Smoky quartz is the National Gem of Scotland and has been considered a sacred stone there for a long time, a belief dating back to the Druids. The stone is the birthstone for Scorpios. Smoky quartz is one of the rare brown gemstones. Other rare brown gemstones are topaz, black beryl and brown corundum.
Smoky quartz has been used widely since ancient times because it is so easy to cut as a gem and equally as easy to shape for ornaments and other practical applications. Smoky quartz was popular for making snuff bottles in China, and was also popular in ancient times with the Romans, who used the stone for carving intaglio seals. The Sumerians cut and engraved various quartz stones as cylinder seals and used them later as ring seals. As the Sumerians invented writing, quartz is probably one of the first gem stone materials to be written on, and also to be used as a stamp to make a written impression in clay. Some thousands of years ago, the Egyptians made beads, scarab figures, and other jewelry from many of the quartz stones (including the transparent amethyst, prize of the quartz family).
There are many examples in various museums throughout the world, of carved quartz stones that were popular in Greece and Rome. These sometimes show the upper half of the body of a man with a hand upraised, pronouncing judgment. Sometimes just the head and shoulders of the man are shown, but always with the hand raised. These pieces are said to have been especially good to have around at the time, during a lawsuit. In the 14th century, it was common for the quartz crystal to be engraved with the image of a man in armor holding a bow and arrow. The stone supposedly guarded the wearer and the place where it was situated.
Quartz crystal has been used in religious and shamanistic systems for thousands of years. Quartz was long thought by ancients to be solidified water or ice. Because of its connection with water, the stone has been utilized to magically create rain in many parts of the Pacific, including Australia and New Guinea.
Contemporary Wiccans wear quartz, often combined with silver, during Full Moon rituals. Because quartz is also a goddess symbol, the crystal spheres are often placed on the altar during lunar rituals. The crystal’s icy cold temperatures represent the sea. Two quartz crystals are also placed on Wiccan altars to represent the God and Goddess- the two primal, creative powers of the universe. Some may place a natural crystal there to represent the God, and a sphere for the goddess.
In Shamanistic terms, the quartz crystal is the shaman, and the shaman is the crystal. There is no difference between the two. Because of this, it is the perfect tool of the shaman and is utilized in rituals throughout the world. It is a common component of shaman’s power bags or medicine bundles. In shamanic healing sessions, as well as home treatments, crystals are rubbed onto the afflicted part of the body to remove disease. The crystal can be placed on a painful part of the body and left there to rebalance bodily conditions and to remove blockages of energies, which many say result in illness.
Traditionally, quartz was utilized in the Eleusinian mysteries to produce the sacred fire by concentrating the heat of the Sun to ignite wood chips. Quartz was also common among North American Indians in rite and spell, and ceremonial wands topped with quartz crystals have been found in Southern California. Cherokee shamans, acknowledging the crystal’s power, kept it wrapped in buckskin when not in use. At regular intervals it would be “fed” deer’s blood.
Mystical Powers of Smoky Quartz
*The information provided here is for entertainment and reference purposes only. It is based on centuries of folklore, most of which came about before the age of modern medicine. It is not meant as actual medical information. For advice about any of the illnesses listed, please visit a qualified physician.
Quartz has been long thought to be lucky for foresters and gardeners. Mystically, it is symbolic of the spirit and intellect of human beings. Throughout history, in the British Isles, crystals spheres of an inch in diameter were mounted in silver and worn as amulets against illness.
There are many beliefs in the powers of the smoky quartz stone in helping to heal certain physical ailments. Because smoky quartz is often naturally irradiated, it is excellent for treating radiation-related illness or symptoms that arise as a cause of receiving chemotherapy. It has been said that to dissolve pain, one must place a smoky quartz stone directly over the painful point.
Smoky quartz is particularly effective for ailments of the abdomen, kidneys, pancreas, hips and legs. It relieves all sorts of other pain too, including headaches, and benefits the reproductive system, muscles and nerve tissues, as well as the heart. The stone dissolves cramps and strengthens the back. It also aids in the assimilation of minerals and regulates liquids within the body.
It has been said that a quartz crystal placed under the pillow offers psychic impulses in the form of dreams, which are the language of the deep conscious mind. It also ensures peaceful sleep. The stone is also known to relieve toothaches- a small crystal is placed against the gum to give relief from the toothache until the dental treatment is obtained. The stone can also be held in the hand to reduce fevers.
There are also many beliefs in the power smoky quartz has over the divine. Tumbled and polished quartz stones are inscribed or painted with runes and used as divination stones, and divinatory objects such as tarot cards are often stored with quartz.
Quartz’s uses in healing, altering consciousness, and magic has linked it to the spirit of the New Age. Long neglected by people in most of the world, save for their industrial applications, quartz crystals are today a huge commercial business.
