There’s so much to consider when choosing crystals and gems for the purposes of healing. That’s why I’ve put together the Best Buyer’s Guide to Crystal Healing Stones. (As always, allow me to mention that any form of complementary healing should not be used in place of conventional medical treatment. Click here for disclaimer.)
In this article you will find useful pointers and considerations for choosing the right stones for you and there’s some really in-depth information on the properties and characteristics of some of the most popular healing crystals. I will also give you details of additional resources for study should you wish to take your knowledge to the next level.
But first, a little definition is in order…
Crystals, Minerals and Gemstones
There’s an amount of confusion over what counts as a crystal – are crystals and minerals the same? And what about gemstones or healing stones – what are they? Do they all do the same job?
Without getting too bogged down with the nitty gritty, I’ll explain the differences between crystals, minerals and gemstones in simple terms. Have a read of the following passages so if you do need answers to the questions above, you will know what you’re talking about if challenged by the diehards!
But please note that the focus of this article is to help you decide which healing stones are right for you – without stressing over definitions. As far as I’m concerned it’s O.K. to use the above terms interchangeably – as most do – for the sake of simplicity as you progress on your healing journey.
What is a crystal?
A crystal is solid. It’s made up of atoms, ions or molecules which form a pattern, repeating from all angles. Some well-known examples of healing crystals are quartz, obsidian and turquoise, although there are literally thousands of different ones out there. Others include sugar, salt and snowflakes, but these are not used in crystal healing.
Crystals can be natural or synthetic. When choosing crystals you need to ask yourself which type is best for you personally. Are you more inclined to choose natural crystals which have been formed in the earth’s crust over millennia and therefore hold the earth’s energy?
Or are you happy to go with synthetic crystals which are man-made in a laboratory. These surely hold a different energy – arguably not so effective for healing – but have less impact on the environment as they are not mined and do not raise the issue of sustainability.
So, the choice is yours. It’s a tough one so think it through and make the right decision for you. A good retailer should be able to tell you what you need to know about your crystals e.g. if they were lab-made or from where in the world they came.
What is a mineral?
Most minerals are inorganic which means they do not come from a living thing. They are all produced naturally and can occur as a result of high temperatures and extreme pressure within the earth. They can also form when substances are dissolved in water; over time as the water evaporates, minerals are left remaining.
All minerals are solid and have geometric, repeating patterns. In simple terms, this means that all minerals are classified as crystals as they have a crystalline structure. However, not all minerals are referred to as crystals, for example gold and silver. Although they are believed to have healing properties, these precious metals are not usually used in crystal healing.
Some examples of minerals used for healing are selenite, moonstone and tourmaline. (Note, these are also crystals.)
What is a gemstone?
These are split into 2 groups – precious and semi-precious. This classification came into place in the middle of the 19th century and it’s argued that it was only introduced as a sales ploy to make certain stones more appealing than others. The debate goes on.
Generally diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds are classified as precious stones; all others are considered semi-precious. When uncut, the gemstones resemble ordinary stones or rocks. However, when cut and polished they become the sparkling beauties we know and love, used in healing and for the creation of jewellery and adornment.
Some gemstones belong in the crystal and mineral categories due to their crystalline structure. These include emerald, garnet and ruby. Others are neither crystal nor mineral. These include amber (formed from solidified tree resin) and jet (composed of fossilised wood.) However, these are regularly used in crystal healing and are widely recognised for their healing properties.
Choosing the right stones for you
So now you have an understanding of crystals, minerals and gemstones, how do you choose the right ones for you? Here are some other considerations for you to think about before parting with your hard-earned cash.
What do you want them for?
Are you new to crystal healing and looking to build a basic collection with a wide variety of healing properties? If so, you’ve come to the right place! In the next section we’ll be looking at a handful of different types of quartz. This is an excellent place to start for beginners.
Or are you looking to expand your existing healing kit? If so, you’ve probably got a good idea of what crystals are next on the wish list. In separate posts we will be looking at other types of healing stones from different crystal families such as agate, jasper (both of which are types of quartz) beryl, jade, calcite and more.
