This post has been a long time coming friends, and I am so excited to share this info with you! I've always been a rock collector, ever since I was kid. I would make my Dad take me a local gem store, Perham's of Maine, on the way up to our ski vacations every winter so I could add to my growing collection of gems, stones, and regular old rocks. I loved collecting, identifying, and classifying them, and would organize them into little plastic cases to keep them safe. It made me feel more interested in and connected to nature and was such a fun way to pass the time - plus they didn't need to be walked or fed, unlike my dog or my Giga Pets!
It's no surprise really that as an adult I still totally nerd out on geological formations of all kinds, but especially those on a smaller scale. I love collecting beautiful crystals and stones to keep around my house both for the decoration and also because much like having a plant indoors, they act as a way to help bring nature inside and fuse the inner with the outdoor in modern living spaces. That said, there is a lot more interest in crystals, gems, and their possible healing benefits these days. Maybe it's exacerbated because I live just outside of LA, but it seems like everyone here is hopping on the crystal-collecting' bandwagon. And not to say that its a bad thing - I'm all for sharing and spreading positive energy and power everywhere we go, but it is something we should have a serious conversation about so you can make sure you're being ethical and you know what the heck you're talking about when you show up at your witchy friend's New Moon circle next month!
Get Educated Before we get into my favorite stones, why I use them, and how I use them - let's start with the serious stuff. Transparency is key, my friends. My friend and podcast co-host Nathalie recently forwarded me this post after our conversation about crystals. I figured there were some stones collected in less than ethical or ideal ways, but had no idea at the overall lack of traceability in this industry. Don't get me wrong - there are a lot of ethical, law abiding, living wage-paying mines; but it would be remiss for us to ignore that there are also very sketchy, illegal situations happening to fill the ever growing demand we Westerners are placing on the industry. I recommend you check out the article here, and please do your research before buying. That said, let's talk about where to start!
Creating Your Collection When starting your collection, it can be really fun and eye opening to let your stones choose you. Stay with me! When you're walking around a rock shop, gem fair or high-end crystal store you're going to be naturally more drawn to some stones than others. Obviously. This is natural, depending on what colors and textures you like, but also says a little something about what energy you're giving off and drawing in. As a yoga instructor, I firmly believe in the exchange of energy. I feel it, in almost every class I teach, and I know we as humans feel it when we walk into a room and are naturally drawn to certain people or pieces of furniture, too. You might not know why you want to walk over and pick up the crustal quarts on the counter, but maybe its because you're drawn to the calming qualities the stone possesses as well! We'll get more into that in a bit, but I want you to know that where you start is where you start. There aren't a basic 5 stones you need, although I will totally tell you about some of my favorites. It's more about starting to build a collection based on what you love and what you need in your life, and allowing that to guide your selection.
With the note from above in mind, deciding where to buy your stones can be tricky business. I recommend doing a little research on origin countries and practices of your favorite gems, and then ask before you buy. If they look at you like you're nuts, they probably don't know where they got them either. And if being friends with my fellow gem lover Nathalie has taught me anything, it's to SHOP AROUND! I would never buy a crystal at any of the trendy places we constantly pass by because they are crazy overpriced and rarely what I'm looking for. I've had better luck online and at gem fairs, which are basically local bazaars that seem crystals, stones, beads and gems for jewelry. They often sell them at wholesale prices or in bigger quantities, and it can be a fun way to get a bunch at a time or split the price and the stones with a few friends. When buying your stones I still think you should let your intuition guide you - but also, let the CLARITY guide you! Clearer, more consistent pieces with better clarity may be more expensive, but it's because they're the nicest ones. You can sometime find hidden gems (no pun intended), but note that if you're willing to sacrifice a bit on cut and clarity, you'll save a lot of cash. In the end, like any material object, it's value really lies in what it means to you and how much joy it brings you. Allow that to guide how much you pay for them and how many you feel like you want or need. While some cuts will hold their value forever, these stones have never been more popular to the average shopper than they are right now - so expect them to relapse again slightly in value someday.
