Healing Crystals & Gemstones

Cleansing Your Crystals


It’s suggested that you should never let anyone touch your crystals. Each crystal should be cleansed before use to clear any stored energy.

Try one or all of the following methods until you find the one that works best for you:

Place the crystal on or near a plant

Leave the crystal out in the sunlight for an hour

Pass crystal through the smoke of your chosen scented incense or sage

Place crystal in freezer overnight

Envision your crystal in imaginary white light until clean

Place crystal in the sun for several hours or During the Full Moon

Place your crystal by a window.

Soak crystal in sea salt or epsom salts. 

*You may use crystal as an elixir by placing crystal in your drinking water

Source: mojan.com




Crystal Healing Source: reikithehealingpath.com/crystal_healing.htm

Throughout history, civilizations have had many uses for crystals. The oldest legend goes back to the ancient times of Atlantis. It was said that the people of Atlantis were highly evolved and used crystals to channel and release the cosmic forces. The legend declares that this sacred knowledge was abused and Atlantis was destroyed, but before it was destroyed the wise one's of the civilization programmed certain crystals with the information and planted them in the earth, trusting that the crystals would surface on the planet to be attracted to people who could attune their minds to receive the information stored within.  Mayan and American Indians in the past have used crystals for diagnosis and treatment of disease.

Crystal healing work means transcending our self and ego. It works with a combination of the mind, the will, the crystal and the spirit becoming a channel though which spirit can do its work. To become this channel, you need to learn to surrender and become centered, calm and focused.

 What are crystals? Crystals are composed of minute particles called atoms that are grown within Mother Earth, they carry certain vibrations. Crystals are capable of receiving, projecting, reflecting light (which is the highest form of energy known in the physical universe). Nearly all crystals are created by repetitive adding of new matter to the growing crystalline mass. Some have their origins in fiery gases, some from vapors of volcanic gases and some from water solutions.

 You can use Crystals with Reiki to help change a number of inner processes, to do healing, to energize and balance the bodies energies. Just having them in your environment brings more beauty and light into your environment, they will charge the area with energy, they can purify and restore peace. You can carry or wear the crystal to bring light and energy into your day and have an effect on people who drain your energy or constantly have a negative attitude. You can use any crystal in meditation  to absorb its healing properties.

 When crystals are used for healing purposes, they will be open to picking up energy of the individuals that they are working with and should be cleansed after each treatment. You can run them under cool water and  put them in a window or outside with sunlight (for at least 30 min) or on a large quartz cluster to cleanse and recharge. You will tell if they need energized, they will become dull and clouded. You can personally recharge your crystals by holding them in your hand and sending them your own healing energy. For those crystals that are very drained you can soak them in sea salt and leave it for a couple days, then rinse it in cool water and put in the sun, then personally recharged.

 You can use Reiki to cleanse any type of crystal, simply holding the crystal and intending that it should be cleansed.  You can write down any problems you are having on paper and place a crystal under it intending that the Reiki flow into the problem to create healing.

 Crystal healing is an effective method of cleansing the aura, releasing suppressed traumas and connecting a person with their source of truth and power once old patterns are released. Crystals help by increasing the amount of light. The increased energy serves to get rid of unreleased blocks of negative charged energy. The frequencies of light that crystals emit are important. They have a direct influence on the bodies biochemical processes.  Crystals are powerful when used in conjunction with the body's energy centers, the Chakras. Each chakra has a specific vibrational colour .

Old feelings and memories may surface and be expressed when crystal's are used.. The purpose of crystal healing is to help those whom you work with to balance and align the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies so that they can get at their own inner resources of power and truth. True healing happens when you take full responsibility for yourself and when you do, you claim the power to heal.

