Smoky quartz is a specific variety of the crystalline mineral, quartz. As Ashley Leavy, founder and educational director of the Love and Light School of Crystal Therapy explains to mindbodygreen, as quartz hardens and crystallizes, small particles of different elements can get trapped inside. So in the case of smoky quartz, those elements are trace amounts of lithium and aluminum, which create this stone’s telltale “smoky” appearance.

According to Leavy, smoky quartz is commonly found in places like Brazil, parts of Africa, Scotland, and the state of Colorado. It’s actually the national gem of Scotland, with “Cairngorm” quartz, from the Cairngorm mountains of Scotland, being particularly sought after.

“Some ancient Celtic people used it for personal adornment and jewelry, as well as in ceremonial pieces like weapons,” she says. And as spiritual health expert and meditation teacher, Kara Ladd, previously wrote for mbg, “It was the Druid’s first choice in sacred ceremonies and rituals, [and was] believed to guide souls to the afterlife and keep evil spirits away.”

In general, Leavy says that smoky quartz is terribly underrated, and really shouldn’t be. “A lot of people aren’t drawn to it because it’s not seemingly pretty on the surface—and I think smoky quartz just doesn’t get the attention it deserves because it’s pretty amazing,” she notes.

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