Will you be using your healing stones for general purposes such as grounding / balancing / cleansing? Or are there more specific areas you will be working on? These might include :
- physical (e.g. pain relief, digestion problems)
- mental (e.g. concentration, memory)
- emotional (e.g. past trauma, relationship issues)
- spiritual (e.g. enlightenment, spiritual blocks)
- environmental (e.g. clearing negative energy, geopathic stress)
- manifestation (e.g. abundance, love)
By knowing about the characteristics and properties of crystals you will be in a good position to choose the right ones for your needs.
How to use crystals for healing
If you’re new to crystal healing see my Beginner’s Guide to Healing With Crystals. Here you can find out about cleansing and charging your crystals. This is extremely important as most crystals absorb energy so you will need to clear that energy and charge your stones before using them.
There are different ways to do this; popular methods include immersing in water or charging in direct sunlight. However, there are some crystals that should be kept dry as contact with water may change their appearance, or cause toxins to be released. These include – but are not limited to – hematite, pyrite, selenite, malachite and tangerine quartz.
Some crystals may fade or become brittle after prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. These include amethyst, citrine, calcite and aquamarine. Again, the list goes on, so make sure you know your crystals and where appropriate either limit exposure to short periods, charge in indirect sunlight or use a different method such as moonlight or smudging.
*I will let you know what precautionary measures you should take in order to look after your crystals as they are featured. (If you’re buying crystals that I haven’t featured, please carry out your own research to avoid disappointment.) It’s also wise not to expose your crystals to extreme temperatures – hot or cold – as this may also alter their appearance.
**Whilst we’re on the subject of precautionary measures, you will no doubt come across the “Moh’s scale” as you learn more about crystals. This is a scale of mineral hardness ranging from 1 to 10. (1 being the softest e.g. talc, and 10 being the hardest e.g. diamond.) Please do NOT use this as a guide to whether crystals can be used in water – it’s not a scale of dissolvability.
Also in my Beginner’s Guide there are some basic methods for using your crystals. (Wearing, using in the bath and placing around the home.) I will be covering other methods in separate articles such as crystal layouts, essences and meditations. With the latter, using particular combinations of crystals can enhance their healing benefits, so as you progress, this should also be a consideration when adding to your collection.
If you haven’t already done so, it would be really useful to gain even a basic understanding of the chakras and the aura as these are very closely associated with most branches of complementary therapy. Crystal healing is no exception. Colour therapy basics would also be a bonus.
If you’re totally NOT into the scientific side of crystal therapy, bear with me. I’ll keep this part as brief as possible. (If you totally ARE into the scientific side, see “Additional Resources” towards the end of the article.)
The formation or structure of a crystal directly impacts its energetic vibration, therefore determining how it will affect our own frequency. There are 7 classifications of crystal structures, or lattices as they are known. These are listed below with their predominant characteristics :
- Cubic. Also known as isometric – (use these crystals for their grounding properties)
- Hexagonal – (good for personal achievement)
- Monoclinic – (for stability and balance)
- Orthorhombic – (for neurological disorders)
- Tetragonal – (for spiritual development)
- Triclinic – (for new beginnings)
- Trigonal – (for pragmatism and practicality.)
By knowing the basic structure of your crystals, you will be better able to make your own crystal pairings. As a rule of thumb, crystals with the same structure work well together, as do those with the same colour, or those from the same family, for example quartz or calcite. (Note – some “unrelated” crystals also work well together.)
By considering these points, making the choice out of the thousands of healing stones that are out there becomes that much easier. Below are my top recommendations for one of the most abundant minerals found on this earth – quartz.
There are only a handful of types listed to begin with, but these crystals are so diverse – read on and prepare to be amazed at their wide range of benefits to health and wellbeing!
What Quartz Crystals Can Be Used For…
As I mentioned, quartz is one of the most abundant natural minerals found within the earth’s crust. It can also be made synthetically. Both of these factors mean that generally speaking you can procure quartz crystals without breaking the bank, although some types of quartz are rare. Here are 5 to get you started :
CLEAR QUARTZ – the master healing crystal
This is also known as rock crystal or pure quartz. It is colourless and may be translucent or completely transparent. It is acknowledged by many healers to be the master healing crystal, not only for its innumerous uses, but also for its ability to amplify the healing properties of other crystals.
