Crystals for Beginners Part 1
An Intro to Crystals
I’m guessing you’re here because you want to know a little more about those beautiful specimens called crystals! Well, you’re in the right place, because we’re starting from the very beginning.
In this post, we’ll take a peek at:
- what crystals are
- where they are found
- the metaphysical properties of crystals
So let’s begin!
What are crystals?
Crystals come in many shapes and forms but the one thing that ties them all together is the fact that they are beautiful and pretty magical.
More general terms for crystals are gemstones, rocks, and minerals, which gives away a gist of what they are and how they are found (read more below on where to find them).
Each type of crystal has a different formula when it comes to how it was made - various elements combine together under particular conditions giving different results.
Here are a few of the most common crystal types and a basic look at how they are formed:
Main Groups of Metals & Crystals:
Oxides- these are often red and blue, the colours of oxidized metals (often copper)
E.g. rubies, sapphires, chrysoberyl
Native Elements- these are pure metals
E.g. gold, silver, copper
Sulphides- these are a mix of metal and sulphur
E.g. pyrite, marcasite, galena, peacock ore
Silicates- this is the main category, covering a lot of semi-precious stones, with further groupings under the same umbrella term
E.g. quartz (silicon dioxides), moonstone, labradorite (feldspars), garnets, tourmaline, beryls and spodumenes
Mineraloids- these are more glass-like structures
E.g. moldavite, obsidian, tektites
Organic Materials- these are crystals which have plant or animal origins
E.g. amber, petrified wood, pearls, jet
The structure or lattice is what makes something a crystal/mineral - here is a list of the different structures and a little about what they mean:
Cubic- made of 3 equal axes forming a cube
E.g. pyrite, diamond, fluorite
Hexagonal- made of 4 axes creating a six-fold symmetry
E.g. emerald, aquamarine
Tetragonal- these look like 2 pyramids joined at their bases (four-sided pyramids)
E.g. apophyllite, zircon
Orthorhombic- made of 3 axes which are at 90° to one another
E.g. peridot, topaz
Monoclinic- made of 3 unequal axes which form an elongated shape with chamfered edges
E.g. gypsum, kunzite
Triclinic- have sides of unequal length, creating an asymmetrical shape
E.g. labradorite, turquoise
Trigonal- usually quite elongated in shape with 3 axes all with an equal angle (not right angles)
E.g. sapphire, tourmaline, calcite
Where are they found?
The majority of crystals are found in the earth’s crust, this is where they are formed through being exposed to a variety of conditions - heating, cooling, pressure and moisture are the main contributing factor in the formation of crystals. These factors in the environment surrounding a growing crystal will have an impact of the shape in which it grows.
Some crystals are formed inside bubbles of gas, but these grow inward - from the outside to the inside of the bubble. Others are formed between layers of rock.
Certain countries are renowned for their crystal mines and some even have their own unique crystal offerings. Russia is actually known for it’s rare alexandrite - a type of chrysoberyl which actually colour shifts under different lights. In natural light this crystal appears green and then under artificial light, it appears red!
As well as Russia, there are lots of other countries which are rich with gemstones:
- Sri Lanka
Those are just a few of the most popular countries, there are plenty more across the globe.
There are lots of crystal mines and caves across the worldand some even offer the public a chance to go and dig for their own beautiful gemstones - of course there is a fee to dig there, but you get to keep what you find. The majority of these “dig your own” mines are in the US too - here are a few of the best places to try:
- Emerald Hollow Mine, North Carolina
- Cherokee Ruby & Sapphire Mine, North Carolina
- Graves Mountain, Georgia
- Craters of Diamonds State Park, Arkansas
- Jade Cove, California
Many of the large mines are excavated with heavy machinery before workers will do more of the delicate work to extract the crystals. These are not open to the public and are often owned by large trade companies.
This is probably the section you are most interested in, since you’ve landed here.
So much energy is involved in the creation of these beautiful specimens, so there’s no wonder that they hold so much power. Each crystal has its own metaphysical energies which we can harness to help heal ourselves, physically and mentally. These healing powers are not something new, many generations and civilizations believe in the energy found in a crystal and these earthly beauties are steeped in the most ancient of history - after all, they are very, very old!
Have you ever felt a tingle or heat in your hand when holding a crystal? Crystals vibrate with different frequencies and many have magnetic fields which emit positive energy. This energy is said to interact with your own bodies energy and balance those frequencies, which is why they possess healing effects for different ailments, temperaments or health issues.
Crystals are used to align the body’s energies and are frequently associated with the Chakras and will more than likely be used during a Reiki session. For aligning the Chakras and healing, crystals are placed on the body in various places, while the person being healed lays still and calm with their eyes closed in a meditative state.
Each of the Chakras is associated with a different color and part of the body:
- Root Chakra - Red - The base of the spine, the coccyx
- Sacral Chakra - Orange - Lower abdomen, below navel
- Solar Plexus Chakra - Yellow - Stomach, above navel
- Heart Chakra - Green - The heart, center of the chest
- Throat Chakra - Blue - Center of the throat
- Third Eye Chakra - Indigo - Over the third eye, in the center of the forehead
- Crown Chakra - Violet - Top of the head
The crystals used for each Chakra usually stick to the coloring of the chakra and their vibrations link with the area of the body. We’ll look at Chakras in a little more depth later in our beginner’s series - keep your sparkly eyes peeled!
Sadly, not everyone likes to believe in the healing effects of crystals, but even they can’t deny the sheer beauty of a lovely semi-precious gemstone. And simply the fact of how amazing it is that something so beautiful can come naturally out of the Earth! If crystals can bring joy to you, then isn’t that a form of healing?
Crystals have actually been used to transmit radio waves and quartz powers many watches, so they have a very physical use as well as metaphysical!
There will be a ton more blog posts coming in this series, so be sure to check back soon! If you are looking for a great book on getting into crystals. My all time favorite is Crystals for Beginners which I'll link here for you.