The world of crystals: a brief overview

The world of crystals: a brief overview
Image: @quarz_store

In 1986, The New York Times published an interesting article “New Zeal for Gemstones: Real Search for the Unreal”. It talked about the way more and more Americans were turning to crystals, whether it is to sort out their personal life, career or wellbeing. Despite the authors’ assumptions at the time, the crystal phase was clearly no fad and is here to stay.

The concept of healing crystals has not only captivated the minds of New Age housewives but has also found popularity among the more rational office workers of today. It is not uncommon to find a pyramid made of citrine or aventurine on someone’s desk, while a quartz watch has for many replaced a Rolex. Whether it is amongst art world aficionados, celebrities or influencers, crystals have clearly found a cult following.

Victoria Beckham is a big fan of gemstones, which have featured prominently in her 2018 jewellery collection as a series of quartz, tiger eye, howlite and calcite pendants. Jennifer Aniston admits to not leaving her house without her beloved moonstone necklace. While Bella Hadid is an owner of a vast crystal collection. So, is this another hype or a worthwhile investment? More on this below.

On gemstones and healing

That crystals can heal is by no means a modern marketing trend. In fact, an interest in the healing power of gemstones has been around since the beginning of time. Ancient Egyptians believed crystals to be living and breathing organisms that can multiply and decay. Meanwhile, Greek priests had a tradition of selecting a unique set of stones for each new ruler to enlighten their minds, provide strength and confidence, as well as bring about justice and empathy. The medicinal qualities of minerals were also widely known in ancient China and India.

Crystals have always been popular among the Russian aristocracy and the members of the Russian Royal Family. The biggest and most valuable of such precious and semi-precious gemstone collections was probably the one belonging to Ivan the Terrible. According to many legends, the Tsar studied the properties of crystals, using them as oracles and was even able to predict the future. It is said that when the turquoise in his ring turned white – a sign of terminal illness or death - he was hence able to predict his own demise which came several days later. It was around that time that some of the first comprehensive publications on the healing power of gemstones were released, claiming everything from rock crystal’s blood purifying qualities to amethyst’s ability to generate strength and turquoise’s potential to absorb any illness of its owner.

Miranda Kerr with Crystal Stone
Image: @mirandakerr

What does science have to say?

The number of scientists siding with the benefits of gemstones is growing by the day. And there is now empirical evidence, rather than mere legends, to support it. Kirlian photography has revealed that crystals have an electro-magnetic field like any other living creature, meaning that they are in fact capable of energy exchange.

Numerous studies using electrocardiography show a faint regular pulsation in crystals. Although it can only be perceived by extra sensitive devices, its effect should not be underestimated. Case studies using house plants show that planting quartz in the soil of a wilting flower reverses the process of decay. Reportedly, the plants came back to life and started blooming again.

Crystals and health

The benefits of crystals to our health are still met with a lot of scrutiny. Meanwhile, it was back in the 19th century that chemist and physicist Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac demonstrated bloodstone’s ability to lower blood pressure. This is further supported by the surviving archival documents. Artist and biographer Giorgio Vasari was eyewitness to a miracle which he described in his own words: “That night maestro Hannibale F*** experienced another nosebleed, which lasted for a long time. However, as soon as a piece of bloodstone was rubbed between his shoulder blades, the bleeding stopped.”

Modern scientists warn against expectations of such impressive and prompt results when it comes to crystals. Instead, their work is assumed to take place on a much more intricate level of improving the human body’s energy vibrations. Their therapeutic influence is also enhanced through stress reduction during meditation. With the huge impact chronic stress has on our entire body, this benefit is immense.

People observing quartz crystals for around 20 minutes at a time have demonstrated reduced heart rate and improved blood test results. It is worth noting, however, that when it comes to serious ailments, gemstones should not replace proper medical attention. Whether it is a morning stretch, a digital detox or a walk in nature, when it comes to our wellbeing, crystals should be seen as a nice supplement to a healthy lifestyle rather than a medical prescription.

The world of crystals
Image: @holistichabits

Choosing your crystal

This is where experts agree to let intuition do the job. Heather Askinosie, co-founder of Energy Muse and author of The Magic of Gemstones and Crystals, states that it is impossible to be wrong here: “trust your instincts and listen to your heart”. Think of what you would like to invite more of into your life and formulate a need. Your stone will not only manifest itself in how attractive you find it visually but also through its unique vibrations which only you will be able to perceive. It is for this reason that crystal shopping is best done offline. However, if online is still your preference, you may want to use our cheat sheet below.

  • Black tourmaline is a powerful amulet. Members of the Ancient Roman Senate would not leave their house without one. The stone is believed to create a powerful energy capable of shielding the wearer from any negative intentions.
  • Shungite is a real find for a 21st century urbanite as it is considered to be able to neutralise the electromagnetic rays emitted by electronic devices. It is recommended to place the stone next to your computer or other gadgets for maximum protection.
  • Pyrite helps in making financial decisions.
  • Smoky quartz is essential as a grounding tool, helping to return to the here and now, so is especially useful to those whose work involves a lot of screen time.
  • Blue lace agate has a gentle calming energy. It is perfect for those who experience stress a lot and are struggle to cope with anxiety.
  • Pink quartz has historically been associated with love and life. According to the legend, goddess Aphrodite sealed her love for an earthly youth who rejected her in this mineral and hid it under a mistletoe bush. The bush blossomed with white flowers a few days later. Pieces of this pink mineral were found underneath and believed to bring luck in love. It is thought that this stone can teach people to love purely and empathise with each other to achieve inner balance.
  • Rock crystal is recommended for purity and clarity of thought and focus on a complicated task when a difficult decision needs to be made.
  • According to the Oriental tradition, Carnelian strengthens the life force Qi and helps retrieve self confidence and positivity.

Looking after your crystals

It is recommended that you clear a newly purchased crystal of any past information which it may have accumulated. This can be done by simply keeping the stone in salty water for several hours and then rinsing it under a cold tap water for around five minutes, then leaving it to dry on a wooden surface. However, tourmaline, malachite and selenite are an exception as they do not react well to salt and are best cleared using soil. Simply place the crystal in a houseplant pot and leave it for around 24 hours.

It is good to bear in mind that crystals require mental attention as well as physical, given their ability to store negative energy. This is where incense, music and moonlight can come in handy for example by moving a piece of crystal through smoke for several minutes. Minerals store deep wisdom and boundless energy which they have been absorbing from the Earth for millennia. Stones are not only capable of influencing people but can also offer healing for the body and soul.

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