The word crystal comes from the Greek word krustallos, meaning ice. It was first used to describe clear quartz – because it was so clear and pure, the Greek’s believed it to be ice frozen so solid that it would never melt.
Clear quartz strongly connects us to the earth, and also helps to bring us closer to the spirit world. So as well as being used for it’s grounding properties, it can also help us along the path of spiritual enlightenment and awakening. It can be used as a way to bridge the gap between our physical selves and our higher consciousness, assisting communication and understanding between this plane and others.
A main player in chakra healing, clear quartz can be used for any individual chakra, or for overall major chakra alignment. It is also particularly useful for strengthening our connection with all that is through the crown chakra. This chakra is also associated with self-knowledge, self-awareness and self-development.
An unhealthy crown chakra can result in a number of physical ailments if left untreated. These include problems with the immune, circulatory and digestive systems. Also migraines, headaches, bladder and kidney problems. Clear quartz can be used for all of these health problems, as well as for assisting detox, weight loss, pain relief and improving energy levels.
By removing negative thoughts and emotions, this beautiful stone can help to restore harmony in relationships, as well as for bringing joy and laughter back into our lives after times of trauma or ongoing unhappiness.
By removing “stuck” energy, clear quartz can help our life force to flow more healthily and freely. This may result in balance throughout all areas of our lives, clearer thinking and a better perception and understanding of what’s going on around us. It can help us to see life’s challenges as the lessons that they are, and give us the strength to work with them, or to forge new beginnings where necessary.
(*Safe to use with water. Can be charged in direct sunlight – be careful to place away from flammable materials on a heat proof surface as intense reflection of the suns rays may cause fire. **7 on the Moh’s scale.)
ROSE QUARTZ – all you need is love!
This stone is predominantly about love, joy and happiness. It can be different shades of pink in colour but sometimes has a peachy hue. Another type of rose quartz is violet and this variation is known as lavender quartz.
Use rose quartz to open up the heart – to attract new relationships or to strengthen existing ones. By removing jealousy, resentment, anger and all manner of negative emotions, it can help us to trust and recover from emotional trauma and heartache. Not surprisingly, this crystal is closely linked with the heart chakra.
This stone can work extremely well on deep-rooted emotional issues. In fact, it’s said to work so well that in order to maintain a sense of balance throughout deep emotional healing, it should be used with grounding stones such as black obsidian, black tourmaline or malachite. Also smoky quartz (see below.)
Rose quartz can open our eyes to the beauty all around us, and can help us to appreciate the beauty within. Use it in times of self-doubt, self-loathing, depression and anxiety. Its calming and comforting properties are excellent for working on self-love and nurturing. They can promote wellbeing in times of grief or general trauma.
Another use for rose quartz is for getting to the root of problems and identifying the real cause of unhappiness. On a physical level, it’s often used for issues relating to the heart and circulatory system. It’s also useful for general detox and can ease skin problems such as irritation and minor burns. Some believe it can delay the ageing process by reducing wrinkles and firming the skin. There’s no proof to these claims, but why not give it a try and see if it works for you?
(*Safe to use with water. Avoid direct sunlight. ** 7 on the Moh’s scale. )
AMETHYST – for moderation, protection and calm
Amethyst can vary from very pale lilac to the most beautiful deep purple colour. Another must for any healing kit, it has been a favourite for adornment and healing from ancient civilisations to the present.
It took it’s name from the Greek word amethystos, meaning sober, and was associated with Dionysus, the god of wine. (Also the god of drunken festivity!) It was worn as jewellery and amulets and sometimes wine was served in amethyst goblets in the hope that a hangover might be avoided following over-indulgence.
It’s interesting that today amethyst is one of the most popular healing stones used for addiction and recovery. By promoting balance, self-control and stability, it can prove beneficial for those wishing to moderate their behaviour and intake of substances such as alcohol or drugs. It’s calming vibrations can help us to find peace in our turbulent minds and lives.
