Do you love earthy, nature-inspired jewelry? Well, let us tell you all about the smoky quartz stone! Smoky quartz is a translucent quartz mineral with brown to black coloring due to natural irradiation. The stone’s alluring color and translucence make it look like smoke is floating around inside.
The allure of dark brown or black gemstones is only increased by their rarity. Only a few naturally black gemstones exist on the market, and brown gems are even harder to find. When you throw in the price factor, smoky quartz has high-end beauty for any budget.
Spiritually, smoky quartz’s powers have made it synonymous with “heaven on earth” and the idea of celestial magic.
Itching to learn more? In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the smoky quartz stone.
Smoky quartz is associated with all things Mother-Earth. The stone’s grounding qualities make it the perfect zodiac stone for the earth sign Capricorn. Capricorns tend to be cynical and self-critical. Smoky quartz can help Capricorns focus on the positive, both in themselves and the world.
If you were born in November, you can use smoky quartz as an alternate birthstone! A smoky quartz stone is perfect for keeping the cozy autumn vibes going, even when winter comes around.
Winter is always better spent with a loved one. For those who’ve gotten through 70 winters together, why not celebrate with the smoky quartz anniversary stone? If the traditional platinum or sapphire jubilee is a little flashy for you, smoky quartz is a gorgeous, more subtle alternative.
Smoky quartz is a macrocrystalline quartz mineral that can show various shades of brown, gray, or black. The stone shares similarities with other colored quartz stones like rose quartz, citrine, and amethyst.
Different varieties of smoky quartz are based on what colors the stone shows and where it comes from.
Here are the varieties to know:
Morion: An opaque dark brown to black variety, sometimes used as a synonym for all smoky quartz in Germany, Denmark, Spain, and Poland.
“Coontail” Quartz: A black and gray banded variety named for its resemblance to a raccoon’s tail.
Cairngorm Quartz or Cairngorm: Yellowish-brown or grayish-brown variety found in Scotland’s Cairngorm Mountains.
Gwindel: From the German word for “twisted,” a smoky quartz variety with parallel-looking crystals twisted toward each other.
The Gwindel variety is just one example of smoky quartz’s unique visual characteristics. Two of the most fascinating smoky quartz properties are the stone’s twinning and dichroism.
Dichroism is an optical phenomenon where a gem shows two different colors when viewed at different angles. In smoky quartz’s case, the two colors displayed are yellowish-brown and reddish-brown.
Chemical compound: Silicon dioxide
Mohs scale: 7
Color: Brown, brownish-gray, tan, gray, or black
Crystal structure: Hexagonal
Luster: Vitreous (glass-like)
Transparency: Usually translucent; Can be transparent to opaque
Refractive index: 1.54-1.55
Cleavage: None to indistinct
Pleochroism: Weak; Brown or red-brown on dark stones; Varying shades of yellow-brown on light stones
Dichroism: Can be present; Yellowish-brown to reddish-brown spectrum
With the scientific traits covered, let’s switch to the mystical side to discover smoky quartz spiritual meaning.
Like its sister stone rose quartz, smoky quartz is named for its color, as well as the way its transparency mimics smoke. The European nickname for black smoky quartz, Morion, probably comes from a shortened version of mormorion, the stone’s Latin name used by Pliny the Elder.
What does smoky quartz signify? Many cultures and spiritual practices have their own meanings and associations with smoky quartz.
In Feng Shui, smoky quartz signifies protection from negativity. The stone is often placed in the Feng Shui area of Qian to prevent bad vibes from entering the space. In Chinese culture, Qian symbolizes heaven and the people here on Earth that support us in our endeavors.
The ancient Druids, an esteemed group of Celtic priests, revered smoky quartz as a sacred stone. Druids practiced various magical rituals as part of their “searching into things most secret and sublime.”
To the Druids, smoky quartz represented the dark, celestial power of the gods and goddesses of the Earth element such as the Occult goddess Hecate.
