In the market of gems, where precious stones like diamonds and sapphire tend to rule many hearts, another category of gemstone known as the quartz has proven to be no less in recent times wherein it is climbing the popularity charts quickly as a fragment of jewelry. The beloved smoky quartz falls under the same category and is a stone, colored in the shades of dark grey, brown, or black variety of quartz while being a close relative of Citrine which is another form of quartz. The rock closely resembles the charm and appeal exuded by a brown diamond although it costs a lot less than diamonds while also being durable, low maintenance, and flexible enough to be molded into any type of jewelry. It is a gemstone that anyone could incorporate into their collection to add a variety while ensuring that not too much pressure is exerted on customers’ finances since jewelry made of smoky quartz looks gorgeous while being accessible at affordable prices. About Smoky Quartz A silicon dioxide mineral, the smoky quartz is another variety of microcrystalline quartz and is one of the most commonly found natural minerals in our crust across several locations around the world. This type of quartz is just another part of the family consisting of the quartz stones such as citrine, amethyst, and rose quartz, with the highest amounts of smoky quartz being found in Brazil, Switzerland, the USA, Mozambique, Scotland, and Australia. The reason behind the presence of the smoky hues found in these stones can be attributed to gamma irradiation which leads to the accumulation of traces of aluminum in the crystal lattice while displacing the particles of silicon and hence, giving birth to the hazy tinges. History Although the historical significance of the smoky quartz is not as profound as other gemstones, flat planes of the stone were known to be used as sunglasses for protection against the sun by the Chinese in the 12th Century since it is mostly transparent to translucent in nature with some rarer fragments being opaque. The smoky quartz is also incorporated in the Scottish heritage wherein a variety of the gemstones called the cairngorm found originally from the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland, was and is currently being used in the making of Scottish jewelry while also proving to be an item of decoration on kilt pins. As of this century, the stone has garnered wide appreciation from jewelry shoppers and enthusiasts who have actively begun approaching items of jewelry which is embedded with the smoky quartz in the form of ring and pendant centerpieces. While the higher quality stones are utilized in the designing of jewelry, the stones with lesser quality and value, appearing generally a lighter shade than the former, are used as beads or cabochons. 4Cs of Smoky Quartz From the perspective of jewelry making, the smoky quartz is judged on the same four factors that are the basis of evaluations of other precious gems such as white and colored diamonds. The 4Cs which include a stone’s color, clarity, cut, and carat weight must be considered while purchasing jewelry studded with smoky quartz stones to make sure that the purchase is worth the amount a customer is investing. Color The uniqueness of smoky quartz lies primarily in its color which ranges on the scale of pale brown to black since discovering a stone of a shade in this range is generally a rare occurrence in the gemstone world. The discovered stones could be on one end of the spectra wherein they are colored in a shade of profoundly pale or they could also be on the other extreme wherein the specimen might appear almost or completely black. While most stones are known to be painted by the radiation in a single shade, many other samples are also known to express multiple hues, both these occurrences depending on the how and where of formation of the smoky quartz. The stones with a shade evenly distributed throughout can be located in pegmatites, alpine-type fissures, and other high-temperature conditions. The most beautiful color in this range is mostly awarded to a shade of medium-toned vivid brown which attains its color due to natural irradiation which the stones are exposed to over a lengthy period of time. The dichroic effect is also a part of the stone’s properties which describes how the smoky quartz will show a change in its color when rotated in the presence of polarised light or if it undergoes prolonged exposure to UV light. The stone may also turn paler from its original shade if exposed to heat since it is an unstable compound. However, this is a reversible reaction wherein the colors can be brought back to their darkened form if the stone endures the process of gamma irradiation. Although the smoky quartz shows close resemblance to the brown topaz and brown diamonds in terms of color, the latter stones are much tougher in nature whereas the brown diamonds also have a more intense sparkle and brilliance along with their costs being sky-high as compared to that of the smoky quartz. Also read: The Best Male Wedding Ring Clarity While the smoky quartz is generally eye-clean and free from inclusions and impurities, it can still vary in appearance with regards to transparency. Specimens of the stone could either be entirely transparent with a slightly glassy look or it could climb the stages of