From the time of Earth’s first civilizations in ancient Sumer, Egypt, and the Indus Valley, legends and lore have been associated with crystals and gemstones. These rare creations of nature have inspired writers, philosophers, and mystics to attribute to them unusual and latent powers. The ancient Sumerians (c. 4500 – c. 2000 BC) employed crystals in their magical rituals. Crystals, minerals, and gems have been used to enhance emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing.
Possibly the most comprehensive compendium of gemstone lore can be found in George Frederick Kunz’s book, Curious Lore of Precious Stones: Being a Description of their Sentiments and Folk Lore, Superstitions, Symbology, Mysticism, Use in Medicine, Protection, Prevention, Religion, and Divination, Crystal Gazing, Birth Stones, Lucky Stones and Talismans, Astral, Zodiacal and Planetary, published in 1913.
Kunz (1856-1932) was the leading gemologist of his day, and as resident expert at Tiffany & Co. in New York City, he helped establish the modern market for gemstones. He was instrumental in setting up some of the greatest collections of rare colored stones, including the J.P. Morgan-Tiffany collection (now displayed at the American Museum of Natural History).
Although Kunz was no mystic or crystal gazer, he placed great store in studying the ways medicinal gemstones were used by various cultures, and their beliefs about rare stones. As Kunz wrote in Curious Lore: “Many of these ideas may seem strange enough to us now, and yet when we analyze them we find that they have their roots either in some intrinsic quality of the stones, or else in an instinctive appreciation of their symbolic significance.”
Popularly held beliefs concerning the powers and influences of crystals and rare stones include these.
Actinolite Cat’s Eye—Believed to be powerful for both physical and spiritual healing, and can be used with any of the chakras. Employed to balance the energies of the heart, it is also produces soothing energies and awareness.
Agate—A protective stone, believed to attract strength and offer protection against nightmares and bad dreams, stress, and loss of energy. It is believed to balance energies and awaken talents.
Amazonite—Believed to reduce sadness and the effects of grief, and to produce a soothing, calm mood by dispelling negative energy.
Amethyst—Said to calm emotions, encourage clarity of thought, assist in accumulating wisdom, and attune the wearer with intuition. Long regarded as an aid to sobriety, and useful for combating addictions. Believed to ease obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
Apatite—A stone of communication, believed to help curb stuttering, hypertension, and help overcome grief and sadness.
Apophyllite—Believed to help foster spiritual well being, calmness, relaxation, and happiness, to assist in meditation, and to possess healing properties.
Aquamarine—Associated with courage and releasing fear and anxiety, particularly during long journeys. Thought to protect sailors and minimize effects of seasickness.
Aragonite—Believed to encourage conservation and caring for the earth, to assist healing and balance of the emotional body, and to help overcome stress and anxiety.
Aventurine—Believed to attract prosperity, and said to provide positive influence in games of chance.
Blue Topaz—Believed to enhance courage and help overcome obstacles. Thought to encourage higher thinking, it is a traditional stone for artists, intellectuals, scholars, and writers. Promotes fidelity, friendship, and integrity.
Calcite—Thought to increase energy. Believed to be an excellent stone for distance healing, to increase learning abilities, and to foster inner peace.
Chalcedony—Said to dissipate melancholy, hostility, and irritability. A sacred stone among Native Americans, it promotes goodwill and fellowship.
Chalcopyrite—Also known as peacock ore. Thought to enhance inner knowing, perception, and psychic discernment, as well as used for protection from illness.
Citrine—Believed to promote optimism, open-mindedness, mental focus, and self-esteem, and to alleviate impatience. Known as the “merchants stone,” it is placed where business is undertaken to promote and maintain wealth.
Diamond—Believed to absorb and amplify its wearer’s thoughts, as well as the powers and limitations of other stones and their wearers. Diamonds were employed in detoxification and as protection against poison.
Diopside—Said to heal trauma by promoting cleansing tears. Believed to be a cathartic stone that fosters creativity, commitment, and love.
Emerald—A traditional stone said to aid in fertility, improve eyesight, and bestow psychic powers. Also believed to relieve insomnia and depression, and to promote self-knowledge, peaceful sleep, patience, and balance.
Fluorite—Believed to improve concentration, learning, critical thinking, and intuition.
Gaia Stone—Green obsidian that originated as volcanic ash from the eruption of Mt. St. Helen’s, it is said to possess strong Earth energy, and to help foster prosperity, emotional self-healing, and harmony of the chakras.
Garnet—Regarded as the stone of passionate devotion, believed to stimulate vitality, stamina, and the senses, and to attract good luck in business.
Iolite—The stone of inner vision, believed to assist in achieving greater awareness, and to increasing financial responsibility.
Jade—A stone of serenity, believed to relieve anxiety and fear and to promote good luck and prosperity. It is also a traditional charm for gardeners, said to ensure bountiful harvests.
Jasper—A quartz gemstone said to promote relaxation, contentment, compassion, and consolation, and to relieve mental stress.
Kyanite—Aids in quieting emotional and spiritual confusion, anger, and frustration.
Lapis Lazuli—An ancient catalyst for wisdom, awareness, friendship, and encouraging truthfulness, and believed to foster harmonious relationships.
Moonstone—Said to promote inspiration, clear thinking, and communication. Fosters psychic abilities, emotional balance, and the fulfillment of wishes.
Onyx—Believed to enhance perseverance and determination, repel negativity, and protect against the hostility of others.
Opal—Strongly associated with emotions, including love and passion, it is believed to promote imagination, spontaneity, healing, and dreams.
Peridot—Thought to influence life, relationships, and prosperity, and to alleviate anger, anxiety, depression, fear, and jealousy. Biblical mention of the stone chrysolite is believed by modern scholars to refer to peridot.
Prehnite—Said to assist in meditation, and to aid in prophesying and recalling dreams.
Pyrrhotite—Believed to help alleviate fear and anger, relieve stress, and soothe muscle aches and pains, as well as an aid to meditation and source for inspiration.
Quartz—Known as the “master healer,” believed to amplify energy and thought, as well as the effect of other crystals.
Rose Quartz—Known as the stone of gentle love, it is believed to attract peace and calm to relationships. Said to heal emotional wounds, restore harmony, dispel negativity, and promote enjoyment of the arts.
Ruby—Believed to protect against bad health and misfortune, and to promote love.
Sapphire—Associated with peace and happiness, and believed to promote communication, insight, intuition, inspiration, and predicting the future.
Smoky Quartz—Thought to foster serenity, calm, positive thoughts, and endurance.
Spinel—Often confused with rubies, it is believed to promote relaxation and the release of worries.
Stilbite—Believed to enhance metaphysical endeavors and creativity.
Tanzanite—The Maasai people of southern Kenya and northern Tanzania believe this recently discovered stone to possess healing properties.
Tiger’s Eye—Believed to convert fear and anxiety into purposeful action and logic, as well as foster strength and balance, and reduce doubt.
Topaz—Said to promote calm, mental clarity, and focus, to balance mood swings, worry, fear, depression, and exhaustion, and to give strength.
Tourmaline—Thought to strengthen body and spirit, aid in concentration, promote understanding, soothe grief, calm nerves, and encourage balance and self-confidence.
Turquoise—Believed to attract money, success, and love, and a stone of friendship for many cultures.
Zircon—Believed to encourage spiritual growth and to promote wisdom and peace.