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Smoky Quartz Gemstone Information

Smoky Quartz Gemstones
Natural Smoky Quartz Gemstones

Smoky Quartz Introduction

The quartz family of gemstones includes such illustrious names as Amethyst, Citrine, Agate, Jasper and Rose Quartz. You can see by the examples given that it is a very varied crystal coming in a wide range of colors and patterns.

In fact, quartz is arguably the most common mineral on Earth – the desert sands, the granite and igneous rocks of the mountains, volcanic lava, quartz is everywhere!

We are more interested in the quartz that can be made into gemstones and they come in two types:

  • Macro-crystalline - large easily identified crystals, usually clear with sharp edges and pointy tops.
  • Micro-crystalline - tiny densely packed crystals which are usually opaque and in rounded shapes.

Smoky Quartz is an example of macro-crystalline quartz which is usually completely transparent with deep earthy colors.

Smoky Quartz Colors

Smoky Quartz Colors
Smoky Quartz Colors

As the name suggests, Smoky Quartz is a dark colored stone which can range in tones from a light grayish brown all the way to an almost black color.

The color is caused by impurities during formation and depending on the mineral it can create yellow, amber or red tones which can be described as coffee, honey or caramel according to the imagination of the seller.

The most valuable color for this very reasonably priced gemstone is very much in the eye of the beholder with all brownish tints having similar values.

Smoky Quartz Species

Any basically brown quartz is usually just called Smoky Quartz but there are two named 'varieties' which have gained some fame although they are chemically and structurally identical to all other Smoky Quartzes.

  • Cairngorm Quartz – a yellow-brown color found in the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland, occasionally called Scotch Topaz to cash in on two famous local products.
  • Morion Quartz – a very dark, almost black quartz which is supposedly the result of natural radiation (totally safe but not always genuine)

Smoky Quartz Clarity and Cut

Gemstone Clarity

Generally, all Smoky Quartz that is good enough to be a gemstone will have excellent clarity. Some can have inclusions or cloudiness which some may find attractive but there is no reason to settle for anything less than complete transparency.

Smoky Quartz is a tough and durable gemstone which can be found in all the usual shapes and cuts – in fact it is quite common for those new to gemstone cutting to practice on Smoky Quartz because of its inexpensive price and forgiving nature.

As a transparent gemstone, Smoky Quartz does look best when faceted as this can bring out its natural sparkle although it can also be fashioned into cabochons – dome-shaped tops with flat bottoms – for an interesting vintage look or even carved into flower shapes or animals.

Spiritual Meaning of Smoky Quartz

Smoky Quartz possesses all the general healing benefits of all quartzes – stimulating the immune system, bringing mental clarity, aiding concentration, enhancing psychic abilities and balancing and revitalizing us physically.

In addition, this gemstone can also lift negativity and depression, driving away fears and anxieties, even alleviate suicidal thoughts. Smoky Quartz can help you cope with difficult times and the stresses of daily life and inspire you to overcome them and manifest your goals.

Smoky Quartz and the Chakras

Chakras are energy centers within the body sometimes known as Qi or Prana. There are seven Chakras situated around the body influencing physical, emotional or mental states and each has an associated color.

Chakra meditation

Smoky Quartz is mostly associated with the Base or Root Chakra. This Chakra is all about your basic necessities - home, shelter, security, a feeling of safety and comfort, even food and water.

If you are feeling insecure or worried about your family and environment then Smoky Quartz is the gemstone for you – it will help you feel grounded and connected.

Signs of a blocked Root Chakra can include eating disorders, greediness and impatience and a desire for material possessions. Physically it can mean bladder and digestive issues, cramp, lower back and prostate function problems.

See our detailed article on Chakra Gemstones here

Health Benefits of Smoky Quartz

Physically, Smoky Quartz is great for the back, hips, abdomen and upper legs as well as all the organs of elimination- the adrenals, pancreas and kidneys.

It can be used to revitalize and motivate, detoxify the body and neutralize negative vibrations. It is a natural protection against all forms of day to day radiation including electromagnetic fields, medical radiation and chemotherapy.

Smoky Quartz Price

How much does it cost?

Smoky Quartz Price List

Cut / Style Size range Price range / USD

Faceted

Free Size

$0.5 - $10/ct

Cabochon

Free Size

$0.5 - $8/ct

Most types of quartz are usually very reasonably priced and Smoky Quartz is no different with even large, well-cut pieces with excellent clarity being available for around a dollar or two per carat.

Apart from the two previously named examples, Cairngorm and Morion, most Smoky Quartzes are similarly priced no matter the shade or clarity – it is just a matter of preference. Some gemstones which may veer in color towards yellow or purple – either naturally or through heating – can be called Smoky Citrine or Smoky Amethyst and often command a higher price.

Smoky Quartz Discovery

History

The word Quartz has its origins in the German Quarz and the Polish term Kwardy, meaning hard while the mineral, Quartz, has been used either as a tool, for decoration or adornment and for spiritual purposes for thousands of years.

The term Smoky Quartz was first used in the gemstone world in 1837 by mineralogist, Professor James Dwight Dana, and was named for its color which looks like smoke.

See our detailed article on Gemstone Names here

Famous members of the family include amethyst, citrine and rose quartz all of which have been recorded as far back as Ancient Egyptian and Greek times.

Ancient Romans would carve them into seals for official documents while further back the Sumerians created cylinder seals for the same purpose. In China, thin planes of Smoky Quarts were used as primitive sunglasses.