transparency and reach a state of absolute opacity. The smoky and vitreous lustrous appearance, however, is a result of the scattered cloudy areas which are combined with the dirty hues of the stones which are generally observed in the translucent samples which otherwise have clear parts present within them too. Cut With a value of 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, the smoky quartz, although quite brittle, is still sturdy enough for daily use in jewelry. It is also generally composed of a six-sided prism that terminates into a pyramid although other crystal formations are also highly possible except for a needle-like pattern. When cut in a faceted structure, the smoky quartz expresses a purely stunning appearance due to the stone’s naturally transparent property. Thus, the stone is mostly cut by designers and cut into well-known shapes such as round, oval, rose-cut, emerald, Asscher, and pear. The translucent samples, however, exude better beauty when cut en cabochon since this cut highlights the glossy and milky shimmer. Smoky quartz, however, is not limited to just the known shapes and cuts since the gemstone can easily be carved into several other shapes and figurines. The Reality of Smoky Topaz Many vendors try to rip off customers by selling them a supposed variety of gemstone known as the smoky topaz which is, in reality, nothing else but a rebranded version of the smoky quartz. Since gemstones, the likes of topaz are generally held at a higher value in terms of quality and cost, awarding the smoky quartz with the term ‘smoky topaz’ automatically raises the value of the stone which allows vendors and sellers to wrongfully demand a higher price for jewelry that is embedded with none other than stones of smoky quartz. Customers must hence be wary of this marketing strategy and absolutely avoid stores and brands that claim to possess smoky topaz since there is no such stone of this variety since they are just highly overpriced specimens of smoky quartz. Types of Smoky Quartz The two types of smoky quartz available in the market include natural and treated smoky quartz with the former being most abundantly found in various forms of jewelry. Whilst commercial production of smoky quartz hasn’t begun yet since the natural version of these gemstones have always been abundantly available, some of the stones do undergo treatment in the form of irradiation with gamma rays to intensify their color. Apart from these exceptions, most of the smoky quartz jewelry found in the market consists of nature-made stones. Jewelry made of Smoky Quartz Steadily rising in popularity, the smoky quartz is being used in various forms of jewelry since the newer generation has begun craving for stones of unique nature and color as the generic options bore many customers out there. Colored gemstones have already been placed at a high pedestal in the current market trend and hence this too helps the desirability of jewelry composed of smoky quartz stones. Since apart from being exquisitely colored, the stone offers an earthy look which bodes well with stunning costume jewelry. The popularity of these stones is also quite significant in craft jewelry wherein it is more often than not utilized in rough and cut forms. Although smoky quartz itself is a modestly priced gemstone, it is not necessary that every piece of jewelry made with these stones would be inexpensive as the prices generally depend on the quality of the setting, the material used, and the work of the designer on the piece. Many remarkable engagement rings studded with the smoky quartz stones cost as high as $5,000 and this proves that smoky quartz sometimes proves to be nothing less than its counterpart gemstones in the world of gems. The flexibility showcased by the smoky quartz stones is primarily due to its durability, toughness, and absence of cleavage which allows the stone to be molded into any shape and consequently fitted into any variety of jewelry such as pendants, rings, earrings, and bracelets. When embedded in rings, a setting such as a bezel or a halo should be considered by the customers since other settings could leave the stone exposed to scratches and damage. While the stone incorporates beautifully with any metal color, it stands out the best in yellow and rose gold since these warm metal shades tend to highlight the charm and elegance of the stone to maximum intensity and complement the earthy nature of the quartz to form a flawless combination. Another advantage of the smoky quartz is how it is excellently suitable even for men’s jewelry and accessories due to the masculine hues of the stone, making it a fabulous option for cufflinks, ear studs, rings, and bracelets. Also read: Unique Split Shank Setting With Sparkling Diamond| Conclusion Thoughts Customers out there wishing to add a tint of uniqueness and beauty to their collection must consider the jewelry embedded with stones smoky quartz since these gems are not just unisex but also look as stunning and beautiful as any other gemstone while being available at many affordable prices in all forms of jewelry. With low maintenance and easy care, these stones are an excellent choice for everyday use wherein wearers can freely flaunt these gems without much worry while also enjoying their peculiar characteristics, all available at amazing prices!