Another great stone for deep-rooted or particularly painful emotional issues, amethyst can also be used to achieve a clearer perspective on events that have caused us severe trauma. It can be used to cleanse us of negative energy we have picked up from people, events or bad experiences.
It can also be used to protect us against threats such as psychic attack and geopathic stress. Psychic attack can happen intentionally or unintentionally, and is a result of lower vibrational energy kind of attaching itself to us and draining our happy reserves – imagine a parasite if you will. The empaths amongst us are more liable to experience this.
Geopathic stress is related to a place or places where we spend a lot of time – mainly the home, but also our working environment for example. The earth has a particular vibrational frequency. Sometimes other factors can alter this frequency – such as underground streams, power cables, electromagnetic pollution – and this can have a negative effect on us when we spend time in these areas. This can impact our health, wealth and relationships.
If you’re in need of protection, this really is a healing stone you shouldn’t be without!
Amethyst is closely related to the third eye chakra and the crown chakra. These energy centres are associated with destructive behaviour patterns, how we deal with past trauma, erratic sleep patterns, issues with the nervous system and more. Amethyst can be used to re-balance these chakras which in turn may also improve symptoms of ill-health such as headaches, migraine, sciatica, high blood pressure and respiratory infections.
(*Safe to use with water. Avoid direct sunlight. ** 7 on the Moh’s scale.)
CITRINE – the merchant’s stone
Citrine is transparent and the natural colour of this type of quartz is light yellow. (However, darker yellow, gold, amber and reddish-brown hues are created when amethyst or smoky quartz are treated at high temperatures.) It takes its name from citron, the French word for lemon.
Also known as the merchant’s stone, citrine is associated with wealth. abundance, commercial success and prosperity. Use it to manifest that which you wish for in these areas, as well as for finding new love. By attracting these things for the greater good, you may maintain material gain and happiness. Remember to live with an attitude of gratitude and to share your success with others in order for the universe to smile favourably upon you!
As with all yellow or gold crystals, citrine is associated with Persephone, the Greek goddess of spring. It represents new life, new beginnings, creativity and imagination. Emitting the warmth and radiance of the sun to fill us with energy and vigour, it’s a popular crystal for motivation, taking action and turning ideas into reality.
Citrine is believed to improve concentration, focus and memory. Some believe it to halt or even reverse degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or osteoporosis.
Citrine is a popular stone for chakra balancing – particularly the sacral and solar plexus chakras. In these areas, energy blockages can manifest as problems with the reproductive system and the digestive system. Use citrine to work on issues such as menopausal health, impotence, food allergies and eating disorders.
Also to increase energy levels, improve relationships, build self-esteem, ease depression and give courage when it’s time to let go and move on. (See new beginnings above.) Use as well for healthy hair, nails and skin.
As a protector, citrine can shield against jealousy, resentment, bitterness and ill-feeling. It’s particularly beneficial for empaths and is great for keeping out heavy energies that might otherwise stick around and bring us down.
You don’t need to worry about charging this crystal as it’s only one of 2 that never need to be charged or cleansed. (The other is kyanite.) This is because they don’t actually hold negative energy. Instead, they neutralise and transform it – a kind of recycling of energy. Sweet!
(*Safe to use with water. Avoid direct sunlight. ** 7 on the Moh’s scale.)
SMOKY QUARTZ – the gentle all-rounder!
Colours range from light grey, to brown, to almost black and while some stones can be semi-transparent others are nearly opaque. You may come across Cairngorm, morion, gwindel and coontail quartz, although these types of smoky quartz are rare. If you do come across these unusual stones, they have the following characteristics :
- Cairngorm – from the Cairngorm Mountains in Scotland. Used to aid decision-making, to protect against negativity and to give your personal power a boost in times of crisis or difficult change
- Morion – as with Cairngorm, used for personal power and protection. Also, to assist with positive thinking and clarity of mind, great for boosting energy and new beginnings
- Gwindel – taking its name from the German word gewunden, meaning winding, due to its unusual twisting formation which grows sideways. This is a great stone for when you need to think outside the box and consider things from an unusual perspective. Also used for new beginnings when in need of spiritual support
- Coontail (or coon tail) – named for its dark and light colouring similar to that of a racoon’s tail, this crystal is from a particular site in American and extremely rare. It’s said to amplify the healing properties of other crystals and can be beneficial for all types of healing.
