smoky quartz

smoky quartz


Smoky quartz is a variety of macrocrystalline quartz, which owes its color (all shades of brown) to the natural or induced irradiation of the aluminum salts it contains. It belongs to the group of oxides: it is a silicon dioxide and its formula is SiO2. Smoky Quartz is transparent to translucent, rarely opaque, and has a vitreous luster. Its hardness is 7 on the Mohs scale and its density is constant (2.65). Of conchoidal fracture, it has a trigonal crystalline system. Its fluorescence is variable and its pleochroism weak.


The color of a smoky quartz is due to the radioactivity of the natural environment in which it grew, the gamma rays having modified the elements and impurities it contains. Brown, grey, dark grey, black, smoky quartz has several shades, rarely homogeneous over the whole crystal but rather distributed in bands parallel to the faces of the crystal. The Morion variety designates a black or very dark brown smoky quartz. The Scottish Cairngorm is rather yellow-brown. Champagne quartz is reminiscent of the color of the drink of the same name… Some smoky quartz has an asterism effect (several rays of light on the surface, arranged in an asterisk) or cat's eye (a single transverse ray like a cat's pupil).


Smoky quartz is quite common. It forms in all types of geological contexts: igneous and magmatic rocks, such as pegmatites, sedimentary rocks, alpine fissures, hydrothermal veins, etc.
The main deposits mined are in Brazil, Madagascar, Scotland (Cairngorm variety), Switzerland, Ukraine... Haute-Vienne, in France, is home to large crystals of morion, especially in the Monts d'Ambazac, a small massif located on the western edge of the Massif Central.


Smoky quartz is a financially affordable stone whose physical characteristics make it easy to work with and therefore allow a wide variety of smoky quartz jewelry . It can be cut in a multitude of shapes: cushion, square, pear, round, emerald, briolette, cabochon, egg, sphere, shuttle, princess and many other products from the talent of lapidaries. They find there material to exercise all their creativity, because it is possible to work large pieces of smoky quartz at very affordable prices.
The deepest and most translucent colors are the most appreciated, with as few inclusions as possible, and this beautiful, slightly hazy clarity that makes this mineral so charming. You should know that all the beauty of smoky quartz flourishes in the soft light of the sun, especially in the morning and at the end of the afternoon, while it is less valued in artificial light.


The smoky depths of this type of quartz inspired clairvoyants and fortune tellers, especially in the 19th century: unlike rock crystal, which is perfectly limpid, smoky quartz ensured that they kept invisible to the eyes of the layman all the mysteries revealed to them. their divination balls…
Braemar Castle, from the 16th and 18th centuries, located in northern Scotland, contains an enormous smoky quartz crystal that weighs more than 23 kilos! Smoky quartz was widely used in Scotland, notably to decorate Scottish kilts and make pretty brooches, as well as dagger handles: called "sgian dhu", these traditional Highland daggers are worn inside the sock so which we see protruding from the handle. The latter should preferably be matched to the brooch…
Even larger crystals are found in Brazil (over 300 kg), but in the Swiss Valais, a 600 kg smoky quartz crystal was found in 1757! As for the famous Washington museum in the United States, the Smithsonian Institution, it presents among its collections of gems a faceted cut crystal of 4500 carats, that is to say 900 grams...


In lithotherapy, smoky quartz would be considered the stone of responsibility and refocusing. Thus, it would calm the strong emotions that confuse effective thinking, and thereby improve lucidity and concentration. By helping to reflect and eliminate irrational fears, anxieties, inner contradictions, smoky quartz would strengthen self-confidence but also the ability to open up to others and make the right decisions. He would chase away gloomy thoughts and fight depression. If the expectations of its bearer are too idealistic and far from reality, it would promote awareness and the refocusing of energies on more reasonable, more accessible objectives, avoiding failures and disillusions. It would stabilize the mood if it tends to appear jagged… Smoky quartz would help us connect more to our body and hear its messages to maintain health and balance: hunger, thirst, instinct, need for rest…
From a physical point of view, it would help to fight smoking (as well as any other form of addiction, for example to alcohol or drugs), would strengthen the connective tissue and the muscles (in particular the heart), as well as as kidneys, pancreas and genitals. Thus, it would have beneficial effects on fertility. Morion, the darkest of the smoky quartzes, would be associated with Aries while the lighter varieties would be linked to the signs of Scorpio, Libra and Capricorn. The corresponding planet is Pluto or Saturn depending on the case.

The Science of Quartz

The word "quartz" is derived from the German word "quarz" and its Middle High German ancestor "twarc", which probably originated in Slavic (cf. Czech tvrd ý ("hard"), Polish twardy ("hard") ) . Quartz ,which is of Slavic origin (Czech miners called it křemen ) . Other sources attribute the word's origin to the Saxon word Querkluftertz, meaning cross-vein ore.

Quartz is the most common material identified as the mystical substance maban in Australian Aboriginal mythology. It is found regularly in passage tomb cemeteries in Europe in a burial context, such as Newgrange or Carrowmore in the Republic of Ireland. The Irish word for quartz is gray bell, which means 'stone of the sun'. Quartz was also used in Prehistoric Ireland, as well as many other countries, for stone tools; both vein quartz and rock crystal were knocked as part of the lithic technology of the prehistoric peoples.

Macrocrystalline varieties
Rock crystal Clear, colorless
Amethyst Purple, clear
Citrine Yellow to reddish orange to brown, greenish yellow Prasiolite Mint green, transparent

Rose quartz Pink, translucent
Rutilated quartz Contains acicular (needles) inclusions of rutile milky quartz White, translucent to opaque

Quartz throughout history

Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder believed quartz to be water ice, permanently frozen after great lengths of time. (The word "crystal" comes from the Greek word κρύσταλλος , "ice".) He supported this idea by saying that quartz is found near glaciers in the Alps, but not on volcanic mountains, and that large quartz crystals were fashioned into spheres to

cool the hands. He also knew of the ability of quartz to split light into a spectrum. This idea persisted until at least the 17th century.

In the 17th century, Nicolas Steno's study of quartz paved the way for modern crystallography. He discovered that no matter how distorted a quartz crystal, the long prism faces always made a perfect 60° angle.

Charles B. Sawyer invented the commercial quartz crystal manufacturing process in Cleveland, Ohio, United States. This initiated the transition from mined and cut quartz for electrical appliances to manufactured quartz.

Smoky quartz Brown to gray, opaque
Also Chalcedony is a cryptocrysta line form of silica consisting of fine intergrowths of

both quartz, and its monoclinic polymorph moganite.

Other opaque gemstone varieties of quartz, or mixed rocks including quartz, often including contrasting bands or patterns of color, are agate, onyx, carnelian, and jasper.