Carrying crystals as protective amulets or wearing them as jewellery were the simplest ways to utilise their natural potential.
Evidence has been found for the use of gemstones as jewellery as early as the Palaeolithic Age.
The first written accounts of crystal healing came from the ancient Egyptians who gave detailed recipes for using gemstones such as malachite for healing and protection.
Religious and cultural connections Gemstones have had a place in religion for thousands of years. The Bible refers to the twelve stones set in the breastplate of the High Priest, symbolising the twelve tribes of Israel.
In the book of Revelations twelve stones are also mentioned as the foundation stones of the wall of New Jerusalem. Though the symbolism of each stone is open to speculation, most of these stones have been used in churches in one form or another since the inception of Christianity.
Precious stones adorn the tiara and mitre of the Pope and bishops as well as the shrines and icons found in Christian churches. While many of the beliefs surrounding gemstones are regarded in the scientifically influenced Western (and mainly Christian) thinking as perhaps primarily of historic interest, the Eastern religions have a far greater reverence for gemstones.
The Chinese believed that all natural things have an animate spirit of their own.
Jade is, for example, the symbol of the virtues of mercy, modesty, courage, justice and wisdom.
The Greeks made ornaments of plain gold until around 400 BC when a variety of gems and cameos (precious and semi-precious gemstones carved in relief on one layer with another contrasting layer as background) were used.
Gemstones were also widely used in the production of seals, carved dies or stamps to mark documents or objects with a sign of official origin or ownership.
Magical and healing properties of gemstones
Although the healing properties of certain gemstones were first recorded in the early Egyptian days, it was not until Roman times that scholars such as Pliny wrote of gemstones as a form of medicine.
It was the ecclesiastical writers who compiled the first major treatises on healing with gems.
The use of gemstones for healing was carried out in different ways.
At times, the mere presence of the stone was thought to be sufficient to effect a cure. At other times the gem was placed on the affected body part and sometimes the stone was powdered and eaten. Successes achieved by the various applications of gemstones may not have been due to the gems directly, but to the effect of suggestion on the sufferer.
Failures were then often excused by the explanation that the stone was not “genuine”.
Crystal healing today
The majority of crystals used today for healing are minerals.
The rocks where these crystals are found are aggregates of minerals and are described as igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic, depending on how they were formed. For a mineral to qualify as a crystal, the atoms that make it up must normally be arranged in a systematic, orderly and repeating three-dimensional structure. These arrangements determine the crystal’s properties, including its hardness, colour and type of symmetry.
Various types of crystals are used, namely natural, raw or tumbled crystals, terminations, wands or fashioned crystals (as in jewelry).
Clear quartz is known as the “master healer” or “cure all” because it contains the full spectrum of visible white light – a broad spectrum healing energy which clears disease from all levels.
Clear quartz crystals are said to stabilise, focus and amplify the vital life-force, which heightens natural healing power and healing potential as well as stimulating personal growth and spiritual quartz crystal healing development.
Imitation or synthetic crystals are not suitable for healing.
Some people choose crystals intuitively, while others select crystals on the basis of therapeutic qualities. Crystals are usually purified before and after use to ensure that any residual disharmonies are removed and that the crystals are filled with positive energy. Different cleansing techniques exist depending on the specific crystal, for example some crystals can be cleaned with water, some with salt, others with smudging, sound or specialist cleaning products.
When a crystal is not in use it should be wrapped in a soft cloth.