The Different Kinds of Metaphysical Crystals
NOW THAT YOU HAVE COMPLETED the exercises, you are able to recognize your natural intuitive abilities with the crystals. Because you have a better understanding of how the crystals resonate with your energy, you are able to pick out helpful stones to work with. But before you begin to work with the stones, you must learn the differences between the major categories of metaphysical crystals. The following is a breakdown of the primary kinds of metaphysical stones you will encounter and the advantages of each.
The ubiquitous pocket stone can be found in every metaphysical shop. A category consisting of tumbled stones, unfinished rough rocks, and small crystal points, pocket stones are so named because they easily fit in your pocket.
Pocket stones are an important part of your crystal tool kit. Because they are both easy to obtain and portable, they are the type of crystals you are most likely to work with. And though pocket stones can range in price from very inexpensive to very expensive depending on how common or rare they are, they are still the most economical type of metaphysical crystal.
They also tend to be sturdy enough for the rougher handling that happens in day-to-day life. Many pocket stones, especially the ones in tumbled form, can withstand the rigors of being kept in your pocket and bumping against your keys without getting damaged. Because of this hardiness, they can be used in situations where you don’t want to worry about how the crystals are being handled. This makes pocket stones fundamental to your crystal tool kit.
Because you will likely use your pocket stones frequently, they will need to be cleansed frequently as well. However, the effort needed to cleanse pocket stones will always be minimal compared to the benefits you can reap from them energetically.
Mineral specimens are unadulterated crystals in their original form as they were created by Mother Earth. Because they express her energy in the purest form, these kinds of crystals are the most powerful of all types of metaphysical crystals. This is why these crystals are the type I most encourage crystal seekers to interact with, as they hold the most potent form of crystalline energy.
However, most metaphysical shops favor carrying pocket stones or other cut and polished mineral pieces because these are the crystals most often featured in crystal reference books. Virtually all of the crystal and metaphysical shops I have been to depend on the descriptions written in books like these to explain the properties of the crystals they carry. And their customers are dependent on these texts too. There is a tendency for people to want crystals most when something becomes pressing in their lives. In their urgency to seek crystalline support, they refer to crystal books or information they have found online to find the crystal that matches what they believe their issue to be. Once they find a description that seems most pertinent to their issue, they become quite single-minded about getting this particular crystal, for they have a mistaken belief that only this precise crystal can solve their problem. And even if they haven’t done any research before going into the crystal shop, I still notice people spending more time reading the metaphysical description written on a stone’s placard (most likely referenced from a crystal book) than looking at the stones themselves.
Another reason that shops are less likely to carry raw mineral specimens is that they cannot be easily categorized the way pocket stones are. Pocket stones come from mines that produce such vast quantities of a single mineral that it’s possible to widely distribute them. As will be explained further in “The Economics of Rare Crystals,” though minerals of the same “species” have the same chemical formula, they can have a final appearance that is vastly different from that of the same kind found in another part of the world. Because of these variances, it can be very confusing for someone who has seen a particular photo of a mineral online or in a book to see something with the same name having a wildly different appearance at the crystal shop. This causes the buyer to question if they are getting the right crystal for their needs. So instead of being unsure, they default to purchasing the mineral in a pocket stone version, since it matches the familiar image they have seen in their book. (And anyhow, pocket stones are far cheaper than their corresponding mineral specimen.)
All of these issues stem from the same problem: When people don’t believe they have an intuitive connection with the stones, they depend on those who they think know better. Because the only crystalline experts they know write crystal books, they look to these books for authority about which crystals to use. When people then go into crystal shops, they ask about the crystals they have seen in the books, which further incentivizes the stores to continue to stock what the customers want to buy. This is why it’s mainly the most-often referenced stones in crystal books that constitute the majority of what is found in crystal shops. This contributes to a disempowering cycle that not only makes people insecure about their innate crystalline abilities but also prevents many powerful and healing metaphysical crystals from being available to you.
But that is why you got this book! By learning to tap into your own crystal intuition, you no longer need a crystal reference guide or someone to explain to you what a crystal does, for you are learning to connect to the stone itself. So when you encounter an unusual version of a common mineral or work with an uncommon mineral, or a new mineral comes onto the market, you’ll know how to begin working with the crystal to understand its energies!
