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Jewelry

What Is Smoky Quartz Jewelry?

Smoky quartz buying guide

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If you’re a fan of darker gems, you’re surely going to love smoky quartz jewelry. Smoky is a beautiful variation of quartz that gets its dark chocolate hue naturally, and gives that wonderful warm and neutral tone, perfect for matching with fall or winter fashion colors.

This exciting gem is durable and beautiful, and thanks to its eye-catching color and shine, it makes for stunning statement jewelry pieces.

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In this article, we’ll find out more about different smoky quartz properties, meanings, origin, as well as jewelry.

Origin of Smoky Quartz

Smoky quartz pendant

Smoky quartz pendant by Silver Ocean Jewels. See it here.

Smoky quartz is a secondary November birthstone and the national stone of Scotland. After colonizing the British Isles, Celts used to mine this beautiful gem in the Scottish Highlands. They named the yellow-brown variation of the crystal Cairngorm, after the mountain of the same name, and the darker brown and black variations were known as Morion.

Besides Scotland, this beauty can also be found in Brazil, Australia, Africa, Switzerland, Madagascar, and the USA.

In the 12th century China, it was used for making eyeglasses, or to be more precise, sunglasses, as its darker color protected the eyes from sunlight. These glasses were also popular among judges, who wore them during trials to hide their facial gestures.

What is Smoky Quartz?

Smoky quartz is a brownish variety of quartz crystals. This crystal is produced in the earth, and it gets its browns and blacks through natural radiation, occurring in the surrounding rocks. The smoky brown hue activates thanks to the aluminum impurities within the quartz. Amethyst, for example, forms in a similar way but it gets its color from iron impurities.

Smoky quartz has been out there for a long time, but only recently, it became increasingly popular as a jewelry stone. Because of its lower price and abundance, it’s been used as practice material for people who are just starting out as gem cutters.

Smoky Quartz Hardness

This gemstone measures 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This is somewhat soft, but durable enough for jewelry pieces of lower value. It’s also quite a tough stone with no cleavage, suitable for various jewelry pieces, including necklaces, bracelets, brooches, pendants, earrings, and even rings.

Smoky Quartz Durability

Smoky quartz makes for durable pieces of jewelry that require little care. However, it can be scratched if hit by other jewelry or any hard surface. It’s also sensitive to some chemical and cleaning agents, which can damage the stone to some extent and harm its luster and shine over time.

Smoky Quartz Clarity

Smoky quartz earrings

Smoky quartz earrings by Jeflair. See them here.

Smoky quartz is often found as large and glassy crystals, with excellent transparency and luster and no visible inclusions. This crystal ranges from near-transparency to almost completely opaque brownish-gray or black.

Smoky Quartz Cut

This gemstone is quite versatile and can be cut into various shapes, sizes, and styles. Due to its natural transparency and luster, smoky quartz can be either faceted or cut in a cabochon style, both producing a sparkly and beautiful final gem. The smoky quartz will display eye-catching fire and brilliance in cuts like oval, round, square, pear, marquise, emerald, and the Princess cut.

Smoky Quartz Color

Smoky quartz ring

Smoky quartz ring by Zafiro Jewellery Co. See it here.

Smoky quartz can either be pale in color or have lovely, rich chocolate brown hues. Sometimes, the color is so intense that it almost appears black.

The pieces that have a pale brown color with a grayish undertone are considered less valuable. On the other hand, jewelers and gem enthusiasts prefer smoky quartz with red and orange-brown undertones.

Due to its specific color, smoky quartz is sometimes confused with brown topaz and, occasionally, even brown diamond. However, topaz and diamonds are far more durable and harder stones and have a much greater value.

Smoky Quartz Treatments

Generally, this gemstone occurs naturally transparent and with beautiful color intensity. It’s also quite abundant, and therefore, there’s no reason to make synthetic gems. Due to this, the majority of smoky quartz in the market today is natural.