Crystal Properties:

Amazonite: (Blue/green) Bestows truth and honour. A stone of communication, allowing us to speak from the heart. It fosters clairvoyant visions and is useful for divination and prophecy. Chakra:Throat

Amber: (Yellow to golden orange) Amber is petrified tree sap that is millions of years  old. It is said to bring romantic love and wisdom. Keep it in the house or office to cleanse the space of negative vibrations. It is effective for lifting depression. Chakra: Solar Plexus

Amethyst: (Purple) Increases spiritual awareness, psychic abilities and inner peace. It is valued for it's abilities to transform negative energy into positive energy. A strong but gentle teacher of all things spiritual, mystical and psychic. Chakra: Third Eye

Ametrine: (Purple and gold) A mixture of Citrine and Amethyst this stone contains the qualities of both. Chakra: Third Eye

Aventurine: (Sparkling green) Long associated with creativity, prosperity, career, success and balance. It opens us up to the world of opportunity. Healing and soothing to the mind body and spirit. Chakra: Heart

Jade: (green) Used to release suppressed emotions during the dream process. Brings realization to one's potential and devotion to one's purpose. Facilitates peace within our mental, emotional and physical bodies. Transmutes negative energy. Chakra: Heart

Blue Lace Agate: (Pale Blue) Helps us reach extremely high spiritual places. It's inspirational and contains the quality of grace. Brings protection, abundance and good luck. Chakra: Throat,Third eye, Crown

Blue Lapis: (Navy to royal blue with gold flecks) Stone of truthfulness and strengthener of both mind and body. It makes us more open in all ways, including openness to psychic experience. Chakra: Third Eye

Bloodstone: (Dark green or red) Enhances organization and smooth energy flow. It brings abundance and good fortune. A great purifier, it has the ability to remove emotional and physical blocks. Chakra: Root

Calcite: (Golden Yellow) A stone of wisdom and balance that promotes mental harmony. It deepens intellect, wisdom and psychic abilities. Chakra: Solar Plexus

Carnelian: (Deep Orange to red) A stone of protection, it protects against envy, fear and anger. Helps increase physical energy, personal power, creativity and compassion. Stabilizes energy in the home and protects the environment from negative energy. Chakra: Sacral

Chyrsocolla: (Mixture of green and turquoise) Promotes great inner strength and harmony by helping eliminate negativity form within. It purifies our home or work environments. It can be especially healing to those with blood disorders. Chakra: Heart and throat)

Citrine: (Gold) A crystal of prosperity, generosity and creative power. It is considered healing to the digestive system and emotions and strengthening to the body. Chakra: Sacral

Desert Rose: Provides alignment of the chakras and meridians of the physical body. Emits energy to strengthen our commitment to our lives work and gives us stability in employment.

Fluorite: (Various shades of green, purple and clear) A very protective stone, especially in the psychic realm. Considered a "psychic shield", unblocking energy while energizing and protecting. It fosters truth, intellect and consciousness. Chakra: Third Eye

Garnet: (Red) Linked to romantic love and passion. Associated with career success, social popularity and self confidence. It generally energizes, giving inspiration and promotes positive thoughts. Chakra: Root

Hematite: (Silvery black) A stone for balancing the mind, body and spirit. It balances our Ying and Yang energies. It also balances the meridians within the body.

Kyanite: (Fibrous blue) Helps in dream recall and promotes dream solving. Aligns all chakras automatically with no conscious direction. It brings tranquility and calming to our whole being. Stimulates communication and psychic ability. Chakra: All

Labradorite: (Grey green) A stone of strong will, it helps us in building resolve and purpose. It strengthens our aura and assists us in developing our psychic powers. Chakra: Third Eye

Lepidolite: (Light purple) A calming stone used for stress reduction, helps promote emotional balance, meditation and prayer. Used in times of transition, gently introducing change, allowing smooth passages during change. An excellent stone for business pursuits, combining diplomacy, direction and unimpeded communication. Chakra: Third eye

Luvulite/Pink Kunzite: (Pink and violet) Rapid transmission of energy. Has the ability to raise the vibrations of the Heart center to penetrate emotional blockages and allow the receiver to experience the Love that is the essence of his soul. Chakra: Heart

Malachite: (Layered dark green and medium green) A stone of loyalty, dream healing, emotional maturity and protection. It is cleansing and helps us attune to the spirit realm, while grounding us in the world. Chakra: Heart

Moldavite: (Green) Moldavite works on our higher chakras. It facilitates strong, clear interdimensional connectedness between our consciousness and higher planes of light. It provides us with the image of eternity and the vision and energy to translate the image into reality.

