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Smoky Topaz

What is Smoky Topaz

First of all, while it is commonly called topaz, this brown gemstone is actually quartz. Before its chemical make-up was known, people believed this sultry stone was a member of the topaz family and, as a result, the name still lingers even though we now know differently. Though the names are interchangeable and refer to the same gemstone, the correct name is smoky quartz. The reason the name smoky topaz is still used is because it is the name people are familiar with and it makes it easier to find what they are looking for. The jeweler can then explain the difference. Topaz is made of fluorine aluminum silicate whereas smoky topaz quartz, like all the members of the quartz family, is a silicon dioxide. It is possible that aluminum particles contaminating the mineral are what give the stone its smoky brown color. Another possibility is that radiation from the earth pulls the color out. Sometimes clear quartz is enhanced through irradiation to achieve shades of brown. A smoky topaz can come in shades ranging from pale tan to a dark chocolate.

Like amethyst and citrine, smoky topaz quartz is a macrocystalline quartz. This means that the crystals forming the gemstone can be seen without magnification. Another interesting characteristic is that it is sometimes found in combination with citrine creating a bi-colored stone.

Origins of the Smoky Topaz

Smoky topaz quartz was found long ago in the mountains of Scotland. In fact, it is the official gem of Scotland. As a tribute to this sultry brown gemstone, smoky quartz serves as the tip of the national scepter. However, the deposits are lessening and they are mostly mined for sentimental reasons. The stones in a smoky topaz bracelet more likely came from mines in the United States, Sri Lanka or Spain. Deposits typically occur at high elevations such as the historic deposits found in the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland. In the United States, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado contain deposits of smoky quartz and in Europe, they are found in the Swiss Alps.

Is Quartz a Birthstone?

While there are official and alternative birthstones for every month, smoky topaz quartz is not one of them. However, it is so versatile and affordable that there doesn't need to be a special occasion to buy a piece of this jewelry. And, the choices are unlimited. Jewelers use these gemstones in smoky topaz rings, earrings, brooches and even figurines. There is a shade and a style that appeals to everyone and can be worn any day of the week.

Legend and Powers of Quartz

Since the beginning of time, people and cultures have attached mystical characteristics to gemstones. Smoky topaz quartz is no different. For one thing, it is believed that wearing the gemstone draws out negativity from the wearer as the gemstone absorbs it. This is why it is also believed to relieve depression and improve mood. Dreams may become reality when wearing a smoky topaz bracelet or other piece. As for health, the workings of the bodys lower organs- digestive and reproductive- are supposed to be improved.

A common use for a smoky topaz is as a meditation facilitator. It supposedly raises awareness, clears the mind and enhances reaction time. Overall, it is supposed to help the wearer tune in and come to resolution. Another mystical use for smooth round spheres of smoky topaz quartz is as a scrying stone. It is believed that, in the 16th century, Elizabeth I relied on them to tell the future. Taking advantage of its mystical ability to see the future, smooth crystal balls are also made from this mysterious gemstone. Maybe, just maybe, by peering through the smoke, dreams can come true.

How to Clean and Care for Smoky Topaz Jewelry

Smoky topaz, like all other quartz gemstones, has a rank of 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This means that while it is not indestructible, it is fairly durable and can be worn daily. However, pieces like a smoky topaz bracelet or ring are more exposed to potential wear and tear so be careful not to knock them into things.

As for cleaning away the dirt and soap scum that inevitably builds up on frequently worn jewelry, a soak in warm soapy water should be enough. Scrubbing the piece with a soft toothbrush can also help get the gunk from under the setting.

This earth tone gemstone makes a great accessory for a fall or winter wardrobe. A lighter hued smoky topaz pendant can also be a great accessory to show off a summer tan. Set in gold or silver, faceted or cabochon, this sultry brown gemstone goes with anything. Smoky topaz is very affordable so it is easy to own several pieces and not break the bank.