Smoky quartz is closely linked to the lower 3 main energy centres or chakras. Firstly, the root chakra links us to the earth, grounding us, and is associated with security and survival. Problems here can manifest as health issues in the feet, legs and lower back. Use smoky quartz for dealing with problems in these areas. Also for trust issues, feelings of exclusion and depression.
The sacral chakra is representative of self-identity, sensuality and creativity. Smoky quartz can be used for issues relating to self-esteem, intimacy, libido and the reproductive system. Also issues with the lymphatic, immune and circulatory systems.
The solar plexus chakra represents our personal power. If this chakra is blocked we may find ourselves in unhealthy relationships, we may become victimised or we might over-assert ourselves on others, potentially causing them harm. Smoky quartz can help to regain balance in these areas. Also good for a healthy digestive system, motivation and for over-indulgence.
In addition to these lower chakras, smoky quartz is also associated with the highest or crown chakra. This energy centre provides a link between our physical lives and our higher selves. By using smoky quartz to work on this chakra, we may improve communication between our earthly existence and the greater consciousness, becoming more spiritually aware and enlightened.
As well as the above, smoky quartz can help us to see what’s really going on around us. Useful for gaining a clear perspective plus for developing intuition. It can absorb electromagnetic radiation which is all around us most times as we rely so heavily on electronic gadgets. Finally, use smoky quartz for letting go, moving on, pain relief, concentration, pleasant dreams and for good luck!
So, smoky quartz is a great all-rounder which heals very gently. Because of this, you may want to use it with other crystals should you wish to enhance the healing power for specific or deep-rooted issues – for example, use with citrine for removing spiritual blocks or combine with amethyst for a stronger connection with the spiritual realm.
(*Safe to use with water. Avoid direct sunlight. **7 on the Moh’s scale.)
There’s still so much to cover and this is just the first part of the Best Buyer’s Guide, so be sure to bookmark it and check back every week to keep upto date with all the new info I’ll be including.
In the meantime, should you wish to find out more about crystallography (the study of crystals) there are a number of online courses available, one of which is provided by Open Culture. To view this free course, click here.
The study of minerals is known as mineralogy. To find out more, click here to follow a link to a free mini course by Lumen Learning. What I love about this course is that it goes into great detail but the content is set out in easy to understand chunks. You don’t have to sign up for anything – just read through and take in what’s of interest to you.
The study of gemstones is known as gemology and usually falls under the umbrella of mineralogy. Visit Your Gemologist for the internet’s largest free gemology reference and study site with heaps of information on crystals, minerals and gemstones. This site is especially useful if you are interested in becoming a gemologist.
End of Part 1- to be continued….
As this article draws to a close, I hope you agree it has covered many important aspects of starting or growing your collection of healing stones.
You now know the differences between crystals, minerals and gemstones. (Useful for general understanding or when dealing with the professionals!)
You should hopefully have a clearer idea of what you want to use your crystals for – whether that’s general wellbeing or specific physical, mental, emotional, spiritual or environmental issues.
As well as gaining an understanding of crystal pairings, you are also now aware of precautionary measures you may need to take when buying, using and taking care of your crystals.
PLUS…a fabulous insight into the different characteristics and healing properties of some of the better- (and less-) known types of quartz.
For those of you wishing to learn more about the fascinating world of crystals and minerals, let me know what you think of the additional FREE resources as listed in the previous section. Also, come back soon to see the next part in this crystal healing series. Bookmark this page or email me to be added to our weekly mailing list.
Finally, thanks for visiting. See my other posts on different methods of complementary therapies. Please forward to your friends who might be interested and add your comments or feedback in the box below. That’s it for now – see you in part 2!