Another Earth goddess connected to smoky quartz is Gaia, one of the first deities and mother to all life on Earth.
Smoky quartz’s ability to connect us to different realms was also used by various shamans and tribes. They used the mystical stone in rituals for divination and afterlife transitions. Even the ancient Druids practiced divination with smoky quartz crystal balls.
Alright, we know the ancient smoky quartz uses. But for us modern-day folks, what are the benefits of smoky quartz?
Smoky quartz has been a beloved healing crystal for centuries. The stone’s sacred connection to heaven and earth extends to aiding our earthly forms in a myriad of ways.
The key smoky quartz uses are grounding, protection, and cleansing the mind and body.
The physical healing benefits of smoky quartz include detoxifying the body and protecting against illness. The stone is also purported to ease headaches and cramps. After getting all the bad stuff out, smoky quartz can help the body absorb nutrients and regulate itself better.
Smoky quartz benefits your emotional healing by absorbing negativity and replacing it with positive vibes. The crystal can help ground you, letting you feel the earth’s vibrations combining with your own.
Have you been letting negative emotions like anger or fear hold you back from happiness? With smoky quartz, it’s time to say no more!
Smoky quartz can rid the mind of resentment, stress, and worry. Then, the stone’s grounding and balancing properties can help you focus on positive solutions with a level head.
For smoky quartz chakra healing, the stone activates the root chakra.
So, if you want to open the root chakra, where do you put smoky quartz on your body?
The root chakra is located at the pelvic bone, so it’s best to place or hold a smoky quartz stone over the pelvis while laying down.
From there, you can release negative energies into the ground below you and start setting an intention. Smoky quartz will open the chakra, allowing for all your goals to manifest.
Is your first goal is to find a beautiful smoky quartz stone? We have you covered! First, we’ll break down the buying factors so you can shop with confidence.
The value of smoky quartz comes down to a few essential points: the stone’s cut, color, and clarity.
With smoky quartz’s high durability, cuts are versatile and abundant. Tumbled smoky quartz stones are great for gemstone collections, spiritual meditation, and even pendants. Cabochons, beads, and carvings are also popular.
Faceted smoky quartz jewelry includes earrings, necklaces, and even engagement rings, just to name a few. The stone’s beauty shines especially bright when paired with warm-toned metals like yellow gold or copper.
Smoky quartz stones can show varying shades of brown and black, from beige to jet black. The color is generally consistent throughout the stone, with more saturated color at the extremities.
How light or dark the stone is depends on the minerals present during formation and the size of the smoky quartz stone.
Large specimens of smoky quartz, for instance, are typically much darker and often opaque. Other quartz crystals like amethyst or citrine can merge with smoky quartz, creating purple and yellow-colored zones.
Colored gemstone clarity is graded by the stone’s inclusions and how they affect its appearance. The gem can fall under one of three categories: Type I, Type II, or Type III.
Smoky quartz is a Type I stone. Type I stones are free of inclusions and eye-clean. Eye-clean, or loupe clean, means you can’t see inclusions without a magnification tool.
Speaking of tools, did you know smoky quartz was the material for a judicial tool in ancient China? We’ll tell you all about it next!
Smoky quartz hasn’t played a huge role in our global history, but the stone is important in the history of China and the United Kingdom.
In 12th century China, some of the earliest sunglasses were crafted from sliced panes of smoky quartz. The sunglasses were mostly used by wealthy elites, but they also played a crucial role in judicial proceedings.
The custom at the time was for judges to keep their opinions a secret until the trial was over. Smoky quartz glasses aided this process by hiding the judges’ facial expressions. Looking more powerful and mysterious was probably an added bonus.
During China’s Qing Dynasty, smoky quartz was a popular material for making snuff bottles. Snuff bottles were containers that held powdered tobacco, or snuff, inside. Chinese snuff bottles could be plain or have intricate designs and symbols carved into them.
Over in the UK, Scotland honors smoky quartz as its national gem.
The Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland have been beloved by gem collectors for hundreds of years. The most abundant gemstone here? You guessed it: smoky quartz!
