How Our Fascination with Crystals and Stones Have Affected Our Lives and Health
By Contributing Author, Ainsley Lawrence
With their captivating beauty, stones and crystals have seized the imagination of humanity almost since the dawn of civilization. Our ancestors were awestruck by the enigmatic way in which crystals form, as well as their ability to refract light. Crystals were used as healing tools by the ancient Egyptians and were held in such high esteem in medieval times that crystals were immortalized in various poems from the era.
From quartz crystal to geodes and even meteorites, stones and minerals continue to captivate the imagination of open-minded people across the world to this day. Rock hunting has become a fashionable pastime, and various forms of alternative medicine, including crystal healing, are as popular as ever. Yet, to many individuals within the modern scientific community, crystals appear to have little to no healing or magical properties.
Fortunately, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest otherwise, in more ways than one, and healing is just the beginning when it comes to the mystical (and practical) properties of crystals. Although geologists may scoff at the notion of rock-based healing, few can deny that crystals have enjoyed a lengthy and complex relationship with humans over millennia. Let’s explore the ways in which stones and crystals continue to fascinate humanity.
Humanity’s Fascination with Crystals
The modern applications of crystals are myriad, ranging from aesthetic to esoteric. Crystals are a popular medium in art, for example, and have been since ancient times. Often, particular stones have a particular significance depending on one’s cultural background.
The ancient Chinese, for example, highly valued green jade, which they believed to symbolize health and purity. In ancient Egypt, quartz was considered an energy source, one that could be harnessed by healers, priests, and pharaohs. Mesoamerica’s legendary 13 crystal skulls, among the most mysterious ancient artifacts in the world, were carved from quartz.
Interestingly, our ancestors weren’t that far off. Today, we understand that quartz crystal does indeed generate a small electrical current. One of the world’s most common crystal types, quartz is essentially a tiny battery, at least in the right conditions. The reaction is commonly known as piezoelectricity, and it is what powers certain types of watches and small electronic devices.
As if generating electricity wasn’t enough, the amazing crystal has even more up its sleeve. Quartz crystal is so prolific that it can form in numerous conditions, including inside rocks. Geodes, in fact, are just that — hollow rocks lined with a layer of crystals. Geodes form over thousands and millions of years, and agate typically grows alongside quartz during the process. Found around the world, geodes are most prevalent in Brazil, Australia, and the U.S.
Crystals and Alternative Medicine
Whether in geode or pure crystal form, quartz plays a prominent role in the realm of alternative medicine. The technique known as crystal healing uses various stones, especially quartz crystal, to encourage the flow of positive energy while simultaneously ridding one’s body of negative energy. Crystal healing is said to have both physical and emotional benefits.
While it may appear akin to new age mumbo-jumbo, the concept of crystal healing spans the globe. Like other forms of complementary and alternative medicine, including hypnotherapy, massage therapy, and energy therapy, crystal healing offers a potential solution for people from all walks of life, for whom conventional treatment methods didn’t provide satisfactory results.
Alternative medicine is increasingly used in modern times, where the cost of traditional healthcare can be prohibitive. And it’s becoming increasingly accepted as well. To some forward-thinking members of the medical community, to refer to any form of beneficial therapy as “alternative” is misleading. From that point of view, any form of treatment that works is good medicine, even if it involves the use of crystals and healing stones.
Rockhounds on the Hunt
Of course, humanity’s interest in stones is multifaceted and spans well beyond the realms of medicine and healing. For every crystal healing enthusiast, for example, there’s an amateur geologist or rockhound who simply loves crystals and stones for their own sake. It’s not hard to imagine that ancient stone craftsmen held a similar sentiment.
But where the stone carvers and collectors of the past had only rudimentary tools at their disposal, nearly endless options exist for modern rockhounds. When on the hunt for terrestrial-based stones, amateur geologists may bring along various hand tools like a pick hammer and brushes. Rockhounds looking towards the stars, however, may also choose to pack a metal detector, as they hunt for meteorites.
Across the world, countless meteorites remain undiscovered, and they provide a rare treat for rock collectors. Magnetic meteorites containing iron-nickel metal are some of the easiest to identify, especially with a metal detector in hand. Meteorites can also be identified by surface impressions resembling thumbprints, and by their higher density compared to terrestrial rocks.
Looking to the Future of Crystals and Stones
In modern times, stones and crystals can be seen everywhere, from alternative healing centers to the decorative facades of five-star hotels. And whether you’re a seasoned rockhound or just starting out in the exciting world of stones and crystals, you’re part of a rich legacy that spans history.
Now and into the future, stones and crystals will continue to bring a sense of balance and purpose to our lives, no matter if we collect rocks as a fulfilling hobby or harness the healing properties of quartz.