Smoky Quartz

Smoky Quartz is one of the stones with a striking aesthetic line regardless its surroundings. With colors from light brown to almost black, the smoky shade tends to be quite uniform throughout an individual crystal. It is often found as large crystals with good transparency and few inclusions. Brazil is the main source for jewelry grade Smoky Quartz. Madagascar is another important producer, followed by Russia, Ukraine and Switzerland. High quality Smoky Quartz has been extracted from Colorado’s Pike’s Peak. Smoky Quartz is the official gem of Scotland and New Hampshire.

Formation

Quartz veins and pegmatites that cut through igneous and metamorphic rocks commonly contain smoky quartz. Often, crystals well-formed can be found in the cavities of igneous rocks along the margins of a pegmatite. However, smoky quartz may also be found in fractures of sedimentary or metamorphic rocks without an igneous association.

Properties

The aluminum in smoky quartz is responsible for its specific color. Silicon dioxide is the pure form of quartz. A small proportion of aluminum ions may replace silicon dioxide in quartz. As a result, a local charge imbalance is created, which favors the formation of color centers. However, it’s a rather complex process, which seems to be dependent on the degree of exposure to natural radiation the crystal receives. Smoky colors can be created in a laboratory by exposing a colorless quartz crystal to intense radiation. Smoky quartz occurs naturally in granitic rocks, which contain radioactive elements. Low levels of radiation acting over decades lead to the same color change as rapid irradiation. Very dark smoky quartz is associated with strongly radioactive mineral deposits in several places across the world. 

Symbolism

Organization, inspiration. Element: Earth.

Legends

Smoky Quartz, the Scotland national stone, has been considered sacred by Druids in ancient Celtic culture. It was also used in ancient China as protection against sun’s glare.


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