Whether you are new to crystals or have been working with them for a while, we hope our crystal guide for beginners sheds light on the difference between a rock or a crystal, how to care for, cleanse and charge your crystals, as well as other ways to work with them.
What is the difference between a mineral, rock and crystal?
Here goes ... without having a geology degree or getting too technical, this is how we can best explain this complicated topic!
To form a crystal, the atoms, molecules and ions in the crystal's structure are arranged in a highly ordered and consistent manner. This forms a crystal lattice that extends in all directions. Most inorganic solids are polycrystals such as rocks, metals, ceramics. These have not formed in a consistent or orderly manner and therefore are not crystals.
A mineral is a pure substance and has a definite shape and colour. Rocks however contain a number of different minerals. The easiest way to picture this is with the rock Granite - it is formed with Quartz and Feldspar.
The best explanation we have found is in Ashley Leavy's book 'Crystals for Energy Healing' in which she states that 'A crystal is a mineral with a regularly repeating molecular structure. Most crystals form inside the earth during a process called nucleation, in which intense heat and pressure cause their molecules to form a three-dimensional lattice structure - like a blueprint. This geometric arrangement forces the crystal's molecules to take on the most stable form possible by repeating this pattern until the crystal is fully formed.'
Other factors come into play, such as:
- Intense heat followed by rapid cooling, as you would expect from a volcano, will produce crystals such as Obsidian and Jasper
- Intense heat followed by a slow cooling process will produce crystals such as Rose Quartz
- Meteorites impacting the earth with enormous force have in the past produced Moldavite and Tektite
- Evaporated ocean water that collects silica from Sandstone will form Opals
- Organic material such as tree resin (sap) and wood will form Amber, Jet and Petrified Wood. For example, Jet (not officially classified as a crystal) is a type of coal, which originally formed when driftwood was submerged in sea-floor mud
- Minerals and irradiation will have an impact on the colour of the actual crystal. Take Quartz for example:
How to start a crystal collection
Choosing your crystals
There are several ways to choose your crystals. The most intuitive way is when you are drawn to a particular crystal, either from holding it or from looking at a picture. If a crystal stands out to you, almost as if it is calling you, then it is one that you may need. It's as if it is asking you to take it home!
Dreaming of crystals is another intuitive way of finding a crystal that you need right now. If you are lucky enough to dream of crystals then take notice!
You can also use crystal reference books to look up the healing properties of crystals and choose a particular crystal that way.
You don't need to choose the biggest and most expensive of crystals, the smallest tumble stone may have the right connection with you - trust your intuition.
If you intend to use your crystals for crystal healing then we would recommend that you look for crystals that have not been dyed nor treated in anyway. For example many pieces of Agate have been dyed different colours such as blue or pink and Citrine is often heat treated. We prefer natural Citrine over heat treated Citrine however that is our personal preference and you should be guided by your intuition.
Welcoming your crystals into your home
All crystals have their own individual energy. It may sound silly at first however welcoming new crystals into your home is one of the first things you may like to do. With our personal collection, we tend to cleanse all our new crystals and then welcome them into our family and ask them to work for our highest good.
Cleansing your crystals
Crystals should be cleansed when first brought home, after they have been worn or after being used for energy healing. This is to remove any negative energy. Citrine and Kyanite are the only crystals that don't need cleansing however, personally, we still pop them on a piece of Selenite or Satin Spar after they have been used.
Whilst cleansing your crystals Ashley Leavy recommends you "visualise the energy being released from your stone and see it surrounded by bright white light. See this white light shine brighter, and watch it begin to break apart and dissolve the negativity released from your stone. See the negativity completely dissipate, leaving nothing in your space."
There are several ways to cleanse your crystals, choose one that feels right to you:
Cleansing crystals with water
You can hold your crystals under running water eg under a tap or in a river or the ocean. Whilst this may be a convenient way to cleanse your crystals you need to ensure you don't use this method with certain crystals such as Selenite, Turquoise and Kyanite, to name a few.
Cleansing crystals in the ground
Crystals can be placed in soil for 24 hours to remove any negative energy. Its a nice way to cleanse crystals as you are returning them to the earth.