Moonstone: (White/cream/taupe) Promotes good fortune, nurturing, mothering, humanitarian love, hope and spiritual insight. Believed to ease child birth and protect those who travel on water. Chakra: Third eye

Obsidian: (Black) A stone dedicated to change, transformation, purification, fulfillment, inner growth and introspection. It encourages us to face our faults in order to correct them Chakra: Root

Onyx: (Grey, black, brown) A stone of stability and groundedness. It increases vigor, strength and stamina. It creates permanence and consistency during life's ups and downs. Chakra: Root

Opal: (Milky earth tones) Amplifies ones traits and characteristics. Helps us recognize our creativity, providing inspiration and imagination. Strengthens memory and instills faithfulness and loyalty. Has been used to awaken psychic and mystical qualities. Chakra: Third Eye

Peridot: (Pale green) A stone of inspiration, purification, growth, intuition, healing, renewal and rebirth. It is soothing to the nerves and alleviating anger. It's wonderful for stress reduction and relaxation. Chakra: Heart.

Pyrite: (Gold) Intellectually stimulating and thought to increase mental abilities and stabilize the mind. Links the left and right brain to facilitate communication between logic and emotions, analysis and creativity. Promotes memory, psychic abilities, optimism and strength of will. Pyrite unleashes our particular gifts and allows them to flow. It shields from negative energy. Chakra: Solar Plexus

Rose Quartz: (Pink) The stone of love in all forms, self love, mother love, caring, kindness, platonic, romantic, and unconditional love. It is said to bring financial success into our lives,. Chakra: Heart

Rutilated Quartz: (Clear to brown) Helps us connect to the root of our problems, hence providing the reason for disease or discomfort so we may fix the situation.

Seraphinite: (Deep green with silvery iridescent markings) It is said that this is the most effective stone for cellular regeneration and can cause a flush of pure healing energy. It acts as a trigger, causing old patterns of disease or imbalance to all away and new patterns to be created. It is the premier healing stone of this age. It is the tool most suited to bringing the physical body into line with the Light energy. While the beautiful green shade is perfect for the heart chakra, it can be used on any chakra or any other part of the body where enhance and harmonized energies are desired.

Sodalite: (Dark and light blue with white marbling) Has the power to enhance logic, intelligence and emotional balance. It influences clear thinking, comprehension and perception. It facilitates knowledge and learning, intuition, truth and higher consciousness. Chakra: Third Eye

Sugelite/Royal Azel: (Opaque, purple with dark indigo or magenta shadings) Helps to gain higher awareness of one's spiritual essence by opening the third eye and stimulating a mental understanding of our connection to the Universal and our purpose. Promotes inner strength and grace. It activates and balances the brain hemispheres. Strengthens the heart and aids in the physical healing and purification of bodily functions. Sugilite can reduce stress and turn higher spiritual awareness into physical reality. Strengthens spirituality, channelling and psychic ability. Works with the crown and third eye chakras.

Tanzanite:(Violet/Blue) Tanzanite A calming stone which is ideal for use when your life becomes extremely busy, disorganized or chaotic. Tanzanite can help to bring your life back into balance. One of the most powerful stones used for helping to connect the throat, third eye and crown chakras.

Tiger's Eye: (Gold and brown) Enhances protection, clear thinking, personal empowerment, integrity, will power, courage, strength and grace. Balances male and female energies.Chakra: Solar Plexus and Root

Tourmaline: (Colourless,watermelon,black,blue,green,red) Regulates blood pressure, strengthens nervous system, immune system and heart muscle (green). (Black) It protects against high radiation and strengthens the nervous system. (Blue) Combats water-retention, promotes detoxification of the body, strengthens the immune system and reduces throat and bronchial infections. (Watermelon) Alleviates pain, strengthens the immune system and protects the nerve cells

Turquoise: Linked with protection, balance and strength. Also energy, wisdom, serenity and friendship. Gently urges us to become one with all life and the universe. Chakra: Throat



Ten Healing Crystals for Children. Excerpt from: A Guide to Gem and Crystal Therapy

by Karen Ryan Crystal Energy Therapist


Crystals are truly gifts from the Earth. Children seem to have a natural attraction to pick them up and fully explore any kind of stone or crystal. They will often use all their senses, seeing what the crystal looks like, feeling the texture with their fingertips, or even rubbing the crystal against other parts of their body. They are curious to know what it sounds like when the crystal drops on the ground or plops into water, what it smells like and tastes like.

