The Cost of Getting Into Crystals
How do you get some of that crystal power without dropping the big bucks?
Does it seem like all of a sudden everyone’s into crystals? That’s because they are. Crystals, tarot, covens: new-agery in general is all very trendy, and the sort of thing that if you hear your friends talk about how life-changing it is for long enough, you become interested in trying it. Like juice but for rocks.
Do crystals work? Who knows? Who knows how anything works? What is real? On the one hand, how could a rock sitting a few feet away from you do anything? On the other hand, who among us can really explain how a microwave makes food hot?
Here’s what I know. I used to think crystals were ridiculous because I’m such a hard-headed skeptic. My brother-in-law is into all that stuff — he’s the kind of guy who would definitely buy the RZA’s colloidal silver — and always had different crystals and whatnot stashed around his and my sister’s house.
A few years ago, my sister and brother-in-law moved from California to North Carolina. They were driving cross-country with a car full of their stuff, including his favorite protection crystals (five small rose quartzes). It started to rain and their car hydroplaned, went off the side of the road and FLIPPED COMPLETELY OVER 360 DEGREES. The car was totaled but they walked away with only very minor bruises. The next day they went out to the accident site with the tow truck and found the five crystals in the wet red mud of Utah, surrounding their car. This is a real story that happened to my real sister.
So how do you get some of that scientifically-proven crystal power without dropping big bucks on crystals? How much should everything cost? I asked my friend Maggie Wilhite, who is very smart about crystals (and life in general) and not just because she’s some trendster. Maggie was into crystals before they were cool, okay?
Here’s what Maggie had to say:
How did you get started using crystals? How do you use them in your life?
A coworker introduced me to crystals during a conversation about alternative healing methods, and I was instantly intrigued by this intersection of science and spirituality. Once I started exploring, I couldn’t stop! It just made sense to me intuitively. When I went to buy my first crystal, I asked the woman behind the counter what she would recommend for help with meditation, and she recommended a selenite palm stone. I felt its vibration instantly, and I don’t think I’ve been the same since. I slept with it under my pillow that night and woke up feeling utterly refreshed. The most interesting part was that my then-chronic neck and shoulder pain was much improved! Since then, crystals have become an important part of my path of healing and personal growth. They help me connect to my higher self in a way that feels like tapping into ancient wisdom.
So how do I use them in my life? In all kinds of ways, from the practical to the spiritual. When I’m nervous about a project at work, I’ll grab a piece of tiger’s eye for confidence. When I need a restorative bath, I’ll add a few pieces of rose quartz. If I need to have a difficult conversation, I stash a piece of blue lace agate in my purse for clear, gentle communication. I have a big chunk of black tourmaline and a Himalayan salt lamp on my desk to protect from EMF pollution. And of course, crystals are freakin’ gorgeous, so I love placing them all over my home. Right now I’m diving deeper into working with crystal grids and gem water/elixirs.
What’s a good way for someone to buy their first crystal? What should they look for? A specific intent, or whatever calls out to them?
Books are a great place to start familiarizing yourself with the different stones and some of their uses, but keep in mind that no matter how “expert” the author may be, you may have a totally different experience with a stone, and that’s okay! This is where intuition comes in, a sense that you will continue to hone as you work with crystals, though it’s hard to know what this really means at first. You may do your research and go shopping for a particular stone for a particular issue, but always keep an open mind. If you find yourself coming back around again and again to that gorgeously bright lapis point, even though amethyst was what you came for, pay attention! Something in you wants to connect with the lapis, too, so go with it.
It’s also a good idea to spend time with stones individually, to isolate their effects. Start a Google Doc or an Evernote to journal your experiences. Pay attention and take notes on what’s coming up for you while you’re carrying that stone, whether you’re meditating or just going about your biz. You’ll be surprised!
As far as size and investment, start with something small, perhaps an inexpensive tumbled stone (between $3 and $10, depending on the type). If you find you like its influence, go bigger.
Okay, so how big are we talking? What’s the high end on crystals look like?
A high-end investment in a piece that will set a room buzzing with good vibes? Price points range widely, depending on the vendor and the type of stone, as well as the size and quality. An 3-foot amethyst cathedral might run upwards of $3,000. A 7-inch water clear Lemurian seed crystal wand? About $2,000-$3,000 on Etsy. A selenite tabletop for your altar could run about $4,000. A giant quartz cluster the size of your coffee table could range anywhere from $2,000- $10,000 or more, depending. Gem shows are a great place to experience the range of crystal formations and their prices. I also recommend Insta-drooling over the museum-quality specimens at Crystalworks Gallery in Vancouver.
Do they need to wash them or soak them in salt or something before they start using them? I’ve heard that you need to clean crystals in moonlight? Is that a thing? Do you do that?
Yes, cleanse them, for sure! A crystal picks up energy from everyone who touches it, and you want to bring it into a pure state before you start your work. The bonus here is that the act of cleansing the crystal — taking a quiet, focused moment with it — brings you into alignment with it and makes its energy more accessible to you. There are lots of ways to go about this, which can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be complicated! Pick the one that seems the most right/fun/powerful to you.
Keep in mind that some crystals don’t like water (selenite, hematite, pyrite, calcite) and some crystals can fade in harsh sunlight (fluorite, amethyst, rose quartz). Do your research on this subject if you have concerns about any of your specific stones.