Smoky Quartz had a close connection to the Celts and the Druids and was used during the pagan Samhain festival which marked the end of the summer harvest. Even today there is a large Smoky Quartz in the Scottish Crown Jewels and an even bigger one kept at Balmoral Castle that was purchased by Queen Victoria.

Where is Smoky Quartz found?

The Globe

Smoky Quartz can be found throughout the world but the best examples come from Brazil, Madagascar, Russia and, of course, Scotland where it is the national gemstone.

How is Smoky Quartz formed?

Rock Cycle

Quartz is usually found in pegmatite which is a type of igneous rock formed by slowly cooled magma. As this pegmatite cools, cracks and gaps appear and are filled with liquids and gases which over a long period of time crystallize into gemstones.

Other chemicals and minerals can be introduced during formation and these can affect the color of quartz – the presence of aluminum can produce smoky quartz while iron can create the purple in amethyst or the yellow in citrine.

The darker examples of Smoky Quartz are often associated with emissions from nearby radioactive mineral deposits although they are completely safe to handle.

Can Smoky Quartz be treated?

Typically, Smoky Quartz is not treated in any way to enhance its looks other than the usual cutting and polishing of the rough gemstone.

Some Smoky Quartz can be irradiated to replicate the naturally occurring radiation that can create darker gemstones but this is not very common as it is an expensive process for such an inexpensive product. Alternatively, some darker stones can be heat treated to lighten the color – I wish they would make their minds up!

If any gemstones sold by GemSelect receive any such treatment we will always disclose this information.

What jewelry is Smoky Quartz suitable for?

All quartz is rated at about 7 on the Mohs hardness scale so Smoky Quartz is durable enough to be used in any type of jewelry.

See our detailed article on the Mohs hardness scale here

In addition, it is easily available in large carat sizes at great prices so it is ideal for experimental pieces for jewelry making beginners who are looking to create their own jewelry.

It was quite commonly used as mourning jewelry during the Victorian era and its earthy subdued colors are still fashionable today for ethnic or tribal looks. The masculine colors of Smoky Quartz make it ideal for men's jewelry.

How to care for Smoky Quartz

Just clean any Quartz with warm soapy water and gently wipe dry and that should be enough to keep it looking at its best.

For storage, remember that all Quartz is quite a tough gemstone (rated at over 7 on the Mohs hardness scale) so do not keep it with softer gemstones as it may scratch them.

Similarly a few gemstones such as ruby, sapphire, beryl and so on are a bit harder and may damage your Quartz.

We always suggest putting your gemstones in separate boxes or soft cloth bags when not wearing or displaying them.

How to tell a real Smoky Quartz

Is this gem real?

For industrial uses, quartz has been made in the laboratory for years with such precision that it is impossible to tell the difference between synthetic quartz and real quartz.

Despite this evidence of the work of scientists it is unlikely that you will come across any artificial or fake Smoky Quartz. It would be a lot of work for minimal financial return.

We have a couple of simple tips when buying this gemstone.

Before buying a Smoky Quartz gemstone, familiarize yourself with its appearance, either in pictures or in a gem store. Research the shades of the gemstone and its shapes and cuts.

Quartz is rated at 7 on Mohs hardness scale so it will be tougher than glass so test a sample by scratching a bottle and checking to see if it has left a mark. Alternately, an iron nail or a key should not be strong enough to scratch the surface of any prospective Smoky Quartz.

See our detailed article on the Mohs hardness scale here

Smoky Quartz is not a very expensive gemstone so as long as you buy from a reputable source you should be assured of getting what you paid for. The best way to buy any gemstone is through a trusted shop or well-established online business.

There are cases of Smoky Quartz being passed off as a different, more expensive, gemstone such as Brown Topaz, Black Tourmaline or even a Brown Diamond. Without going into great detail, topaz and diamonds are considerably tougher than quartz and tourmaline has a much brighter luster.

This has not been a complete guide on how to ensure your Smoky Quartz gemstone is genuine but I hope it helps a little.

At GemSelect, we currently offer brief identification reports from your choice of two well-respected independent gemological laboratories, The Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences (AIGS) and Burapha Gemological Laboratory (BGL Lab).

What is so special about Smoky Quartz?

It is the earthy, woody brown colors of Smoky Quartz that are so special, evoking luxurious thoughts of honey, whiskey and rich dark chocolate. If you are lucky you can find one with all these colors in the one gemstone with perhaps a golden sunset thrown in for good measure.

Despite the good looks, and its renowned spiritual strength, it is a very inexpensive item and can be found in a whole array of sizes so matching jewelry from bracelets to earrings, pendants to chunky cocktail rings and everything in between will be no problem to find.

This gemstone also gives anyone who is interested the opportunity to make their own jewelry – the relatively low prices, big sizes, durability and range of shapes available mean it is a very versatile crystal for any prospective artisan.

Smoky Quartz - Gemological Properties

Chemical Formula:

SiO2 - Silicon dioxide

Crystal Structure:

Hexagonal

Color:

Light yellowish brown to deep blackish brown

Hardness:

7 on the Mohs scale

Refractive Index:

1.530 to 1.540

Density:

2.58 to 2.64

Cleavage:

None

Transparency:

Transparent to translucent

Double Refraction or Birefringence:

Up to 0.009

Luster:

Vitreous

Fluorescence:

Usually None

  • First Published: March-25-2021
  • Last Updated: March-25-2021
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    Reproduction (text or graphics) without the express written consent of GemSelect.com (SETT Company Ltd.) is strictly prohibited.
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