Some children use their psychic senses, telling what the crystal is saying to them; or they will mysteriously use the crystal for healing without any instructions. Children can respond very quickly to the healing energy of crystals. However, please consult the best available qualified medical help on the care of your children and use your common sense in regards to your children's health and wellness.

Take your children to a rock shop, gem and mineral show, museums as well as to areas of high mineral content (check a geological survey map) such as quarries, caves and mines. Let your children pick crystals for themselves. Often they will select a crystal that is helpful to their healing process. One four-year-old girl I met selected an Apache Tear, used for the grieving process. The little girl, clutching it in her hand, remarked, "Oh, I want to wear this all the time!" I asked the mother if there had been a death in the family recently. Astonished, she replied, "I just lost my brother four weeks ago, but we didn't tell her". The girl was obviously sensitive to the family's sorrow and needed some protection from the feelings of others around her.

I have listed some crystals to help in your child's healing. Let your child carry the crystal in his or her pocket, or place 1 or 2 in a small medicine bag around the neck. Let your child even sleep with his or her special crystal. Crystals often get lost or misplaced by children, so you might want to have a few extras on hand.



A "Master Healing Crystal". Amethyst's most noted healing quality is its ability to purify and transmute all forms of negativity. For children "in transition", whether it be a growth spurt, a major disappointment such as failing a grade, or even hearing the devastating news of divorce or death, Amethyst accepts all negative emotions and provides comfort through spiritual acceptance. For children with various disabilities or with either physical or emotional pain, an Amethyst cluster in the room will help clear unwanted discharged energies, bringing the room back into a balanced state. For local pain, hold an Amethyst directly on or over the area for up to 20 minutes.

Apache Tear

The "Grief Stone". Apache Tear is actually Obsidian and is very dark but transparent. When you hold a small piece up to the light you can see through it. However, if you have been using the Apache Tear to absorb negative emotions, you will see it cloud up and become opaque. Sometimes it will clear up after the grieving is over.


The "Leadership Stone". Aventurine strengthens and restores the Heart energy, providing a balance of male and female energies. This crystal is green and very loving, embracing, and protective of the Heart. Many children who are shy, timid, or suppressing their leadership qualities need a crystal like Aventurine. This stone helps the individual to become active and to initiate action on their own accord. Asthmatic children seem attracted to this stone as it opens up the lungs and they experience a sense of relief.


A "Self-Esteem Crystal". Carnelian is used to help restore feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. The deep orange colors relate well to strengthening and blending the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd chakras, promoting self-security and self-love. The pinker shades relate to enhancing love between child and parent, through self-acceptance. This crystal is also used for dermatological ailments such as acne, by holding the stone over the skin and moving it in circles for several minutes, several times a day.

Clear Quartz

The "Healing Crystal". Clear Quartz is a general all-purpose healing crystal. Each Quartz crystal has its own energy signature and healing mission. When a child makes contact with the right crystal, the energy is discharged either very slowly, or quite suddenly so it feels like a very mild electric shock. This natural energy can be just enough to transform a disharmonious thought pattern, burn off some negative emotional state, or even place the spiritual seeds of one's future into consciousness. Using a cluster of Clear Quartz crystals for children is particularly nice, as so many different types of crystals (record-keepers, transmitters, channelers, etc.) are included. There's a crystal for any occasion! Crystal clusters are also helpful to organize scattered thoughts and to deflect negative energies.

Rose Quartz

"The Love Stone". Rose Quartz is another terrific general healing crystal for children especially for those who have a lot of hurt feelings or aggressive tendencies. Rose Quartz can soothe a broken heart shattered by seeing raw Reality - the ways things are, rather than the way one wants them to be. For hyperactive children Rose Quartz soothes erratic emotional states, anxiety, fear, compulsions, and many other mental disorders. Some neurological benefits have also been noticed with muscle spasms relaxing when Rose Quartz is guided over the nerve centres. For young hearts, Rose Quartz helps to keep the Heart chakra open, vital and protected, filtering in good energies and keeping out the bad.