When searching for raw minerals, you will want to seek out the specimens that have been well taken care of. The process of excavating and pulling crystals out of the ground, if not executed carefully, can really damage the crystals. Thereafter, poor handling and transport can cause crystals to get additionally dinged and broken. Just as quartz uses the spiral movement within its crystalline lattice to turbo-boost energy, other crystals use their unique crystalline structures to influence how the metaphysical energy moves within them. For the same reason that you don’t want to use quartz points that have been artificially altered, you want to avoid crystals that have been accidentally altered because of rough handling. So when shopping for raw minerals, look for the best-quality specimens you can afford. They will be more pricey than a pocket stone, but you are more likely to take better care of a crystal that is very beautiful to look at than a more utilitarian pocket stone.
Though you do want to invest in quality, you don’t want to buy something just because it’s expensive. So if you do fall in love with a humble, dinged-up specimen, the energy of love, respect, and admiration you bring to it will overcome any accidental alteration of its physical appearance. For ultimately the goal of choosing any crystal is to choose something that you want to keep and love, hopefully for the rest of your life.
An important thing to note is that you need to handle mineral specimens with far more care than you would a pocket stone. This means you need to be more careful both in physically handling them and in choosing what methods you use to cleanse them. But though they need more cautious care physically, they are actually far sturdier than other kinds of stones metaphysically. Primarily, this is because of the intense power they have from being original, unaltered creations of Mother Earth. But it’s also because mineral specimens can be too complicated to carry around, so they aren’t busy managing your auric field as consistently or intensely as a small pocket stone would. Because your crystal isn’t with you 24/7, it has space and time to dissipate any heavy energies it has collected from you, thus allowing your crystal to energetically support you for longer stretches of time before it needs cleansing and rest.
If you are interested in mineral specimens for healing, you can find ones that I have hand-picked for their metaphysical potency through my website, place8healing.com. Or you can look at the resources section of the book for websites that list the many rock and mineral shows that happen all over the world. Now that you’ve been newly empowered by your intuitive abilities, it is well worth visiting these shows to see just how vast and beautiful the crystalline world is beyond the pages of any crystal reference book or the images that appear in a Google search. And more importantly, these shows give you the firsthand opportunity to tune in to your crystal intuitive abilities on a wide variety of stones.
Shopping for Mineral Specimens
Crystal shops sometimes sell mineral specimens, but when they do I find they tend to sell specimens of lower quality. This is because quality mineral specimens are significantly pricier than pocket stones, and most people tend to want to buy the cheapest thing that gets the job done. If you seek quality mineral specimens, you generally have to go outside of metaphysical shops and seek out dealers who are dedicated to the scientific side of minerals and mineral collecting.
Like any collecting genre, mineral collecting is filled with all different kinds of collecting nerds. Dealers often specialize their offerings and may focus on selling minerals from a certain country, minerals with certain attributes (fossils, fluorescence, microcrystals), minerals from a particular mineral family, and so on. Also, each dealer’s stock tends to focus at a price point that appeals to a certain type of mineral collector—from stones that fit a young mineral hobbyist’s allowance all the way to million-dollar specimens bought by museums and high-end collectors.
Dealers frequently have come to mineral dealing because of their backgrounds in physical science. Many have degrees in geology or chemistry, are often charmingly full of intriguing tidbits about minerals, and will not hesitate to enthusiastically share their excitement about their passion with you. They are truly a wealth of scientific information about crystals. However, if you ask them about the metaphysical properties of a crystal, they won’t have any information. In fact, you’re likely to get a real queer look from them. Being of decidedly scientific mind, they do not find merit in metaphysics and view metaphysical crystal collectors as kooks. But they are quite polite about it, for we share with them a passionate love of rocks. (And it also probably helps that we kooks are often a significant portion of their business and so they find it unnecessary to offend an important customer base.)
CUT AND POLISHED STONES
Before it becomes a cabochon, crystal pyramid, sphere, or polished slab, each stone begins as an unassuming hunk of rough rock. But in order to bring out the stone’s color and texture, it has to be cut and polished. This allows you to see its beauty, which helps you form a stronger connection to the energies of the stone.
Chapter 6 explained the potential pitfalls that are related to cut and polished stones. But as a quick recap, remember that it is imperative that any cut and polished stone has been created for a valid metaphysical purpose that helps the stone’s energy be harnessed and enhanced. If you are considering purchasing any kind of cut and polished stone, including jewelry that contains cabochons or gemstones, carefully weigh the information presented in that chapter to help determine if the stone you are considering is worthy of investment.
