Smoky Quartz from the Scottish mountains
Cairngorm is the traditional name given to varieties of quartz from the mountainous regions of Scotland. Prehistoric peoples must have been aware of these gems and they have been well documented from the medieval period onwards. A quartz crystal, crudely polished and fashioned was often considered to be a talisman, and many Highland clans owned such stones, which were believed to have magical or healing properties.
The colour ranges from clear quartz (crystal) through yellow (citrine) and brown hues to dark brown, and even opaque black (morion) varieties. They were quarried out of the granite and collected from the 18th century onwards for traditional Scottish jewellery, and then mounted by the silversmiths of Inverness, Aberdeen, Perth, Edinburgh and Glasgow. They were set as plaid brooches often mixed with Scottish agates and jaspers in beautiful and desirable designs. Dirks, skean dhus, kilt pins, snuff mulls and other collectables are examples of the work of Scottish craftsmen which may be found.
At Alistir Wood Tait we have many antique examples of Cairngorm jewellery as well as modern designs made from stones we have collected ourselves from Highland Perthshire. These stones are cut and polished by our lapidary. It has been described as "The finest Cairngorm in Scotland."