Lapis Lazuli

A "Psychic Balance Stone". Lapis Lazuli is an incredible stabilizer for children who show psychic gifts early in life. The deep blue color stimulates expansion of consciousness in a supportive way, promoting purification and clarity of spiritual insight. Lapis Lazuli provides self-acceptance of one's given gifts and encourages openness of one's spiritual awareness. This stone is highly prized for its protective powers and stimulation of all psychic senses.


A "Soother of Emotions Stone". Jade is easily obtained and can be openly worn by children as regular "jewelry". Emotionally sensitive children often need a supportive system to ensure that their feelings do not overwhelm them. Jade enhances confidence, self-assurance, and self-reliance. Jade is very inspirational in helping one achieve one's desires in life. This stone is often available from a Chinese goods merchant and is often sold in the shape of thin coins.

Tiger Eye

A "Grounding Stone". Tiger Eye has thin rutile inclusions, and when rocked back and forth the light reflects in a certain way as if the tiger's eye were winking at you! Let your children explore this fascinating stone and help them find the flashing Tiger's Eye. This stone is excellent for grounding psychic energy and providing security for opening up the psychic centers. Sometimes children get carried away and get lost in their dream world. Tiger Eye helps to pull them back into their bodies (after astral travel). This stone is very useful to put action to one's thoughts. Tiger's Eye is about being practical. Perhaps every parent needs one for their child before trips to the shopping mall.


A "Protection Stone". Iron Pyrite comes in many different shapes, from sun discs to cubes. Children are attracted to its shiny brassy surfaces. Pyrite is like a small mirror; negative energy is reflected away. The terror of being unprotected is reduced. There is also a feeling of physical empowerment, that life in the physical form is perfect, and love is abundant.




More Crystal Properties:

Pacifies, soothes, harmonizes. Balances energies, especially male/female. Helps one attune to spiritual dimension, especially distant past. Amazonite acts to soothe and pacify the emotions, calm the nerves and eliminates aggravation and negative energies. It soothes all the chakras and rejuvenates the heart  & throat chakras.  Stabilizes central nervous system.  Enhances communication, memory and brain functions.  General health maintenance, helps resist tooth decay, osteoporosis & dispels muscle spasms.

Highly calming and stabilizing.  Promotes aura healing, energy balance and cleansing.  Helps manifest desired state of reality.  Stimulates intellect & opens the crown chakra.  Protects against psychic and negative attacks.  Protective shield.  Can improve the functions of the brain and nervous system, release anxiety & increase clarity of mind.  Detoxify & alleviate depression.  Purify body, mind & spirit.  Treatment of goiters and throat diseases as well as kidneys & bladder.  Used as symbol of renewal of marriage vows and to keep promises.

Opens consciousness, especially for empaths.  Promotes spirituality & contentment. Aids spiritual insight & intellectual reasoning.  Introduces guides and angels.  Aids in mediation, helps insomnia, headaches, and alcohol recovery.  Treats disorders of hearing, nervous system, digestion tract, heart, stomach, skin and teeth.  Eases stress.  Calmness & Clarity integrates and balances all systems of the body.

Stimulating & motivating.  Forces your focus onto the physical plane and minimizes psychic perceptions and distractions.  Cleanses the blood.  Encourages living and moving forward on your life path and helps prevent distractions.  Aids in earth plane achievements.  Encourages balance of energy.

Promotes responsible sexuality.  Aids creativity.  Raises moods.  Stimulates, balances and heals women’s reproductive system.  Aids non-inflammatory arthritis.  Stimulates analytical capabilities & precision and protects against envy, fear, rage & sorrow.  Dispels apathy, indolence & passivity.

Promotes responsible sexuality.  Aids creativity.  Raises moods.  Stimulates, balances and heals women’s reproductive system.  Aids non-inflammatory arthritis.  Stimulates analytical capabilities & precision and protects against envy, fear, rage & sorrow.  Dispels apathy, indolence & passivity.