In fact, the signature brownish-yellow smoky quartz stones found in Cairngorm are so popular, they go by the trade name “Cairngorm quartz” or simply “Cairngorm.”
Cairngorm quartz was even held in esteem by Queen Victoria herself. Her husband, Prince Albert, gave her quite a few cairngorm accessories.
One notable gift from Prince Albert was a ring brooch with a large smoky quartz from Lochnagar in the center. Some of Queen Victoria’s smoky quartz pieces are currently on display at Balmoral Castle and Osborne House.
Obviously, smoky quartz is big in Scotland. But where else is smoky quartz found? And how does this crystal form?
Smoky quartz stones form in igneous or metamorphic rocks. However, these rocks have to have radioactive elements inside to create smoky quartz’s trademark appearance.
Smoky quartz’s color occurs when quartz is exposed to natural radioactivity for a very long time. Any aluminum inside the stone is transformed by the radiation, creating the signature smoky color.
Because the process takes so long — we’re talking 2 to 8 million years — smoky quartz specimens are usually found in high-elevation areas like mountains.
So where in the world are these smoky quartz areas?
The majority of smoky quartz stones on the market come from Brazil. Other abundant smoky quartz areas include the Swiss Alps, Madagascar, and Scotland.
In the United States, California, North Carolina, and Colorado have booming smoky quartz deposits. Pikes Peak in Colorado is famous for its conjoined clusters of amazonite stone and smoky quartz stone.
Clearly, the countries that produce smoky quartz care deeply for this majestic stone. But how do you care for smoky quartz?
Smoky quartz is an easy stone to clean. All you need is some warm water, mild soap, and a soft brush to get your gem looking good as new!
In order to keep smoky quartz safe, you’ll need to know what to avoid and how to safely store your gem.
Smoky quartz stones are sensitive to sunlight. With prolonged exposure, the stone could turn gray or brown. To protect the gem from color fading, keep it away from sunlight or in a glass case. It’s best to keep smoky quartz separate from other gemstones to avoid scratches or fractures as well.
Charging gemstones is an essential ritual for spiritual crystal practices.
In terms of how to charge smoky quartz, we recommend the burial method:
Find an empty pot and fill it with soil.
Bury your smoky quartz stone in the soil until it’s completely immersed.
Leave the buried crystal in the sun for 2-3 hours.
Unearth the crystal, brush off the soil, and give it a rinse if needed.
Speaking of charges, let’s discuss smoky quartz price to see what kind of charges you can expect after your purchase.
Quartz stones are abundant worldwide, so they make very affordable gemstone options. Compared to other brown gems, smoky quartz stones easily give you the best bang for your buck.
This may make you wonder: is smoky quartz valuable? We think so! But it depends on how you judge a gemstone’s value.
Smoky quartz doesn’t come at a high price tag, but the cost-based value isn’t everything. If Queen Victoria could see value in smoky quartz, there’s clearly something special about it.
That’s not to say smoky quartz gems don’t come in high-end options, however. Smoky quartz set in luxury materials like real gold will command higher prices, some upwards of $5000!
The most valued shade of smoky quartz is a medium brown with good saturation. Ideally, the color would be homogenous and the stone would show good transparency.
Faceted smoky quartz gemstones will typically cost about $1-$5 per carat, depending on the gem quality and type of cut.
Smoky quartz pendants are around $0.20-$0.50 per carat. Cabochons and beads will usually cost $1.50-$4 per carat.
With that, you’re caught up on everything you need to know about smoky quartz! Smoky quartz’s wisps of smoke hint at the celestial powers and symbolism inside the stone.
Smoky quartz reminds us of the importance of our presence in the universe. When we practice grounding with the stone, we can tune into the earth’s vibrations and our connection to all life on this planet.
As Sarah Bartlett wrote, “Whether in the ocean, a pebble, a gemstone, or yourself, the energy of the universe permeates all.”
Shop for smoky quartz stones.
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