Cleansing crystals using Selenite and Amethyst
Amethyst Geodes, Satin Spar logs and Selenite slabs are convenient ways to cleanse your crystals. The cleansing crystal needs to be bigger than the piece you are needing cleansed. Cleanse for 24 hours.
Cleansing crystals with sound
You can use singing bowls or bells to cleanse your crystals. Do this for at least a minute by playing the instrument near or above your crystals. Do not however place your crystals inside the singing bowl as the sound vibrations could damage the crystals.
Cleansing crystals with smudge sticks
Smudging can be used to cleanse numerous crystals at once or even your house. If you choose to smudge make sure you have a fireproof container (such as an Abalone shell) beneath the smudge stick to collect any ash or embers. The most popular smudge sticks are sage or palo santo.
Charging your crystals
Crystals love to be recharged under the light of a full moon. It doesn't matter if there are clouds in the sky and you can't see the moon, the crystals will still benefit from the full moon's energy. If you think it might rain, place any crystals that should avoid water inside on a windowsill. Sunlight can also be used to recharge your crystals however some crystals such as Amethyst may fade in the sun.
Crystals that should avoid water
- Desert Rose
- Himalayan Salt
- Satin Spar
- Tiger's Eye
This is not a comprehensive list of all the crystals that should avoid water. If in doubt, avoid water altogether.
Crystals that should avoid sunlight
- Rose Quartz
- Smokey Quartz
We recommend you double check individual crystals to see whether they are suitable for sunlight or not.
Activating and dedicating your crystals
Setting intentions on how you would like your crystals to work with you is very important, they all need direction on how you would like them to work with you. To do this, close your eyes and hold the cleansed crystal in your hands. Say out loud what your dedication is. Examples of dedications can be found in Ashley Leavy's book 'Crystals for Energy Healing' such as:
"I speak my gratitude for this crystal which has been placed in my care. I consciously intend to use this stone with love and light for the highest good of all."
How to feel the energy from your crystals - sending hand and receiving hand
You may ask what is a sending or receiving hand! If you are right handed then your receiving hand is your left hand and your sending hand (the hand which you use for writing) is your right hand. For lefties, your receiving hand is your right hand and your sending hand is your left.
Depending on whether you are left handed or right handed, pick up your chosen crystal and place it in the palm of your receiving hand. Focus on this crystal for a moment with your eyes closed. You may choose to meditate with it. After a while you may start to feel a tingling sensation ... this is the energy of the crystal that you are feeling which is an indication that you have a connection. If you don't feel this connection straight away don't worry, it can take practice.
What does it mean if your crystal breaks?
If your crystal breaks it can mean one of 2 things ... 1 that you are as clumsy as Georgie (setting the scene here ... forgetting crystals are in her pockets, then hearing a loud clunk and on the floor are several broken pieces) or it could be that the crystal has done its job and you no longer need it. Either way the nicest way to part with a broken crystal is to either gift one half to another person or, our personal favourite, to pop the broken pieces in with your pot plants. We all need to feel some love right? And plants love crystals!
What is the Mohs' scale of hardness?
Mohs’ hardness is a term meaning ‘scratch hardness’ which was introduced by German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs in 1812. Mohs created a system whereby minerals were tested to their hardness with a pointed object, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the hardest. Gold has a Mohs’ hardness of 2½ to 3, which makes it quite a soft crystal and easily scratched. In comparison, Diamonds are rated as a 10. Interestingly, minerals and crystals of the same Mohs scale won’t scratch each other.
What are the main 7 chakras
Chakra 1 - Root or Base (base of spine): Red, brown, grey or black
Chakra 2 - Sacral (lower abdomen): Orange or silver
Chakra 3 - Solar Plexus (upper abdomen): Yellow
Chakra 4 - Heart (centre of chest above the heart): Green or pink
Chakra 5 - Throat (throat): Sky or light blue
Chakra 6 - Brow or Third Eye (forehead between the eyes): Indigo or purple
Chakra 7 - Crown (top of the head): Violet, white or gold