QUARTZ (var. SMOKY)
HISTORY, NAME, LOCALITIES: Smoky quartz is the smoky-gray, brown, or near-black gem variety of quartz. Its name alludes to its color. Gem-quality, smoky quartz is fairly common with collecting localities in Brazil, Switzerland, Scotland, Japan, Russia, and the United States (Maine, Colorado, New Hampshire, North Carolina, California).
MINERALOGY, PROPERTIES, OCCURRENCE: The physical properties of smoky quartz are the same as those of quartz [silicon dioxide, SiO2], with the exception of its diagnostic smoky-gray to brown and near-black colors which are created by the effects of natural geophysical radiation. Smoky quartz crystallizes in the hexagonal system and occurs mainly in granite pegmatites as short-to-long, horizontally striated, hexagonal, prismatic crystals with pyramidal terminations and good transparency. It has a Mohs hardness of 7.0, conchoidal fracture, vitreous luster, and specific gravity of 2.65.
METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES, LORE, USES: In ancient times, smoky quartz was thought to cure infertility and generally benefit the reproductive organs. Modern metaphysical practitioners believe that smoky quartz protects against harmful radiation, while enhancing the beneficial effects of medical radiation treatments. It also helps to overcome nightmares, depression, and ambivalence. Smoky quartz is a popular gemstone and is faceted into gems, often of 10 or more carats.
COLLECTORS’ INFORMATION: Smoky quartz is collected for its unusual colors, transparency, high degree of crystal development, and frequent association in composite specimens with such other pegmatite minerals as muscovite, albite, and the amazonite variety of microcline.