Detoxifies and cleanses.  Regenerates tissue.  Clears, expands and aligns the aura.  Stimulates intellect and mental activity.  Aids urinary and kidney problems.  Balance digestive & nervous systems.  Energizes the sacral chakra and gentle grounding effect.  Dissipates negative energy.  Works out problems.  Does not absorb energies.

Green Aventurine (Africa)
Opens your heart to others and increases trust in life, self-confidence & and optimistic outlook on life.  Improves eyesight.  Fosters light heartedness.  Cleanses the heart chakra of fear, soothes physical and emotional heart pain.  Heals heart dis-eases, infections.  Used to treat disorders of lungs, heart, adrenal glands & muscular & urogenital systems. Brings about adventures in love and travel.

Grounds and stabilizes.  Brings to a steady focused state.  Heals anger and rage.  Fosters peace.  Helps you to face and heal your dark side.  Helps prevent bleeding.  Strengthening influence on the physical body – especially blood, body temperature & circulatory system.  If fully balanced – can provide access to spirit travel and astral worlds.  Assists with Math pursuits & development of mental and manual dexterity.

Jade (Canada)
Healing stone. Dream Stone.  Opens qualities of mercy, compassion, inspires awareness & oneness of all.  Frees from anger, selfishness, & greed.  Encourages service to others.  Helps encourage you on your path to enlightenment.  Heals hips, kidneys, heart & spleen.  Increases ambitions & goals & assists with accomplishing objectives.

Connects the emotional & mental bodies to your life purpose & physical action.  Protects & clears the aura of negative energy, & psychic attacks.  Open eye/vision charkas.  Aids the ability to see & communicate positively with others. Fosters consciousness of life purpose.  Instigates rapid frequency shifts to remove blockages & establish new patterns.  Excellent for energy protection, preventing negativity from attaching to you and prevents energy drains.

Rainbow Fluorite
Brings together  mental body/mind changes.  Helps bring spiritual information to the mind.  Opens channels for clearer communication with animals and others.  Physical coordination, dexterity, balance & learning skills.  Helps maintain skeletal system.

Aids grounding.  Stabilizes.  Enhances security & safety. Calms confusion & over-activity.  Encourages Earth awareness & responsibility.  Helps understanding of Mother Earth and your place on the planet.  Heals fear, depression, addictions, and obsessions.  Good for meditation.  Used to further business & increase profits.

Rose Quartz
Stone of gentle love.  Promotes heart healing through positive self-love, self-esteem, and self-image.  Aids the emotional body.  Fosters acceptance, inner peace, forgiveness, and self-forgiveness.  Eases fear, stress & trauma.  Soothes grief.  Reduces aggravating & aggressive conditions.

Smokey Quartz
Aids grounding.  Stabilizes.  Enhances security & safety. Calms confusion & over-activity.  Encourages Earth awareness & responsibility.  Helps understanding of Mother Earth and your place on the planet.  Heals fear, depression, addictions, and obsessions.  Good for meditation.  Used to further business & increase profits.

Snowflake Obsidian

Aids grounding.  Stabilizes.  Enhances security & safety. Calms confusion & over-activity.  Encourages Earth awareness & responsibility.  Helps understanding of Mother Earth and your place on the planet.  Heals fear, depression, addictions, and obsessions.  Good for meditation.  Used to further business & increase profits.

Balances the pituitary gland and third eye.  Heals the lymphatic and glandular systems, nerve endings, vision nerves, & body fluids.  Encourages beginning psychic vision.  Aids in letting go of control and trusting in the creator.  Soothes and heals the central nervous system.  Deep level of peace.

Tiger Eye has the energies of the Sun and the Earth.  It produces soothing vibrations. Can be used in the treatment of the eye and the throat, strengthen spinal column and mending broken bones. Can aid in night vision, and communications.

Tiger Eye – Gold 

Makes one invisible to negative energy.  Protects against psychic attacks.  Returns negative energy to sender.  Clears negative energy from the solar plexus.  Protects travelers and autos from accidents.  Aids in seeing evil.  Aids physical vision, throat disorders & reproductive system. 

Clears diaphragm chakra of toxic emotions and old pain.  Releases anger & resentment and vengeance to conscious awareness for clearing.  Forces changes of negativity through awareness.  Helps you realize the oneness of all life.  Used in treatment of the reproduction system & stimulates healthy pregnancies & healthy babies.




