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Sell With a Story: Smoky Quartz

Is it any surprise that smoky quartz is most popular in November? Its rich brown and gray hues lend themselves to this time of year. Fall’s radiant colors have faded to brown. Beige patches claim more and more of the once green grass. Trees stand gaunt against a pale sky. And on chilly evenings, the scent of burning wood offers a delicious comfort. Smoky quartz perfectly compliments nature’s retreat.

Neutral zone

For women, this time of year is like any time of year: it’s all about fashion. (Isn’t that the reason seasons change?) We wear our favorite styles in darker shades, and smoky quartz contributes a sophisticated shimmer at a time when light and brilliance cheers us.


Like all quartz (the most plentiful mineral in the continental crust), smoky quartz has had a very distant association with humans. This heritage began in 1921 when archeologists discovered Peking Man, dated 500,000 BCE, buried with 10,000 stone tools and 89% were varieties of quartz. Between 17,000BCE and 9,000 BCE (Magdalenian Period) rock crystal tools were also found in Austria. Quartz crystals located at a California burial site dated to 6,000 BCE. And Egypt at the time of the 800px-quartz_var-_smokey_from_morella_victoriaPharaohs carved quartz beads and scarabs while the ancient Romans created intaglios with quartz.

But 12th century China truly takes the cake. There they used flat planes of smoky quartz to create the first sunglasses. Yes, they got the jump on a whole lot of designers.

Natural Radiation

How does smoky quartz get its gorgeous color? Over a period of several million years, natural radiation interacts with aluminum traces in the crystal to give it this color. Longer periods — let’s say 2 million years — create darker shades. And by the way, it’s not radioactive.


Uniform Color?

Like amethyst, smoky quartz is darker at the tip and frequently the color isn’t uniform. Heating helps produce a uniform color. And some are irradiated to deepen the smoky brown hue.

Cairngorm Crystals

Scotland has ancient associations with smoky quartz that date back more than two millennia. Found in Scottish Highlands — the Cairngorm Mountains to be precise — its dark beauty suits the country’s northern climate. The color varies from a dark smoky brown to black (subsequently named morion), to a more yellow hue that appears closer to what we call honey quartz. It adorned swords, pins, and other ornamentations and it remains popular — so much so, it is Scotland’s National Gemstone.

Power Up With Smoky Quartz


Plentiful and affordable, you might think smoky quartz’s powers were ordinary. Guess what? You’d be wrong just as I was. Take a look at these and consider how much it can bring to you or a customer. Smoky Quartz —

  • Symbolizes the opposing forces of the human spirit and intellect.
  • Promotes creative solutions particularly in business.
  • Increases an individual’s power.
  • Protects against danger and mishap.
  • My personal favorite: It neutralizes negative energy at home and work, filtering out bad moods, unspoken resentments, disparaging remarks, hostility, gossip, and bullying bosses.
  • Protects against illness with particular effect on the abdominal bloating, kidneys, pancreas, hips, and legs.
  • Relieves pain especially headaches.
  • Helps with mineral assimilation. For women, calcium (bones) and magnesium (calms the nervous system, stabilizes blood sugar) have particular importance.
  • Ensures peaceful sleep.
  • Last but not least, it reduces the urge to smoke. I guess that’s because it’s “smoky”!

With help from Stuller customer Jack Russell, Graduate GIA Gemologist and Owner of Newport Jewelers, Newport, TN


Elizabeth Raffel

I've been with Stuller since 2013 • Primarily read books on physics and other sciences • Was blown away by 'Breaking Bad' • I believe no woman can have too many boots or too much jewelry • Been writing professionally longer than I care to admit • Studied tailoring after college.