The Lore and Lure of Crystals, Part 2

For thousands of years, crystals, minerals, and gems have been employed to enhance emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing. History documents numerous instances of stones meaning similar things in different cultures, even where there was no interaction between these societies, and no opportunity for crossover.

A 7th century Buddhist text describes a diamond throne situated near the Tree of Knowledge under which Siddhartha (Buddha) meditated.

In ancient China, jade was highly prized, and believed to have healing properties. Chinese medicine incorporates healing crystals, including the crystal-tipped needles used in acupuncture and Pranic healing sessions—traditions that arose out of nearly 5,000 years of practice. In early Japanese culture, spheres made from crystal quartz represented the heart of a dragon, signifying its wisdom and power.

In Europe, from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance, medical treatises extolled the virtues of precious stones for treating certain ailments. It was also believed that if a sinner handled a precious stone, its virtuous properties would dissipate, so stones were sanctified and consecrated before wearing—an echo of the modern belief in cleansing and programming crystals before using them in healing.

With the emergence of New Age culture, crystals and gemstones began to re-emerge as focuses for healing. Books of the 1980s and 1990s helped to popularize their use. Crystal therapy spans the spheres of religious and spiritual belief. No longer viewed as the domain of alternative culture, it is now viewed by many Westerners as an acceptable and mainstream complimentary therapy, and many institutes of higher learning offer it as a qualification subject.

Gemstones continue to carry meaning. Jet was, until recently, popularly worn by individuals in mourning, and garnet was often worn during times of war. Many tribal cultures continue to use gemstones in healing. The Native American Zuni people in New Mexico make stone talismans that represent animal spirits. These are ceremonially “fed” a compound of powdered turquoise and ground maize (corn). Other Native American tribes hold precious stones sacred, particularly turquoise.

Aboriginal Australians and the Māori people of New Zealand each have traditions regarding stones and healing practices. Some of this lore they are willing to share with outsiders, while other knowledge remains the private domain of their communities.

The House of Whitley mineral and crystal collections are a treasure trove for those in tune with nature and their surroundings. These wonders represent a spectacular selection of naturally formed pieces in a variety of unusual shapes and sizes, and can be enjoyed in their natural formations, as framed art pieces, and beautifully imagined accessories.