A Brief History of Crystal Healing

It is fair to say that as long as we have existed as a species, we have had an affinity with stones and crystals. The use of talismans and amulets dates back to the beginnings of humankind, although we have no way of knowing how the earliest of these objects were viewed or used. Many early pieces were organic in origin. Beads carved of mammoth ivory were excavated from a grave in Sungir, Russia, dating back 25,000 years (Upper Palaeolithic period), and there are contemporary beads made from shell and fossil shark's teeth.

The oldest amulets are of Baltic amber, some from as long as 30,000 years ago, and amber beads were discovered in Britain from 10,000 years ago, the end of the last ice age. The distance they travelled to reach Britain shows their value to the people of that time. Jet was also popular, and jet beads, bracelets and necklaces have been discovered in Palaeolithic gravesites in Switzerland and Belgium. There have been malachite mines in Sinai since 4000 BC.

The first historical references to the use of crystals come from ancient Sumaria, where they were included in magic formulas. The ancient Egyptians used lapis lazuli, turquoise, carnelian, emerald and clear quartz in their jewellery, and carved grave amulets of the same gems. Stones were used for protection and health. Chrysolite (later translated as both topaz and peridot) was used to combat night terrors and purge evil spirits. Egyptians also used crystals cosmetically. Galena (lead ore) was ground to a powder and used as the eye shadow known as khol. Malachite was used in a similar manner. Green stones in general were used to signify the heart of the deceased, and were included in burials. Green stones were used in a similar way at a later period in ancient Mexico.

The ancient Greeks attributed a number of properties to crystals, and many names we use today are of Greek origin. The word 'crystal' comes from the Greek word for ice, as it was believed that clear quartz was water that had frozen so deeply it would always remain solid. Amethyst means 'not drunken', and was worn as an amulet to prevent drunkenness. Hematite comes from the word for blood, because of the red colouration produced when it oxidises. Hematite is an iron ore, and the ancient Greeks associated iron with Mars, the god of war. Greek soldiers would rub hematite over their bodies before battle, probably to make themselves invulnerable. Greek sailors wore a variety of amulets to keep them safe at sea.

Jade was highly valued in ancient China, and some Chinese written characters represent jade beads. Musical instruments in the form of chimes were made from jade, and around 1000 years ago emperors were sometimes buried in jade armour. There are burials with jade masks from around the same period in Mexico. Jade was recognised as a kidney healing stone both in China and South America. More recently, dating from around 250 years ago, the Maoris of New Zealand wore jade pendants representing the ancestor spirits, which were passed down many generations through the male line. The practise of wearing 'green stone' pendants carries on there today.

Crystals and gemstones have played a part in all religions. They are mentioned throughout the Bible, and in the Koran. The origin of the stones we attribute to various birth signs is the breastplate of Aaron, or high priest's breastplate, mentioned in the book of Exodus. In the Koran, the 4th Heaven is composed of carbuncle (garnet). The Kalpa Tree, which represents an offering to the gods in Hinduism, is said to be made entirely of precious stone, and a Buddhist text from the 7th century describes a diamond throne, situated near the Tree of Knowledge (the neem tree under which Sidhartha meditated). On this throne a thousand Kalpa Buddhas reposed. The Kalpa Sutra, in Jainism, speaks of Harinegamesi, the divine commander of the foot troops, who seized 14 precious stones, cleansed them of their lesser qualities, and retained only their finest essence to aid his transformations.

There is an ancient sacred lapidary treatise, the Ratnapariksha of Buddhabhatta. Some sources state that it is Hindu, but it is most likely Buddhist. The date is uncertain, but it is probably from the 6th Century. In this treatise, diamonds figure highly, as the king of gemstones, and are ranked according to caste. The Sanskrit word for diamond, vajra, is also the word for the Hindu goddess Indra's thunderbolt, and diamonds are often associated with thunder. The ruby was also highly revered. It represented an inextinguishable flame, and was purported to preserve both the physical and mental health of the wearer. The treatise lists many other gemstones and their properties.

In Burma, stones, especially rubies, were inserted into the flesh to become part of the wearer's body, in the belief it would make them invulnerable.

