Smoky Quartz

Meaning and Properties


Alluring smoky quartz (also known as smoky topaz*), named for its smoky color, is formed when rock crystal is naturally irradiated. (Its frequent inclusions of rutile needles, by the way, do not affect its quality.) Smoky quartz ranges in color from light grayish-brown to deep black. It is most typically transparent to translucent but can be opaque. Flat planes of smoky quartz were used by the Chinese in the 12th century for sunglasses. A variety of smoky quartz called cairngorm, found in the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland, is used in Scottish jewelry and as a decoration on kilt pins. Smoky Quartz is used in a variety of jewelry, especially ring and pendant centerpieces. Lesser quality stones, usually with a lighter color, are used as beads or cabochons.

*According to Walter Schumann's Gemstone of the World (3rd edition, p. 132), the name smoky topaz is improper and no longer acceptable in the trade.

Metaphysical Properties

Smoky quartz is prized for its perceived ability to ward off stress while promoting tolerance and resolve in difficult situations. It is thought to be a protective stone, with a strong association with the earth and base chakras, making it ideal for environmental consciousness. Smoky quartz is also believed to counter fear, overcome depression and bring about emotional stability while facilitating positive, practical thinking with clear insights.

Geological Properties

Mineral Information Macrocrystalline quartz
Chemical Composition SiO2
Color Dark brown/black with smoky grey hue
Hardness 7 (Mohs)
Specific Gravity 2.65
Refractive Index 1.544 - 1.553

Proper Care of Smoky Quartz

Smoky quartz is fairly hard so it can be cleaned with an ultrasonic cleaner. Avoid heat with most forms of colorful quartzes to prevent hue shift. Store smoky quartz out of direct sunlight to preserve its color.

To learn more about smoky quartz and other gemstones, order your copy of Walter Schumann's revised and expanded edition of Gemstones of the World.

Designing with Smoky Quartz

These beads are so versatile, you can use them in a variety of ways. Tumble myriad shapes and sizes of smoky quartz beads together in twisted multiple strands. Mix them with gold or silver beads (or both). Add a dash of red. Be inventive in your combinations. Dark colors are still its basic colors. You can't pick a more practical and beautiful gemstone for your new jewelry creations than the lovely, evocative dark crystal-smoky quartz.

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