Here are some options for cleansing, but again, do what makes sense to you!
- Run them under cool water for a quick cleansing, visualizing any negative energy washing away.
- Soak for a few hours in warm water and a sprinkle of pink Himalayan salt or sea salt. I like to write my intention for the crystal on a small piece of paper and place that under the bowl. Be sure your crystal is okay with both water and salt.
- Smudge with sage or palo santo (my fave!).
- Bury in your garden, a potted plant, or a bowl of sand for a couple of days.
- Bury overnight in brown rice (I like to add dried lavender as well).
- Cleanse with larger formations of other stones. Quartz and amethyst clusters are great for this, as are selenite bars, which are pretty inexpensive.
- Clear with sound using a meditation chime, gong, or Tibetan singing bowl.
Another note on cleansing: as you go along, you’ll start to understand that different crystals correspond with different elements. I was on my way to feeling this out when I discovered Australian crystal healer Adam Barralet’s elemental cleansing videos. For instance, citrine is the stone of the sun, and moonstone, of (duh) the moon. There are watery stones (ocean jasper, chrysocolla, larimar), and fiery stones (carnelian, garnet). I absolutely love bringing my water stones to the creek here in Austin, when it’s flowing, and rinsing them in little waterfalls. And it just makes sense to quickly swipe my carnelian through a match flame a few times to clear it of residue. Then there’s air, the great purifier. I’m a Libra with my moon and ascendant in Aquarius, so I feel this one super strongly. Fluorite and celestite are air crystals, and they can be cleansed by leaving them outside on a windy day, or by gently blowing on them while visualizing all negativity and heaviness gently blowing away. I suppose you could see cleansing with sage or palo santo as an air-based method, which is probably why that’s my favorite one!
The next step in the process, if you feel so compelled, is to charge your crystals. This boosts their energy and gets them all buzzy and ready to work. My favorite way to charge stones is with sunlight or moonlight, depending on the crystal. Another great option for charging is laying smaller pieces (especially jewelry) on top of a larger crystal like quartz or amethyst cluster, or a selenite bar as mentioned above.
Some people feel it’s necessary to program or dedicate their crystals. You can be as specific as you like by holding it in your hands and asking that the crystal serve a certain purpose for your highest good, or you can simply ask that it be used for love and light. I feel that a crystal’s inherent structure is what determines its properties, therefore programming is not really something you need to worry about, but if it sounds good to you, DO IT! For real, so much of this is about what resonates for you personally, and about the rituals you build around this work. Take the time and space to get quiet with this process, and see what makes sense to your inner voice.
What are the best ways to use crystals? I know you wear yours sometimes — tell me more about that!
Really, the best way to use crystals is to keep them around you — in your pocket or purse, on your desk, under your pillow, next to you while you’re watching TV, etc. Jewelry is a great way to connect with them as well. I’m a big fan of mala or chip bracelets, which you can find pretty much anywhere for about $5–$10 each. Pendants, rings, earrings, whatever your accessory vibe is. If you don’t have a jewelry piece that matches your intention or your outfit, stash a small tumbled stone or two in your bra — really! — and you’ll get the vibe you want without compromising your look. Etsy is a goldmine for unique crystal gemstone jewelry, as well as individual specimens. Jewelry shopping for the health and development of your mind, body, and spirit? Um, YES PLEASE!
What are some good resources for people who want to learn more?
Oh my, there are TONS of resources out there to get yourself educated. I’m constantly discovering new voices in the crystal space. Every time I find myself interested in a new stone, I go to trusted books, websites, and videos and use the compilation of their impressions to form my own starting place. Here are some of my faves:
The Encyclopedia of Crystals: Revised and Expanded by Judy Hall: A gorgeous, colorful compendium of like, a gazillion different crystals — their chemistry, corresponding chakra/sign/planet, and their properties both physical and metaphysical.
The Book of Stones: Who They Are and What They Teach by Robert Simmons and Naisha Ahsian: Such a cool, deep interpretation of 455 different stones. The authors’ perspectives complement each other nicely.
Love is in the Earth: A Kaleidoscope of Crystals by Melody: The ultimate old-school, downloaded-from-a-higher-power reference guide, now in paperback! Gotta have this.
Hibiscus Moon Crystal Academy: Hibiscus Moon is definitely a leader in the field. background as a science teacher keeps her perspective grounded, and she’s truly a delight. Sign up for her newsletter and then check out her YouTube channel as an entry point.
Dreaming of Avalon: Sean and Lyn are an ah-DOR-able Irish couple with a giant stockpile of charming videos about different stones, and also sacred places around the UK. I want to hang out with them and go on a hike. Pretty sure we’d see some fairies.
Spirit Science’s Four-Part Crystal Movie: This is a must-watch. I revisit it myself about once a year. It gives you a full and juicy context of what crystals are, their history, how they work, and how to use them to enhance your life.
Finally, if all this crystal magic draws you in and makes you tingly, I strongly suggest that you GO TO A GEM SHOW in your area! It is an awesome experience, in the true sense of the word. Even if you aren’t feeling the metaphysical piece, you cannot deny the total mind-blowingness of these ancient Earth-babies. Check out the gem and mineral exhibits at the museums in your town. SPECIMENS, y’all. Get into it.
Audrey Ference is a writer living in Austin who can never quite get it together to remember when the full moon is happening. Follow her on twitter @audreyference.