Amulets were banned by the Christian church in 355 AD, but gemstones continued to play an important role, with sapphire being the favoured gem for ecclesiastical rings in the 12th century. Marbodus, the Bishop of Rennes in the 11th century, claimed that agate would make the wearer more agreeable, persuasive, and in favour of God. There were also many symbolic references, such as the carbuncle representing Christ's sacrifice.

In Europe, from the 11th century through the Renaissance, a number of medical treatises appeared, extolling the virtues of precious and semi-precious stones in the treatment of certain ailments, alongside mainly herbal remedies. Authors included Hildegard von Bingen, Arnoldus Saxo, and John Mandeville. There are also references to stones with particular qualities of strength or protection. In 1232 Hubert de Burgh, the chief justicular of Henry III, was accused of stealing a gem from the king's treasury which would make the wearer invincible, and giving it to Llewellyn, the King of Wales and Henry's enemy. It was also believed that gemstones were corrupted by the original sins of Adam, could possibly be inhabited by demons, or if handled by a sinner, their virtues would depart. Therefore, they should be sanctified and consecrated before wearing. There is an echo of this belief today in the cleansing and programming of crystals before use in crystal healing.

During the Renaissance the tradition of using precious stones in healing was still accepted, but the enquiring minds of the period sought to find out how this worked, and give it a more scientific explanation.

In 1609 Anselmus de Boot, court physician to Rudolf II of Germany, suggested that any virtue a gemstone has is due to the presence of good or bad angels. The good angels would confer a special grace to the gems, but the bad angels would tempt people into believing in the stone itself, and not in God's gifts bestowed on it. He goes on to name certain stones as helpful, and put other's qualities down simply to superstition. Later in the same century, Thomas Nicols expressed in his 'Faithful Lapidary' that gems, as inanimate objects, could not possess the effects claimed in the past. Thus, in the Age of Enlightenment, the use of precious stones for healing and protection began to fall from favour in Europe.

In the early part of the 19th century, a number of interesting experiments were conducted to demonstrate the effects of stones on subjects who believed themselves to be clairvoyant. In one case, the subject claimed to feel not only physical and emotional changes when touched with various stones, but also to experience smells and tastes.

Although no longer in use medicinally, gemstones continued to hold meaning. Until recently, jet was popularly worn by those in mourning, and garnet was often worn in times of war. There is a tradition in a local family here in southwest England: every female descendent wears an antique moonstone necklace for her wedding, which has been in the family for generations. It was only recently that one family member realised this was a fertility symbol.

Many tribal cultures have continued the use of gemstones in healing until very recently, if not through to the present day. The Zuni tribe in New Mexico make stone fetishes, which represent animal spirits. These were ceremonially 'fed' on powdered turquoise and ground maize. Beautiful inlaid fetishes are still made to sell, and are very collectable artefacts or sculptures, although the spiritual practise surrounding them is no longer much in use. Other Native American tribes still hold precious stones, especially turquoise, sacred. Both Aborigines and Maoris have traditions regarding stones and healing or spiritual practise, some of which they share with the rest of the world, while some knowledge still kept private within their communities.

It is interesting to note that there are many examples of gemstones meaning similar things to different cultures, even when there has been absolutely no interaction between these cultures, and no opportunity for crossover. Jade was considered to be a kidney healing stone by the ancient Chinese, and also Aztec and Mayan civilisations, turquoise has been worn to give strength and health all over the world, and jaspers have almost always conferred both strength and calm.

In the 1980s, with the advent of the New Age culture, the use of crystals and gemstones began to re-emerge as a healing method. Much of the practise was drawn from old traditions, with more information gained by experimentation and channelling. Books by Katrina Rafaell in the 80s, and Melody and Michael Gienger in the 90s, helped to popularise the use of crystals.

These days there are a large number of books available on the subject, and crystals frequently feature in magazine and newspaper articles. Crystal therapy crosses the boundaries of religious and spiritual beliefs. It is no longer viewed as the domain of alternative culture, but as an acceptable and more mainstream complimentary therapy, and many colleges now offer it as a qualification subject.

©Janelle Scialla
May 2007