Nature's Nurturing

4th May 2018

Crystals are now more A-list than New Age. Lisa Botwright explores how to rock the latest accessory…

Victoria Beckham won’t travel without them, Adele uses them to calm her nerves before a live show and Kate Hudson has a bowl filled with them by her bedside. What is it about crystals that makes them so alluring?

For a start they’re so tactile; simply holding one in the palm of your hand feels soothing and comforting. They come in so many colours and are mesmerisingly pretty – a tempting panacea for our inner-magpie. Add to that the wealth of benefits they’re said to bring – from promoting creativity to banishing negative energy to raising self-esteem – and it’s easy to see their charm.

Karen, who works at Destiny Rising, a holistic shop and therapy centre in Radlett, says, “there are properties attributed to specific crystals, but they also work in relation to your own personal energy. Find out what you’re drawn to, how they feel when you pick them up – it doesn’t have to be a conscious decision… just let it flow.”

The term ‘energy’ is often used in connection with crystals. Some people believe that we’ll be drawn to the crystal that’s right for us, even that the energy they send out can resonate with us and may determine which crystal we might choose at a certain point in our life. (At one level this may sound bizarre, but universal energy is a tenet of many of the major world religions – and even has a somewhat tenuous basis in science: that atoms, molecules and ions, the building blocks of all matter from human beings to crystals to stars and planets, are always in motion and do create energy and ‘vibrate’ at a particular frequency.)

Crystals are crystallised ornamental minerals formed over millions of years, with much of their romance coming from their individual quirks and imperfections that record the history of the planet; gemstones such as diamonds, emeralds and rubies are simply crystals that are strong enough to be cut and polished into jewellery. They’re even essential to the functioning of modern technology because of the way their ordered structure emits consistent frequencies and allows them to store information: silicon is used in computers, and quartz stabilises and regulates the flow of energy in our watches.

They’ve been beloved throughout history: ancient warriors wore carnelian around their neck for courage and physical power to conquer their enemies and amethyst was said to be worn as an amulet to prevent drunkenness and hangovers. I find it fascinating that there are many examples of crystals meaning similar things to different cultures, even when there has been absolutely no interaction or opportunity for crossover between them. Jade, for example, was considered to be a kidney healing stone by both the ancient Chinese and Aztec civilisations, while turquoise has been worn to give strength and health all over the world.

Today, there are books and websites devoted to the power of different crystals. Amethyst, I’m told, is good for sleep and for mental clarity, smoky quartz helps with pain, moss agate with stress – and citrine, ‘the merchant stone’, can make you open to attracting wealth if you carry one in your purse or wallet.

“I like the term ‘complementary’ rather than ‘alternative’,” explains Karen. “Nothing is intended to replace proper medical diagnosis and treatment. It’s not about creating a dependence, it’s about boosting what you’ve got… At the very least, you can’t underestimate the placebo effect,” she smiles.

Once we’ve chosen our crystal (or the crystal has chosen us!) the first thing is to clean it of any previous negative energy. “Run it under water, and let it dry naturally in sunlight or moonlight,” Karen tells me. Or you can even perform a smudging ritual by lighting a small bunch of dried sage leaves, blowing them out and using the smoke to clean and purify the air around the crystal.

You can wear your crystals (Karen shows me the beautiful emerald necklace – good for healing and grounding – that she wears next to her skin); you can bathe with them or even drink them. Tanzanite is an ingredient in ready-made well-being tonics and shungite – one of mother nature’s finest water filters – is used in (very expensive) crystal water bottles.

A new lipstick can make us feel better, but the next time we’re in need of some ‘self-love and confidence’, why not treat ourselves to an inexpensive piece of rose quartz instead…

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