Fake Smoky Quartz – Irradiation Smokey Quartz
Recently i came across Artificially dark (Almost Black) Smoky quartz and Irradiation Smoky Quartz, which both are NOT Natural! Irradiation of mineral specimens is a fairly common thing, as it is simple to turn colourless quartz into deep black smoky quartz. These natural smoky quartz crystals tend to retain their color when exposed to sunlight, where as irradiated crystals will fade fast when exposed to sunlight, If Smoky quartz is from Tajikistan it’s likely 100% fake.
It’s still common to artificially irradiate colourless quartz and sell it as smoky quartz. Some sellers or dealers are obliged to label that quartz, but it’s impossible to tell whether the source of the irradiation was natural or not just by looking at the crystals, so some sellers don’t do that and get away with it. In the U.S.A and brazil. a lot of produce gets irradiated with gamma rays as a means of sterilisation, and a box of white quartz just needs to be put though the same process couple of times and the crystals turn out suspiciously black and sold as smokey quartz. (Picture Below – Source Google)
Some tips on how to tell if the specimen was irradiated are its origin and the geological environment it grew in. Deeply coloured, almost black quartz usually only occurs in igneous rocks. The location is often more helpful. A typical example is Arkansas. There is natural smoky quartz from Arkansas, but it is rare, and thus will not be sold by the lot on a fair. Anything smoky you get from Arkansas is irradiated along with Tajikistan. The specimens below received some treatment, and what a nice piece you get. Below are examples of fakes
The only hints to tell if a specimen was irradiated are its origin and the geological environment it grew in. The latter requires a piece of matrix. Deeply coloured, almost black quartz usually only occurs in igneous rocks. Gangue quartz is rarely black (at least I have never seen it), so you should raise your eyebrows over black quartz along with galenite or pyrite. Also NOTE sign of an artificially irradiated smokey is that the color fades FAST when exposed to sunlight whereas a natural smokey will retain its color longer.
The location is often more helpful. A typical example is Arkansas. The specimen to the right probably was a little cloudy inside, and it also has a lot of little crystals grown on the prism. So it received some treatment, and voila, what a nice piece you get. Occasionally there’s a picture of a “smoky quartz” from Arkansas in a book to serve as an example for a typical smoky quartz.
Now another crystal that is similar to irradiated quartz Morion quartz. This dreamy stuff just recently came on the scene. It’s a deeply coloured, black quartz only occurs in & around volcanic rocks. These are RARE & formed by natural radiation caused by nearby uranium deposits from South Africa or in Poland. Natural Morion quartz retains some translucence when held up to the light as you can see in my pic below.
Image of a Morion Quartz
Now here’s some genuine smoky quartz below
This smokey Quartz is all Natural – From Namibia
Smokey Elestial Quartz – from Minas Gerais, Brazil
Namaqualand, South Africa
Dodo Mine, Polar Urals, Tyumenskaya Oblast’, Western-Siberian Region, Russia