Updated: Sep 3, 2021
Hello everyone! Here we go with another issue of our “What’s new in the Chinese mineral world.” Before I go on to talk about our exciting new finds, I have done some researches on Smoky Quartz and here are some fun facts and scientific findings that may be of interest to you.
What is Smoky Quartz?
Smoky Quartz is a silicon dioxide crystal formed by slow crystallization at high temperature and pressure at depth, mainly found in Quartz veins and pegmatite dikes that cut across igneous and metamorphic rocks. It ranges in clarity from highly transparent to translucent and almost opaque.
The Color of Smoky Quartz
Smoky Quartz ranges in color from light citrine brown, dark brown to a deep brown that appears to be black. The color of Smoky Quartz is caused by natural radiation emitted from the surrounding rocks, reacting with trace elements of aluminium within the Quartz. The Quartz formation process takes millions of years and the longer the Quartz is left unmined, the darker it will be. Radioactive mineral deposits in many parts of the world are associated with Smoky Quartz, notable localities are Brazil, Madagascar, China and Switzerland. Needless to say, the excellent crystals of dark brown to black Smoky Quartz associated with Amazonite from Crystal Peak of Colorado that have become world famous.
Uses of Smoky Quartz
More than 3,000 years ago as early as the Wuding period (1250 BC - 1192 BC) in China, it was discovered that Smoky Quartz could be used to protect the eyes from the sun. The Quartz was hand-crafted into sheets and used to make some of the first examples of sunglasses.
12th century Song Dynasty Quartz eyeglasses relic unearthed in Jiangsu, China
Qiu Ying, one of the Four Masters of the Ming Dynasty in China painted in his famous scroll “Scenes of the South Capital City” an intellectual wearing glasses. Historians suggested that intellectual came from a wealthy family because the price of a pair of glasses at that time was equivalent to a horse.
Scenes of the South Capital City
Quartz is Key to Plate Tectonics
Scientists and experts found that Quartz crystals play a critical role in triggering the chain of earth’s events that form valleys, plains and mountain chains. Geophysicist Tony Lowry published in the March 17, 2011 issue of Nature that mountains can only be produced from beneath if a rich deposit of Quartz exists under the crust. For example the Rockies are very quartz-rich whereas the Midwest’s Great Plains toward the Rocky Mountains has almost no Quartz in it.
What’s new in the Chinese mineral world?
Last but not least, let’s look at the exciting new find of Chinese Alpine Smoky Quartz. These gorgeous new finds of stark jet black Smoky Quartz crystals with a natural pedestal accent of creamy white Feldspar, occasionally associate with Green Epidote crystals, is from a July 2021 discovery at one of the most beautiful and remote locations in China – the Wulian Mountains. This Smoky Quartz species is so extraordinary and unusual for the association and its visual composition – to have highly crystallized Chabazite crystals associated with these Alpine Smokies at this locality. Chabazite of this well-formed quality are very scarce on the Chinese mineral market where they are considered one of the top collectibles from the area.
Like the true Alpine Smoky Quartz, the luster of the Smoky Quartz is vitreous and the clarity is translucent to opaque. Some of these Quartz crystal points have intersected among themselves, piercing into, above and below each other – you can see it in the close-up photo, it’s absolutely fascinating!
The prism faces of the Smoky Quartz exhibit geometric, horizontal striations that is truly beautiful. It has just enough accent of a contrasting creamy white color at the base to be dramatic, and presents very elegantly. As a bonus, a lot of them are complete floaters, with some micro crystals of Epidote grown on the underside of the piece, adding sparkles and colors.
This is the most rare and desirable Alpine Smoky Quartz species that are very scarce on the market, even in China. We are an expert in Chinese minerals and these are obtained directly from the hands of the miners, without the need to pay the unnecessary and expensive middleman fees. If they were Alpine Smokies from Switzerland or France, it could be so overprized and become unaffordable.
The Locality – Wulian Co., Rizhao, Shandong, China
The Shandong Province is best known for its remarkable lakes and mountains traversed by traders on the ancient Silk Road centuries ago. You would regret for not bringing a good camera to capture these breathtaking, mesmerizing scenery :D