A Beginner’s Guide to Crystals

beginners guide to crystals

Apparently, one of the trends for 2019 is crystals. They are everywhere right now and I think that’s brilliant! I’ve been a Certified Crystal Reader for a couple of years and have loved them since I was a kid hanging around the Glenbow Museum’s gem and mineral collection and spending my allowance at the rock shop in Banff.

I’ve been asked about crystals over the years (since I’m often wearing one) and thought I’d answer some of the most frequently asked questions:

What’s so special about crystals? The term crystal is used to describe any naturally formed solid material with an ionic, atomic, or molecular structure that is highly ordered with a repeating three dimensional pattern. Examples include not only minerals like amethysts or diamonds, but also snowflakes. Crystals are naturally appealing, since we are naturally drawn to order and symmetry (it’s the same reason we think George Clooney looks good.) The interplay of light off the highly ordered structure is what gives crystals their beautiful glow, as though they are lit from within.

Are crystals a religion? Many people are wary of crystals since they think they somehow have something to do with the occult. When I first got into crystals, I wanted to make sure I could reconcile my faith with my love of these pretty stones. Crystals are mentioned in scripture in the description of the new heaven and new earth outlined in Revelation 21. The City of Light’s foundation is built out of crystals, specifically, jasper, sapphire, chalcedony (agate), emerald, sardonyx (onyx), sardius (ruby or carnelian). chrysolyte (peridot), beryl, topaz, chrysoprasus, jacinth, and amethyst. For me, the world sometimes feels random and chaotic, and it’s comforting to see the God-given order in the molecular structure of a diamond. Things may seem pretty crazy for a season, but in the billion plus years it took to make most mined diamonds, perfect order was maintained. For me, it’s proof of my beliefs about God’s character, not a contradiction.

Do crystals have healing powers? I do not think that crystals have healing powers per se. I do, however, believe that crystals have an energy associated with them that comes from their unique molecular structure and their age. I find that darker stones – like darker paint colours – are more grounding. And light coloured stones like amethyst and rose quartz help inspire me and foster creativity. This may be a great big old placebo effect, but it certainly works for me.

Will crystals protect me? I think that if you are a highly sensitive person or empath, you tend to become drained quite easily. I find that crystals help protect me from the negative emotions of others, if for no other reason than they remind me to create and maintain boundaries (I often wear crystals or have them in my bag.) I don’t believe they have any explicit protective powers unless you throw them at the offending person. (Please, do not try this at home!)

How do I use crystals? I have crystals around my house since I think they make pretty paperweights and objets. This rose quartz cluster* and this marble box with amethyst* from Indigo are stunning (and 15% off with code BRAVO15 this weekend.) I also have some pendants that I wear (Etsy is a terrific source since they are made with love – I have a couple of pieces from Bubu Ruby.) If I’m meditating, I’ll often hold a crystal and pair it with a lovely essential oil. I find this a calming practice.

How do I get started? I think that selecting crystals is a little like buying art: it’s a very personal process and you’ll know when you’ve found the right piece. That being said, I usually recommend people start with black tourmaline (this stone grounds me and helps me establish boundaries with non-empath types), citrine (the yellow stone makes me feel energetic and motivated so I use this when I’m writing), amethyst (I feel calmer when I have amethyst around and keep a big old chunk of it in my office), rose quartz (this is my very favourite stone and helps foster feelings of love and forgiveness for me), and clear quartz (this makes me feel more connected spiritually.) I tend to gravitate towards more translucent crystals, but I have friends who love a deeper, earthier stone like tiger’s eye or red jasper. It really is an individual choice!

Where can I find out more? There is a lot of information on Pinterest. I’ve set up a board to capture pins that are useful.  Karen Frazier’s Crystals for Beginners* is a good starter book. It’s a little woo woo (I challenge you to find a crystal book that’s not!) but is very pretty and instructive.

I hope this has been a helpful primer. If you want any more information, please leave a comment or shoot me an email and I will answer any questions you might have!


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