However, some smoky quartz gemstones undergo various treatments to enhance their color and clarity. For example, colorless quartz, or lighter toned one, is often irradiated to create that smoky effect. These are labeled R on the market, and even though treated, they have excellent stability.

Smoky Quartz Meaning

Smoky quartz is associated with serenity, stability, practicality, intuition and positivity.  

Throughout centuries, smoky quartz was widely known as the Stone of Power. The ancient druids believed the gem was holy, containing potent powers of various Earth deities.

Many believe to this day in its healing powers as well, and the stone’s ability to absorb and neutralize negative energy, bringing relief and happiness into the wearer’s life.

Smoky Quartz in Jewelry

Raw smoky quartz rings

Raw smoky quartz rings by Ringcrush. See them here.

Throughout history, smoky quartz was used for many things and purposes, except for crafting jewelry. Due to its abundance, this crystal wasn’t considered to have a gemstone-quality, and its brown color wasn’t in high demand.

But everything changed during the Victorian period, when dark brown stones were worn as mourning jewelry, especially in Ireland. It quickly became a recognizable look, and as colored gemstones gained popularity, people started to look for new and unique ways to express their character and style.

With its beautiful variety of smoky brown shades, smoky quartz became a sought-after gem and the dream for every jewelry designer. Adding a certain flair of sophistication and mystery, this beauty can complement any outfit, yielding a stunning look and style suitable for both men and women.

Smoky Quartz Jewelry for Men

A dark brown variation of smoky quartz is a popular choice for men’s rings and cuff links, ear studs, bracelets, and other accessories. Smoky quartz’s dark color combined with leather perfectly brings out the masculinity of the piece as in this handmade men’s bead bracelet, or this sterling silver ring featuring faceted smoky quartz.

Smoky Quartz Jewelry for Women

The earthy and smoldering color of smoky quartz jewelry for women creates a sultry look that can be quite neutral, complementing any skin tone and undertone. To bring out the warmth of the stone’s smoky hue, it’s best to set it in yellow or rose gold, perfectly displayed in this Rose Gold Smokey Quartz And White Sapphire Cocktail Ring or these Yellow Gold Smoky Quartz Teardrop Earrings.

Smoky Quartz Jewelry Price Guide

While this gemstone is relatively inexpensive, the price of smoky quartz jewelry can vary a lot, depending on the designer, the quality of the setting, as well as the other used materials and precious stones incorporated in the design of the piece.

Typically, the value of the stone is based on its cut, clarity, color, and carat size. Therefore, the price per carat of a good quality gem with lighter brownish yellow color will be around $5. The price of a high-quality faceted cut gem with intense and saturated brown hues will be $20 per carat or more.

Any inclusions will affect the stone’s durability and, therefore, decrease its value and price. To make sure you get a good quality gem, go to the tried and tested jewelers and designers with a good reputation.

Caring for Smoky Quartz Jewelry

Smoky quartz jewelry makes for fairly durable pieces that are easy to maintain. Due to its score of 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness and its clean cleavage-free structure, this gemstone can take a punch or two without splitting, chipping, or breaking.

However, it’s not entirely scratch-resistant. For this reason, it’s recommended to avoid wearing smoky quartz rings and bracelets during some heavy labor activities. When storing, it should be put in a separate pouch to protect it from surface scratches caused by other jewelry pieces.

Smoky quartz can also be damaged by some chemicals and cleaning agents, so it’s best not to wear smoky quartz while doing house chores.

When cleaning your smoky quartz jewelry, you should avoid aggressive detergents and only use warm water and mild soap and rub it with a washcloth or a soft toothbrush.

To Wrap Up

Smoky quartz jewelry features an alluring dark gemstone, which can be an attractive alternative to the à la mode brown diamond. With its beautiful warm colors, ranging from a lighter brown to dark brown and almost black, this fascinating gem is always a good statement jewelry choice. But it can also be a part of more traditional pieces, such as promise rings as well as engagement and wedding rings. This chocolate-colored jewel is also an excellent and unique gift for yourself or your loved ones, for birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, and many others.