Smoky quartz
description: <p style="text-align: justify;">LOCALITY: Anderson's Gully, Mooralla, Victoria, Australia <br /><br />1 1/2" long <br /><br />This piece is only a reference grade specimen. It is worth around $5. This small and inferior quality quartz crystal was glued into a geode of white rhyolite when I bought it. Despite the popular myth, truly high quality geodes are a rarity at Mooralla. The author field collected at Mooralla around ten times between around 1989 and 1995 and acquired thousands of pieces with around 99% of them being loose crystals. The author only self collected poor quality rhyolite geodes at Mooralla. Most of the rhyolite geodes only contained drusy milky quartz with a tendency of being microscopic and occasionally somewhat larger amethystine crystals. The very few rhyolite geodes that did contain any smoky quartz crystals only sported minor (less than 1 cm long) crystals at best. <br /><br />Since Anderson's Gully at Mooralla, Victoria was designated as a fossicking area by Victorian Government, the productivity of field collecting at Mooralla was restricted since only the use of non-mechanized hand tools was permitted. Since one could only move regiolith or rhyolite with pick, shovel, coal chissel and crowbar, any geodes with smoky quartz crystals excavated would normally be damaged or so severely shattered that they would be often not recognized as what had been a geode only minutes earlier when it was smashed out of the wall or floor of a hole with a crowbar or pick. <br /><br />At Mooralla, pseudostrata of heavily weathered rhyolite was found as little as only a few feet below the surface. When one digs a hole that is at least 6 feet deep at Mooralla, poor quality smoky quartz crystals are often found in the top soil and the red clay that must be cleared before the rhyolite is encountered at greater depth. The rhyolite pseudostrata contains small rhyolite geodes. Many of them are as fragile as china and often filled with red clay and occasionally loose smoky quartz crystals. Hence, most rhyolite encountered during field collecting at Mooralla is heavily weathered and this factor is a major contributor to the rarity of fine matrix smoky quartz specimens from Mooralla.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"> </p> <p style="text-align: justify;">I am yet to see a high quality rhyolite geode with smokey quartz in ANY Australian collection despite the fact that I live in Melbourne, Victoria and have been an active collector for decades.  It may be that despite assertions from amateur collectors in Victoria, high quality geodes that are esthetic and with reasonably large phenocryts do not really exist at all.  I am also yet to see a high qualtiy Mooralla piece presently on display in any public Australian museum.  </p> <p style="text-align: justify;"> </p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Photo by Matthew Webb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia</p>
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