Published January 2015 • Updated August 2022 • Read Time: 8 minutes
Smoky Quartz is the grey, brown or black variety of Quartz, if it slightly golden-brown, it is nicknamed “Whiskey Quartz.” While other crystals are colored by trace minerals, Smoky Quartz has a unique geological influence – natural irradiation that occurs under ground. While light-colored gems are always natural, some of the darker examples may be artificially enhanced by exposing the Quartz to radium or x-rays! Smoky Quartz has a very calm and grounding energy, it’s a good stone to have around during a crisis when levelheaded thinking and sensible actions are needed. It is highly recommended as a talisman for cancer patients, particularly those undergoing chemotherapy.
Smoky Quartz is a stone which promises us that we are stronger and more resilient than we know. It gives us support during hard times and increases our ability to handle stress and great sorrow. It can also help us to stay grounded when working with high-vibrational energies. It is particularly helpful for Shamans and holistic healers who want to utilize powerful energies better and bring them down into our physical bodies. Smoky Quartz has strong protective and purifying properties, and reminds us to be discerning and careful about who we claim as our spiritual teachers and associates.
Root and Solar Plexus
2 and 8
Sagittarius and Capricorn
Emotional Healing Properties
Smoky Quartz has a grounding and relaxing energy that is particularly helpful during times of high-stress. It helps us to focus on solutions to our problems, rather than dwelling on our current emotional state. Smoky Quartz can be a gentle companion for anyone suffering from depression. It helps us to engage more with the world around us and to feel how blessed we are to be alive, here and now. It slowly but surely, helps to dissolve negative energies and blocks which cause us pain. It shows us how to live in balance and to live in the Now.
Mental Healing Properties
Smoky Quartz helps us to look at the world and ourselves realistically and pragmatically. To “call a spade, a spade” and not worry about what is. Instead, Smoky Quartz encourages us to concentrate on problem-solving and appropriate actions. It helps us to set aside emotions that are not helpful. These emotions won’t just be buried, ready to come back out later. Instead, we are encouraged to simply acknowledge the emotions for what they are, and come to peace with them without needing to further process through them. Smoky Quartz is excellent for preventing nightmares. It also makes an excellent talisman for business people and can also help us to be more cooperative and to act as team-players.
Physical Healing Properties
Smoky Quartz is recommended for anyone physically suffering because of chronic stress. It helps us to focus on identifying and solving the root problem(s) that create stress, rather than getting distracted by symptoms that have come about as a result of the stress. It sensibly reminds us that if we deal with root causes, the rest of our problems will largely disappear on their own. It is a wonderful talisman for anyone with back problems or issues related to the feet. Once again, Smoky Quartz encourages us to took at the situation practically, and when possible to make lifestyle changes. It is one of the best talismans for cancer patients, particularly those undergoing chemotherapy who feel frighten by the possible side affects. Smoky Quartz helps us to stay focused on fighting the cancer, first and foremost, and to stay grounded and hopeful throughout our healing journey.
Buy Smoky Quartz or Crystals with a Similar Energy
Smoky Quartz is found throughout the world. Some of the more notable deposits are in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ghana, Hungary, India, Madagascar, Mozambique, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States
Mining and Treatments
Quartz is found all over the world and is usually a secondary or tertiary mineral in a mining operation, rather than the primary focus. If Quartz is the focus, it’s usually purple Amethyst. Smoky Quartz is often found inside Amethyst mines as well as in all Clear Quartz deposits. It is mined in its primary location still associated with the igneous rock matrix.
Much of the Quartz on the market is natural and enhanced only by cutting and polishing. The most desirable varieties are transparent, either clear as glass or with attractive prisms that sparkle in the light and cast rainbows. High quality Quartz is colorless or has a vivid color, while low quality is pale, dull and unremarkable.
Smoky Quartz’s color is due to trace impurities of aluminum. The aluminum is affected by natural irradiation inside the earth, giving the quartz its smoky brown or grey coloring. Low-grade Smoky Quartz can be exposed to radium or x-rays to produce a more valuable vivid shade. These heat-treatments can be done at a lapidary or even directly at the mine. From a scientific perspective, there is no way to distinguish between between naturally vivid and heat-treated crystals. But, if you know where the crystal came from, it is possible to make an educated guess. For example, Australia is known for having natural Smoky Quartz that are so dark they are almost black, so a Smoky Quartz from that country is more likely to be natural.
