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Smoky quartz is a gemstone that is increasing in popularity as a stone for jewelry. When crafted into fine pieces, smoky quartz is as beautiful as a brown diamond and almost as eye-catching but nowhere near as pricey. It is durable and easy to maintain and can be made into any type of jewelry.
If this sounds like a gemstone you would like to add to your jewelry collection, keep reading! We cover everything you need to know about smoky quartz gemstone and jewelry.
What is Smoky Quartz?
Smoky quartz is the brown colored variety of macrocrystalline quartz. It is a very common mineral and is found in various locations around the world. Smoky quartz comes from the same mineral family as citrine, amethyst and rose quartz, all famous gemstones used in jewelry.
The majority of smoky quartz comes from Brazil, as well as Switzerland, USA, Mozambique, Scotland and Australia.
Smoky quartz has been used for centuries in various forms. An interesting fact is that about a 1000 years ago in China, slices of smoky quartz were used as sunglasses to offer protection from the sun.
While not very important as a gemstone historically, of late smoky quartz has become increasingly sought after for use in jewelry.
Smoky Quartz Color
In the gemstone world, brown to black gemstones are not very common. This is partly what makes smoky quartz unique.
Smoky quartz ranges in color from pale brown to black. The best color is a beautiful medium-toned vivid brown hue. The way that this gemstone obtains color is from exposure to natural irradiation over prolonged periods of time.
Smoky quartz is similar in color to brown topaz and brown diamonds, although both these gemstones are harder and brown diamonds have a much stronger sparkle, fire and a much steeper price tag.
Smoky Quartz Clarity
Smoky quartz ranges from transparent to nearly opaque varieties. It has a glassy, vitreous luster. It is almost always eye clean and free from visible inclusions.
Smoky Quartz Cut
Due to its transparent nature, smoky quartz is beautiful when faceted, and has a stunning sparkle. As a result, transparent smoky quartz is commonly cut into popular gemstone shapes such as Asscher, round, oval, pear, rose cut and emerald.
Translucent varieties look beautiful when cut en cabochon, as this brings out its glossy, milky luster. Smoky quartz can also be carved into various shapes and figurines.
Smoky Quartz vs. Smoky Topaz
You may sometimes come across a gemstone called Smoky Topaz on the market. This is a not a real gemstone and in actuality, is simply ‘rebranded’ smoky quartz. Because topaz is more expensive and is held in higher esteem than quartz, calling smoky quartz by the name topaz immediately elevates the value of the stone.
If a vendor is trying to sell you a gemstone called smoky topaz, he is most likely trying to rip you off as there is no such thing as a smoky topaz.
Synthetic, Treated and Imitation Smoky Quartz
Smoky quartz is sometimes irradiated via gamma rays to intensify its color. In general, most smoky quartz on the market is natural in color.
There are no commercially produced smoky quartz varieties as the natural gemstone is affordable and abundantly found, two factors that take away incentives to produce the gemstone in labs.
Smoky Quartz in Jewelry
With the rise in popularity of colored gemstones, many consumers have begun to look for unique and different gemstones to wear. Smoky quartz is back in fashion, and is valued for its earthy look which makes for beautiful costume jewelry. It is also very popular in craft jewelry and is often used in rough or cut form.
If you think that smoky quartz is only used in low-cost jewelry, think again. While smoky quartz itself is an inexpensive gemstone, it can command high prices depending on the quality of the setting, the materials used and the designer. A good case in point is this stunning engagement ring featuring smoky quartz retails for over $5000!
Smoky quartz is a durable gemstone, with very good toughness and no cleavage. As a result, it can be used in any type of jewelry. It is commonly shaped into pendants, rings, earrings and bracelets. It can also be worn in rings, although it is more likely to be scratched or damaged in this form and should be mounted in protective settings such as bezel or halo.
Smoky quartz looks beautiful set in any metal color, although yellow and rose gold tend to bring out the beauty of the stone to maximum advantage. These warm metal tones tend to complement the earthy color of the smoky quartz for a stunning combination.
The masculine color of smoky quartz makes it an excellent gemstone for men’s jewelry and accessories, including cuff links, ear studs, rings and bracelets.
Cleaning and Caring for Smoky Quartz
Ranking at 7 on the Mohs scale, smoky quartz is fairly durable. However, it can be scratched and if exposed to hard knocks, the gemstone can fracture or chip.
The best way to clean smoky quartz jewelry is to simply use a mild liquid soap and warm water to wash the piece of jewelry, using either a soft cloth or soft-bristled toothbrush. Avoid using ultrasonic cleaners as they can cause damage to smoky quartz.
When engaging in vigorous activities, such as gardening, playing sports or swimming, take your smoky quartz jewelry off to keep it safe. Always keep smoky quartz jewelry away from chemicals and detergents.
Smoky quartz apparently is photosensitive and its color can fade over time if exposed to directly to sunlight. Keep smoky quartz jewelry out of direct sunlight to prolong the beauty of its color and appearance.
Finally, when storing smoky quartz jewelry, keep it away from other gemstones and metals, which can scratch and damage it.
Smoky Quartz Meaning
Smoky quartz is believed to be a powerful stone that provides a grounding and balancing influence. It is linked to healing and restoration and is ideal to alleviate issues related to stress, anxiety and other emotional distress. It provides a calming, soothing vibe and makes it easier to move on from former bad experiences.
Because of its distinct earthy tones, smoky quartz is often associated with the earth and reconnecting with nature. It is also believed to be able to alleviate physical pain, especially if placed over the parts of your body that give off tension.
Where to Buy Smoky Quartz Jewelry
You may be able to find smoky quartz jewelry at your local store, but taking your search online will give you a range of options to choose from, from high-end pricey jewelry to more budget-friendly designs.
Etsy – Etsy has a wide range of smoky quartz jewelry, from authentic antiques to inexpensive dyed pieces jewelry. Do your due diligence, and ensure that the store is reputable. Check out our guide on how to shop on Etsy if you’d like some pointers.
Amazon – Amazon offers high-quality loose and already mounted smoky quartz jewelry. This gives you a wide range of options to suit all tastes and budgets. Again, do your due diligence and check the authenticity of the piece and retailer. Check our guide on shopping for jewelry on Amazon here.
Smoky quartz is an affordable gemstone that can be made into beautiful jewelry. High quality pieces can be extremely valuable, but overall, smoky quartz fits into most people’s budgets. As a durable gemstone, smoky quartz is perfect for all types of jewelry.