T Tries: The Beauty and Intangibility of Crystals

Sales of healing crystals have surged during the pandemic, with Google searches up 40%, but can a gem really change your life?

Article by Lucy E Cousins

The global healing crystal market is estimated to be $1.3 billion. Photography by Hasan Can Devsir.

It came in a box labelled “Stoned” and sat on my desk for weeks, unopened. Maybe it was because my engineer husband rolled his eyes whenever he saw it, or maybe it’s because I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I’ve never really been interested in crystals, other than in jewellery during the 90s. Sure, I might graze the horoscopes occasionally, use essentials oils in a diffuser and had my tarot cards read once, but crystal ownership seems a long way from those pursuits.

Crystals are just so… inactive. How could they influence my mood or the events in my life? You don’t ingest crystals, or use them in cooking, you can’t ask them questions and they don’t provide answers. They just are. They just sit. When I finally do open the box, the words under the lid don’t fill me with the confidence I’m looking for: “Let a little magic in…” it instructed me. Magic? Is that what this is all about? I’m no Disney critic or hater of circus magicians (and I’ve even read all seven Harry Potter books), but this mention of magic just adds to my skepticism.

My hesitation is commonplace, according to Ashley Bellino, founder of Stoned Crystals and provider of the crystal in question. “Crystals aren’t a magical tool for curing anything,” she explains. “I know people often (even with the right intentions) want to believe that crystals can heal illnesses or be the solution to a problem in their lives, but I always say: ‘The crystal isn’t magic – the magic is within you!’”

Bellino, who fell in love with crystals as a child after feeling the “energy” of a giant Amethyst Cave, believes crystals need to be appreciated for their ability to bring energy and mindfulness to our lives. “They’re a piece of the earth that is intended to provide the energy our bodies and our minds need, however that looks for each individual.” The question is, how does that look for me?

The rest of the message on the box does pique my interest; words such as ‘mindset’ and ‘positive outlooks’ are used, both concepts I am familiar with and which have numerous respected studies behind them. So this, I think to myself, is perhaps like a mood board or five-year-plan but in mindfulness form. I turn the crystal over in my hands (it’s a smokey quartz the size of my palm) ; it certainly feels nice. Smooth, heavy, reassuring. Apparently, this is important.

"Each crystal has different properties and energies associated with it," explains Ashley Bellino, founder of Stoned Crystals. Photography courtesy of Stoned Crystals.

“The way to understand crystals is to pick them up, hold them and engage with them,” says Bellino. “Growing up I always saw crystals behind glass [in shops], but crystals emit high and steady vibrations that help to create balance within oneself so it’s important that you interact with them to truly understand their benefit and power.” It’s this concept of interaction which stumps me. How does one ‘interact’ and set intentions on a rock? Do you talk to it in the cosseted way we talk to our pets? Or is it better to write down what you want on a piece of paper and place the crystal on top? Or maybe it’s best to just whisper the words in your mind? I decide the latter.

A few weeks later I find myself complaining to my friend Emma about the crystal sitting on my coffee table. “I just don’t think it’s working,” I hear myself say. A lover of crystals herself, Emma looks at the dust gathering on said crystal and the haphazard way I had tossed it into a bowl of trinkets, and promptly tells me I’m not respecting the crystal’s energy.  “Have you even charged it?” she asks.

After quick lesson on cleansing my crystal (sea water or salty water is easiest) and charging my crystal (full moon or direct sun is best), she suggests I use my glittering gemstone to help me sleep better, by setting that intention and leaving it beside my bed. Her crystal-fearing husband had once done that and, for him at least, it had worked well.

Attracted by the thought of sleeping better – I have a two-year-old daughter after all – I take her advice and nestle the crystal next to my face oils and books on my nightstand. Then promptly forget all about it, until the deadline for this article loomed. Looking back over the past month, I ask myself, have I slept better? Have I slept deeper? Do I feel more rested? And the answer, quite interestingly, has been yes. My daughter has started sleeping through the night (thank the gods), and even though I work in the evenings until quite late, when I have fallen sleep, I sleep solid. I sleep deeply. I sleep well.

Bellino believes you should cleanse, charge and activate your crystals in order to maintain positive energy to perform at their best. Photography courtesy of Stoned Crystals.

Is it the crystal that calms my brain and helps me drift off? It’s hard to say. It could be a myriad of other factors that helped with that, and a “study” of one person doing one activity is hardly scientific anyway. But perhaps it was the fact that I mindfully set an intention to sleep better that helped overall. There is, of course, years of research into the extensive benefits of visualisation, journalling and mindfulness. Either way, I can’t deny the results.

However, according to Bellino I’m not alone in my scepticism of crystal energy and crystal culture. “Crystals have for so long been boxed in as ‘hippie’ and the jargon that surrounds them has made their use difficult to understand and undervalued by mainstream [Australia],” she explains. “But crystals are starting to make a comeback and are slowly finding their way back to the people.”

In fact, the sale of crystals has surged during the past two years, with Google searches up 40% and the global healing crystal market is estimated to be worth around $1.3 billion dollars. Even the ultimate zeitgeist barometers – celebrities – have got in on the act; everyone from Naomi Campbell to Bella Hadid and Victoria Beckham have spoken about their use, and love, of crystals.

So where does that leave me… Well, for now, I’m going to leave my crystal (who I’ve named Harold) next to my bed, because why not? I may forget to charge him, and he may become unduly dusty, but he’s a reminder of my need for better sleep. And that might just be good enough for me. Even Bellino agrees that at the end of the day, “all human beings need balance and to understand their own emotions and how to manifest the life they desire.” And whether that is with crystals by your side or not (though, they do look lovely on a coffee table), the power of positive thought is something we should all be experts at, especially right now.