past & present

D*S Gemstone Handbook: Smoky Quartz

by Grace Bonney


For some reason, whenever I hear the words “smoky quartz”, I think someone’s introducing a jazz singer. Maybe it’s too many episodes of Parks & Recreation with Ron Swanson as Duke Silver, but that name always makes me laugh a little. Thankfully there’s nothing funny about how beautiful smoky quartz actually is. Smoky quartz gets its color from free silicon that forms during natural irradiation. That naturally occurring irradiation has led some to believe that smoky quartz can aid in healing those with physical ailments. Though this gemstone is popular worldwide, it’s particularly prized in Scotland. Cairngorm, another name for smoky quartz, is the national stone of Scotland (named for the Scottish mountain range) and has a place on top of Scotland’s National Scepter. I may not have a scepter anywhere in my future, but smoky quartz always has a place in my home. I love the fade from grey to black and it’s inspired so many of my favorite current home designs, too. xo, grace

Illustration by Maxwell Tielman

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  • I love smoky quartz! My engagement ring was a teardrop-shaped smoky quartz bezel-set on its side. I always got compliments on it for its being so unique! Nice to learn a little more about its background!