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.
Smoky Quartz 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.
Smoky Quartz Geological Properties
The irradiated crystal with resulting smoky color usually occurs at high altitudes which is why its most notable sources are Brazil, Colorado and the Swiss Alps.Quartz is the best-known piezoelectric gem--it can carry an electrical charge when exposed to an applied voltage, in response to pressure or in response to mechanical stressors. Quartz is also a pyroelectric gem--able to generate an electric charge through rapid states of temperature change. These are the scientific qualities behind reliable and accurate quartz movements in watches (regardless of weather). The same properties mean it is ideal for use in microphones, speakers, filters--even sonar!
Dark brown/black with smoky grey hue
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.
**Please note that all metaphysical or healing properties listed are collected from various sources. This information is offered as a service and not meant to treat medical conditions. Fire Mountain Gems and Beads® does not guarantee the validity of any of these statements.
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