the recipe for crafting your very own daylight sensor! All you're going to need is three glass blocks (easy!), three wood planks (even easier!) and three Nether Quartz (you're doomed!)

An example of a Crystal Oscillator circuit! Probably! Look, we're not smart enough to figure out how this sciency stuff works. Most days, we can barely figure out how to tie our own shoelaces.

Quartz crystals are used in all sorts of electronics you use every day. Used a watch to tell the time today? Thank quartz! Watched television? Thank quartz again! Played Minecraft on your phone? Thank Quartz! Successfully bought a bag of quartz? Thank quartz! Been attacked by a madman with a block of quartz? Oh no, that's awful. We guess you probably don't like quartz much then but please keep in mind that's like the first bad thing to ever be associated with quartz in the history of time. Time we can tell with pin-point accuracy thanks to quartz!

We love quartz blocks so much, we used all of ours to build daylight sensors, which is the only reason we didn't have any left over to make our hut look good and had to build it out of dirt blocks. Laugh it up in your Nether Quartz palace for now, neighbour. You won't be laughing when night falls and you see we left your front doors open...