Smoky Quartz Rings – A buying Guide

Smoky Quartz Rings Buying Quide


Smoky quartz rings hold an alluring gemstone, a sacred stone according to a belief dating back to the Druids.

In this present age, smoky quartz is a gemstone that is increasing in popularity as a stone for jewelry. When crafted into fine pieces, smoky quartz is as beautiful as a brown diamond and almost as eye-catching but nowhere near as pricey.  Smoky quartz is also durable and easy to maintain and can be made into any type of ring, including a smoky quartz engagement ring.

If this sounds like a gemstone you would like to add to your jewelry collection, keep reading!  We cover everything you need to know about smoky quartz rings in this smoky quartz rings buying guide.

What is Smoky Quartz?

Smoky quartz is the brown colored variety of macrocrystalline quartz. It is a very common mineral and is found in various locations around the world. Smoky quartz comes from the same mineral family as citrine, amethyst and rose quartz, all famous gemstones used in jewelry. 

Smoky quartz rings sterling silver LUXURIA
PHOTO 1: Smoky quartz rings as seen above are prized for their earthy color.  This example is a grey brown color smoky quartz solitaire ring , three prong set in 925 silver.   [SOURCE: Luxuria Diamonds]

Where is Smoky Quartz sourced from?

The majority of smoky quartz comes from Minas Gerais, a large inland state in south-eastern Brazil.  Deposits are also found in Madagascar; Switzerland and in two US locations; California and the Pikes Peak area of North Carolina.  

The Cairngorm variety of smoky quartz is found in the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland.  Smoky quartz here usually has a smoky yellow-brown colour, though some specimens are greyish-brown.


Smoky Quartz Color

In the gemstone world, brown to black gemstones are not very common. This is partly what makes smoky quartz unique.

Smoky quartz color ranges from pale brown to black to opaque.  The best color is a beautiful medium-toned vivid brown hue. The way that this gemstone obtains color is from exposure to natural irradiation over prolonged periods of time.

Smoky quartz is similar in color to brown topaz and brown diamonds, although both these gemstones are harder.   Brown diamonds have a much stronger sparkle, fire and a much steeper price tag.

Today, some of the smoky quartz on the market has been color enhanced (color changed) via heat treatment.  One indication of heat treatment is an excessive uniformity of color, particularly in dark specimens.  The most valuable smoky quartz color is uniform brown to black color, with few visible inclusions.

Our smoky quartz rings buying guide would not be complete without mentioning that smoky quartz is known for its large sizes.  Smoky quartz rings are popular for people who like really large gemstones without a really big budget.  Just be aware though that larger smoky quartz rings tend to have stones that are very dark and opaque.  Large smokey quartz rings are also likely to have more visible gemstone inclusions.

Types of Smoky Quartz

There are three types of smoky quartz. These three quartz varieties are summarised below.  

First is Cairngorm, a variety that comes from the Cairngorm Mountains in Scotland.

Second is Morion, which is a very dark black opaque variety of smoky quartz.

And Coon tail quartz is a smoky quartz with an alternating black and gray banding.

Smoky Quartz is often misidentified and sometimes for example mistaken for Topaz.  Topaz comes in every shade of brown, from a light tan to nearly black.   Be aware to that a chocolate colour of Citrine gem also exists and this is a pleasant brownish/yellow in color.

Citrine is another quartz variety LUXURIA
PHOTO 2: Citrine is also a member of the crystalline quartz family.  While commonly seen in yellow and golden orange colors it can also be found in pleasant “earthy” tones.  Examples include brownish/yellow and brownish/orange colors.  Seen above is a large marquise shape citrine solitaire ring from Luxuria©     [SOURCE:  Luxuria Diamonds]

Smoky Quartz is only one of several quartz varieties. Other varieties that form macroscopic (large enough to see) crystals include Amethyst, Citrine, Milky Quartz, Prasiolite, Rock Crystal and Rose quartz.

Are Smokey Quartz rings in sterling silver popular?

Smoky quartz sterling silver rings are attractive.   With the rise in popularity of colored gemstones, many consumers have begun to look for unique and different gemstones to wear. Smoky quartz is back in fashion, and is valued for its earthy look which makes for beautiful costume and demi-fine jewelry. It is also very popular in craft jewelry and is often used in rough or cut form. 

If you think that smoky quartz is only used in low-cost jewelry, think again. While smoky quartz itself is an inexpensive gemstone, it can command high prices depending on the quality of the setting, the materials used and the designer.   In the demi-fine jewelry (a category of jewellery that sits between ‘fine’ and ‘costume’ jewelry) smoky quartz rings set in 925 sterling silver are particularly popular.  Further smoky quartz may be paired with diamond or other precious stones for use in a smoky quartz engagement ring.


Smoky quartz engagement ring LUXURIA
PHOTO 3: If you think that smoky quartz is only used in low-cost jewelry, think again. Smoky quartz rings can be accented with diamond and set in precious metals such as gold and platinum.  Seen above is a large smoky quartz engagement ring from Luxuria®  [SOURCE: Luxuria Diamonds]


Is Smoky Quartz suitable for engagement rings?


Smoky quartz is a durable gemstone, with very good toughness and no cleavage. As a result, it can be used in any type of jewelry.  It is commonly shaped into pendants, rings, earrings and bracelets. It can also be worn in rings.   Some care however is required with the setting so as to protect the stone from scratches.   Because of this protective ring settings such as bezel or halo are recommended when used in a smoky quartz engagement ring.

Smoky quartz rings LUXURIA
PHOTO 4:  Halo and Bezel setting is recommended for a smoky quartz engagement ring.  These setting types encircle and thus protect the sides / edges of the smoky quartz gemstone.  An example of a cushion cut smoky quartz ring with halo is seen above.   [SOURCE:  Luxuria® Diamonds]

How much are Smoky Quartz gemstone rings?


As smoky quartz is a relatively common gemstone the price for the gemstone itself is modest.   According to IGS (USA), Smoky quartz gemstones range in price from $1 to $5 per carat (USD).    The labour and materials of the setting thus largely influence typical smoky quartz ring prices. 

Set in 925 sterling silver nicely faceted, good quality eye clean smoky quartz ring typically retails for around US$100.   

Smoky quartz rings are also crafted in other metals to including white gold, yellow gold, and especially rose gold.  Set in 18K rose gold which nicely complements the brown gemstone, smoky quartz rings can retail for over US$ 1000.

We hope you’ve found this smoky quartz rings buying guide useful.  Do check out our Smoky Quartz and other gemstone rings in our store below.

Want to learn More?

Birthstone rings are rings which are set with a gemstone or gemstones which represent the month of birth.  The gemstone may be natural. Typically they have taken millions of years to form, deep within the earth or synthetic which is lab-created.  Read more about beautiful gemstone birthstone rings here.

Sometimes a clear diamond just doesn’t convey your or her personality. Enter a raison d’être for colored gemstone engagement rings.   Although for most of the past century natural diamond rings have been the most common choice for engagement rings, colorful gemstone engagement rings have always had devoted fans and are growing increasingly popular.

In this guide, we will share 5 things you should know about sterling silver gemstone rings.

Colored diamond rings are a force of nature. Diamonds are created under immense heat and pressure and buried deep beneath the earth’s crust.  Read about The Symbolism of Colored Diamond Rings here.

We also welcome any comments or questions you have on the topic of smoky quartz rings.   Please use the comments section below to share your thoughts.

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