Also, be conscientious about the reasons why you choose a certain cut and polished stone over getting it in its raw form. For raw stones are powerful too, and even something as humble as a chunk of unpolished rose quartz can have the ability to profoundly heal you as well as fill you with immense happiness and delight.
From left to right: Pyritized ammonite, skeletal pyrite, pyrite river stone, cubic pyrite in matrix
The Economics of Rare Crystals
Though their chemical formulas can be exactly the same, variables of temperature, pressure, and time create ultraspecific geological conditions that cause minerals from one part of the world to have a different shape than the same minerals found in another part of the world (that is, to differ in what geologists call their “crystal habit”). So even minerals with the same chemical formula can potentially be found as spheres, cubes, or octahedrons depending on where they come from. These nuances in shape are valuable both to scientifically minded collectors and metaphysical crystal buyers. While most mineral collectors are interested in rarity, the nuances in energy are significant enough to lead metaphysical collectors to choose one shape over another.
For instance, pyrite is a mineral that expresses itself into many different final forms. While all forms of pyrite deal with the energy of taking ephemeral ideas and manifesting them into an embodied physical form, each iteration of pyrite adjusts this energy for a different effect. The most commonly seen form of pyrite exhibits itself as a profuse cluster of complex crystal faces. This kind of pyrite is best for someone who wants to manifest many different smaller ideas without a structured final result. In contrast, cubic pyrite takes a form that is one of the most stable shapes when placed on flat ground—the cube—making this crystal ideal for someone who wants to manifest something physical that has a discrete physical beginning and ending (and likely a firm finish date), like a term paper or the construction of a building. Spherical pyrite is chemically built in layers, with the sphere getting larger as more mineral is added to its exterior. This makes it a good form of pyrite for someone who is working on a project that has an indefinite end date or for someone with projects that need to continue to develop and grow over time, like the evolving manifestation of an artist’s oeuvre or the building of a company or business. These are just a few of the varieties of pyrite, and though they all deal with manifestation into the physical, their nuances in form lead to significant differences in how their energy is projected.
As new and different forms of minerals are discovered and enter the market, people begin working with these crystals and writing about their specific metaphysical properties. But by the time their book is published with these stones’ specific metaphysical information, the supply of stones may have already dried up. This is because there is no way to predict how much supply of a crystal exists. Since minerals are found underground, it is impossible to know exactly how much of a mineral there is. Sometimes a mineral pocket can last a few years, or perhaps even decades, before the mine becomes exhausted. Sometimes only a single small pocket of minerals is ever discovered. Sometimes the supply stops because the mineral pocket has collapsed and has become unreachable or too dangerous to explore. And sometimes mine owners find that they can make a bigger profit by closing off the mine and paving it over to build a hotel or an airport runway. Because of all these factors, the supply of a specific crystal can suddenly become limited, and like any other collectable the stone will become rare. At the same time, the publicity the crystal has since received in books and media will cause it to become well known and coveted. Thus demand rises against a limited supply, and the price of the crystal naturally goes up to what the market can bear.
This is why it’s so helpful to develop your own personal intuitive connection to the crystals. As in cooking, when you can substitute an ingredient in a recipe, you are able to discover new, previously unpublished or underrated stones that work even better than ones you might have read about. So developing your intuition with crystals gives you the freedom to go into any rock shop and choose a stone that works for you, simply because you are able to connect directly to its energy and understand what the stone is about. No longer are you bound to the vagaries of mineral economics or the dictates of any “crystal experts.” Instead, you are self-empowered, able to decide for yourself what is metaphysically important to you—or not!
Amethyst with prehnite
The staggered growth of this tectonic quartz is caused by thin intermittent layers of calcite interrupting the quartz’s growth.
This tabular quartz specimen is about 19 centimeters high but amazingly is only 1.6 centimeters thick.
This quartz intergrew with another unknown mineral that later dissolved away, leaving it with this deeply etched surface.
“Don’t try to comprehend with your mind. Your minds are very limited. Use your intuition.”
—Madeleine L’Engle, A Wind in the Door
Green tourmaline in quartz
Some may not consider this smoky quartz “pretty.” But notice the fissure: it’s where the crystal was broken but began growing again over the fractured area. This is what is geologically known as a self-healed or re-healed crystal. Does knowing its persistence make the crystal prettier to you?