Quartz is believed to have the ability to neutralize energy. It aids in bringing the natural Yin and Yang energy flows within the body into balance, which is highly useful when the individual has tendencies to go from emotional highs to emotional lows, or when the natural polarities in the body’s systems need to be brought back to the center. It is an excellent stone for those who work with energy as a means of treating both body and spirit. Several authors have recommended that smoky quartz be used when treating depression and fatigue, stating that it has solid value as a useful tool.
Quartz is one of the most efficient grounding and anchoring stones. It is a superb antidote to stress as it assists in tolerating difficult times with equanimity, fortifying resolve. To dispel stress, place a stone in hand and sit quietly for a few moments. To draw off negative energies, place point away from body. Point the stone towards the body to energize. The stone grounds spiritual energy and gently neutralizes negative vibrations. It blocks stress and assists elimination and detoxification on all levels. Quartz teaches you how to leave behind anything that no longer serves you. For example, it has been known to heal addictions and obsessions.
Psychologically, the stone is a mood elevator- it relieves fear, enhances security and safety, and brings on emotional calmness. It has been known to alleviate suicidal tendencies and ambivalence. It aids acceptance of the physical body and the sexual nature, enhances virility and cleanses the base charka so that passion can flow naturally. Mentally, it promotes positive, pragmatic thought and can be used to give clear insight and to neutralize fear of failure. It dissolves contradictions, promotes concentration, and alleviates communication difficulties. It is also an excellent aid for clearing the mind for meditation.
Quartz is beneficial to one who finds the need to move forward within himself. It can be extremely helpful to one who is contemplating his relationship with life, exploring his value system, and seeking inner meaning. When meaning is discovered, the magic of smoky quartz is said to be excellent in working to bring one’s dreams into manifestation. Smoky quartz connects us with our higher self. It encourages us to take up contact with this higher self and to pray. It tells us to trust our intuition. As such, it is an excellent choice for those who are unaccustomed to the contact with our inner self.
A very practical belief about smoky quartz is that it is most useful in helping settle or calm a disagreement between people. Just as it can bring harmony to the natural energy system of the body, it may also bring about harmony and help to ground a quarrel. The unusual energy, which transforms quartz into smoky quartz, enables this stone to provide one with insight, learning how to see the nature of incarnate existence as a pathway towards spiritual joy.
Physical Properties and Science of Smoky Quartz
Quartz is by far the most versatile of any of the gem families. Among its members, it includes more variety and a larger number of gems than any of the other three mineral families put together. In the gem trade, the old saying “when in doubt, say quartz,” still holds true. Quartz minerals are relatively inexpensive gems that offer a wide range of pleasing color alternatives in both transparent and nontransparent varieties, from translucent to opaque. They are a wonderful choice for affordable jewelry.
Quartz is one of the most common minerals on earth. The most famous variety of quartz is the amethyst. Quartz comes in transparent and opaque colors and also comes colorless. Smoky quartz rates a 7 on the hardness scale. It is a tan to dark brown type of transparent quartz, and is sometimes incorrectly called smoky topaz or citrine. While it is not known for certain, it is believed that the color of smoky quartz comes from exposure to low grade radiation from uranium and thorium in rocks in the ground. In fact, smoky quartz can be made in a laboratory by exposing clear rock crystal to low-grade radiation.
Today, most of the smoky quartz on the market has been color enhanced or modified in some way. One indication of heat treatment is an excessive uniformity of color, particularly in dark specimens. In crystals, naturally smoky quartz is brown to the base, while irradiated specimens will show some white color. Smoky quartz is very plentiful and is popular for use in large sizes for beautiful brooches, large dinner rings and so forth.
When heated to temperatures of 300-400 degrees, smoky quartz will pale and lose its color, gradually becoming once again clear. When a smoky quartz is almost black in color, it is known as “morion,” according to Simon and Schuster’s Guide to Rocks and Minerals.
Quartz occurs in many igneous and metamorphic rocks, particularly in granite and gneiss. It also often occurs in granitic rocks that have small amounts of radioactivity. Quartz can be found in Australia, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Bavaria, India, Spain, Scotland, Switzerland, Madagascar, Russia, and the US (in Maine, Colorado and New Hampshire). The earth forms the quartz we know when natural quartz containing small amounts of aluminum is irradiated by exposure to natural radioactivity. Outstanding quality smoky quartz has been obtained from hot, hydrothermal veins in the Malagasy Republic and Brazil. In fact, crystals weighing up to 650 pounds have been found in Brazil. In the United States, Colorado produces some of the best smoky quartz.
Quartz can easily be scratched or chipped so it is important to be careful not to wear it when you might be engaging in an activity that could harm the stone. The best way to clean your quartz is with a plain water and soap, using a soft brush and then a soft polishing cloth. Do not soak your quartz, and do not leave it in direct sunlight as its color may fade. Also be careful not to expose it to intense heat as this too might cause the color to fade.