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Smoky Quartz

Smoky Quartz is the smoky-gray, brown to black variety of quartz.  The name refers to its appearance - resembling smoke.  The name Morion is used for black smoky quartz.  Smoky quartz is often faceted as a brown gemstone.  

 Chemistry: SiO2

Crystal system: Hexagonal-Rhombohedral

Color: brown to gray to black

ï  Luster: vitreous

ï  Specific gravity: 2.65

ï  Mohs Hardness: 7.0

ï  Cleavage: none

ï  Fracture: conchoidal

Crystalline quartz is exposed to natural radiation from radioactive elements or adjacent radioactive rocks over long periods of time.  The coloration is attributed to gamma irradiation and the presence of traces of aluminum built into its crystal lattice.  The irradiation causes the aluminum Al+3 atoms (that replace Si+4 in the lattice) in a [AlO4]- group to transfer an electron to a neighboring monovalent cation (often Li+) and form a [AlO4/Metal] color center.  

Smoky quartz can be found in many diverse environments, but is mainly associated with igneous rocks and pegmatites.  Crystals grown at relatively high-temperatures like those found in pegmatites and alpine-type fissures are often evenly colored, whereas crystals from other environments often show a color zonation in the form of multiple phantoms.  

Some of the mineral locales from which specimens of Smoky Quartz are available at Taos Rockers include:

Pike’s Peak batholith area, Colorado

Western slope of the Sangre de Cristo range, Taos County, New Mexico

Sierra Blanca, Lincoln County, New Mexico

Rock Springs Canyon, Dona Ana County, New Mexico

Hallelujah Junction, Peterson Mountain, Washoe County, Nevada

Brandberg & Erongo regions, Namibia



Melody, in her book Love Is In The Earth, says Smoky Quartz can be “used to gently dissolve negative energies and emotional blockages.  It softens negative energy…an excellent grounding stone….It further acts as a protective stone”