Smoky Quartz is always a natural Quartz, but its color may be artificially irradiated to bring out a more vibrant shade. Natural Smoky Quartz can run a gauntlet of shades, from palest gray and brown to inky black. Unfortunately the only way to know if the crystal has been enhanced is to known where it came from and compare it to known natural specimens from the same location to see if the colors are relatively similar. If a deposit typically produces light-colored Smoky Quartz particularly dark specimens may be suspicious – particularly if the quality is very high and the price relatively cheap.
Smoky Quartz is a type of Quartz and a Silicate mineral. Silicate minerals are the largest family of minerals, including more than 25% of all known minerals and 40% of all common minerals. In addition to being a major part of the Earth’s crust, silicate minerals have also been found on the moon and in meteorites. Silicates are minerals which contain the elements silicon (a light gray shiny metal) and oxygen (a colorless gas). Together, these two elements form a tetrahedra – a shape similar to a pyramid – with a silicon atom in the center and oxygen atoms at each of the three corners. These tetrahedra connect with other chemical structures, in six different ways, to form a wide variety of minerals and rocks. There are six main groups of silicate minerals, and these main groups are further subdivided into secondary subdivisions, such as Quartz and Feldspar. The Quartz family has two main main groups, macr0-crystalline and micro-crystalline. The macro-crystalline minerals form large well-shaped crystals that are often transparent, while the micro-crystalline only form microscopic crystals and are always opaque. Smoky Quartz is the gray or brown variety of macro-crystalline Quartz.
Smoky Quartz is created when liquid magma from a volcanic eruption cools down and transforms into igneous rocks. During this cooling down period, silica acid bubbles shift from being a gas/liquid into a solid compound. The bubble becomes a hollow space in the igneous rock and the silica acid becomes Quartz crystals. Once the Quartz has formed, a large hollow is often called a “druze,” while a smaller hollow is a “geode.” These druze and geodes can be removed from the host rock and then split open to revel the crystals inside.
If no trace elements are present to change its color, the silica acid becomes Clear Quartz. If trace minerals are present, then the color changes. For example, Amethyst, Citrine, Prasiolite and Smoky Quartz all get their coloring from trace particles of iron heated to different temperatures. Smoky Quartz is unique in that it’s coloring is produced specifically through irradiation, rather than just pure heat.
Smoky Quartz’s energy works well with its “friends” – crystal associates formed in the same geological environment. Try it in combination with Amazonite, Fluorite, Muscovite, and Spessartine Garnet.
Gray, brown, black
Hardness – Mohs Scale
Pale yellow, white, or blue (short and long wave)
Translucent to opaque
History of Smoky Quartz
Smoky Quartz was not included as a distinct mineral in most early lapidaries, texts which describe gemstones and their powers. However, it does have some ancient history associated with it. It is the national gem of Scotland and as such it is often used in Highland apparel, in jewelry, kilt pins, and shoulder brooches. It also is used as a power stone on the hilts of swords and knives, particularly the Scottish dagger sgian dubh, which is worn in the sock.
Smoky Quartz has been mined in the Cairn Gorm Mountains of Scotland since approximately 300 BC. It is intimately tied to Celtic culture, particular Scottish Highlander culture. While the name Smoky Quartz is used worldwide, it only dates back to 1837. Prior to that, the gem was called Cairngorm, after the mountain where it was first mined. Today, the name Smoky Quartz is often used to refer to grey or brown Quartz, while the new term of “Whiskey Quartz” is used to describe the golden-brown varieties.
Julie Abouzelof is the owner of Moonrise Crystals and an advocate for responsibly sourced gems and minerals. Her first career was in education teaching history, geology, and anthropology, as well as working with special-needs students. She is now a heart-centered entrepreneur who encourages mindfulness and positive action to heal ourselves and the world. Julie lives in Hawaii with her lover and a little parrot named Darwin.