Smoky Quartz is one of the coloured varieties of Quartz together with Amethyst, Citrine, Rose Quartz, Lemon Quartz, and Ametrine. Its colour ranges from yellowish brown to a dark brown that is almost black. Some specimens can have a grayish brown hue. When cut into gemstones, those with an orangey brown to a reddish brown colour are highly sought after.
The Physical Properties of Smoky Quartz
It occurs as druzy or masses of hexagonal translucent (sometimes opaque) crystals in igneous and metamorphic rocks. It often contains inclusions of solids (rutile), liquid (water and liquid carbon dioxide), or gas (carbon dioxide).
Smoky Quartz gets its colour through natural and artificial means. In natural settings, radiation emitted from surrounding rock activates the colour centers around the aluminum impurities in the crystal. Alternatively, Quartz crystals are irradiated in a laboratory to create various shades of brown. Although this is not often done since natural Smoky Quartz is abundant in nature and is relatively inexpensive.
With a Mohs hardness rating of 7, Smoky Quartz is a durable crystal with a glassy luster. It forms a smooth conchoidal fracture when exposed to pressure. It is often faceted or cut into beads and cabochons for use in various jewelry pieces. Smoky Quartz is also a popular material for carving.
The History of Smoky Quartz
The name Smoky Quartz was first heard of in the realm of gemstones in 1837. It was reported by mineralogist James Dwight Dana who named the brown Quartz crystal as such due to its semblance to smoke.
Scotland is the country known to have a wealth of historical associations with Smoky Quartz. This is why Smoky Quartz is the country's national gem.
Colonizing the British Isles sometime in 300 B.C., the Celts mined Smoky Quartz in the Cairngorm Mountains of the Scottish highlands. They classified the brown to black crystals as Morion, while the yellowish brown to grayish brown crystals are called Cairngorm.
Later on, the crystals became popular ornaments for Highlander apparel. Smoky Quartz were used in brooches and kilt pins. It was even used as power stones placed on the handles of weapons like the Scottish dagger called sgian dubh, a sock knife which is part of Scotland's kilted dress uniform.
Smoky Quartz can be found everywhere in the world. But the finest specimens are found in Australia, Africa, Brazil, Madagascar, and the US.
The Lore of Smoky Quartz
In some countries like Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, crucifixes made of Smoky Quartz were hung on bedroom walls at night to protect against nightmares, bad luck, and paranormal activity.
In North America, Smoky Quartz is a fixture in shamanistic rituals. It is used in tribal ceremonies to ward off dangerous forces from the ethereal realm. Smoky Quartz is fixed to the top of ritual wands.
The crystal is also used to create an astral pathway that connects its user to past worlds, or to facilitate an out-of-body travel. This is done by lighting a candle and holding the light to the center of the crystal. This is believed to prime the mind to follow the path formed by the crystal.
The Metaphysical Properties of Smoky Quartz
The dark colour of Smoky Quartz is associated with eliminating negative or unwanted energies. It is used to cleanse and purify the root chakra and solar plexus.
When used during meditation, Smoky Quartz serves as an absorber of unpleasant vibrations that a user may want to release. These can be stress, anger, fear, sadness, stress, anxiety, or any other negative vibrations that weigh down a person.
As a grounding stone, it awakens one's environmental consciousness and rekindles connection with Mother Nature.
As a grounding stone, Smoky Quartz assists in helping its user recover from traumatic or painful experiences. It is said that the crystal guides one to a higher level of mental and emotional wellbeing.
It helps a person become more receptive to difficult experiences, making them a level-headed, selfless, and determined person who lives in the present and is hopeful of a better future.
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The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (n.d). Smoky Quartz. Britannica. Accessed at https://www.britannica.com/science/smoky-quartz
Smoky Quartz Meaning and Uses. (n.d.). Crystal Vaults. Accessed at https://www.crystalvaults.com/crystal-encyclopedia/smoky-quartz/
Science & Origin of Smoky Quartz. (n.d.). Crystal Council. Accessed at https://thecrystalcouncil.com/crystals/smoky-quartz