Cleansing, Charging, and Creating an Energetic Space Once you do start building a collection, you can place a bunch of your crystals in one place, creating a small altar or energetic space or opt to spread them around your space. I have a bit of both because I've amassed quite a few crystals at this point, so I have a small tray I keep my smaller stones and stones I meditate with on, and then I have a few of my larger crystals placed in various window sills, near plants, and in my workspace to keep the creative juices and the good energy flowing.
Wherever you decided to place them in your home, you're going to want to cleanse them first. Not literally, although if you've found cracked them open yourself them may need a little dirt removal. Cleansing is the way you choose to wash the stones of their previous energies and open them to receiving new, positive energy and an intention for use. We talk a lot about this over in Episode 4 of my Real Good Podcast, 'Crystals and Creating a Positive Energetic Space' and I recommend heading there if the words 'sage' and 'palo santo' mean absolutely nothing to you. I'll break down the basics: sage leaves are dried, wrapped and sold in bundles for burning and palo santo wood from fallen branches is collected, cut, and sold in bundles as well online, at mystic and crystal shops and often yoga studios, too. Both these methods of burning and cleansing the air and energy of a space or an object have been used by different groups of people for thousands of years, and we're just borrowing from that spiritual belief when we cleanse out crystals - but with the same intention of coaxing as much positive energy as possible from the stones themselves. Sage is used to cleanse ALL energy from a space, while palo santo is used to rid bad energy AND encourage the promotion of new, good energy. You can use them alone or together. You can also cleanse your crystals in the sunlight, moonlight, ocean water, and by 'earthing' them in the ground - though I know far less about those options and have always opened to sage and palo santo my space and my crystals. When I do charge my crystals, I leave them outside in the full or blue moonlight for one night from sun down until sun up. Again, there are other ways to charge including sunlight for some types and earthing as well. But that's it! Super easy. Re-cleanse them afterward and bring them back into your space, renewed with energy and positivity.
Setting Intentions Once you've cleansed your crystals, you've got to give them a job! I've had a lot of friends say that they have crystals in their homes, but feel like they aren't doing anything. "How do I know they're working?!" Again, like we tell you in yoga - you can practice all you want, but if you don't have a purpose, a drive, a motivation - what is it all for? So give your crytsal babies something to do! If you picked up a crystal that is good for the heart and love, encourages opening of the heart chakra and deeper connections with friends and loved ones - tell it why you picked it. Maybe you've been feeling a struggle in your love life, maybe you leave it in the bedroom to promote good relations for you and your partner, maybe you hold it every time you chat on the phone with your mom to relieve stress and invite compassion. Maybe you just bought a stone that is good for ridding a space of bad energy and you leave it near the front door; these all work, but make sure you communicate your intention to your crystal so you can start becoming open to receiving any energetic benefits it may provide! Since you let your stones choose you, you usually end of finding stones that will bring you the exact benefits you need.
You can use your crystals in so many different ways, but some of my favorite ways to enjoy my crystals and optimize their benefits is to use them while I'm meditating. You can hold the crystal, work it in your hands like a worry stone, channeling all of your stress into the stone itself. You can try using them at bath time in or around the tub, and even try sleeping with them near you to help improve sleep. And there's always the option to buy your crystals and use them simply as beautiful, natural decor in your home!
Now, obviously being that this is an energy discussion and science is still working on figuring out basic human energy transactions, there isn't a lot of hard science to back this stuff up. Like many personal practices including mediation, religion, and acupuncture - a lot has to do with your belief and the energy you place into your practice. Here's how I look at it: I don't really know if these crystals have any ability to heal meal from sickness or purify the air - but it can't hurt! I've always enjoyed being around beautiful rocks, and I love bringing a little extra nature into my home. Take all this info in, and leave with what resonates. No need to jump in and buy a bunch of crystals tomorrow, but if you curious about getting started, I say go for it! Now you know where to start. Okay, so onto some of my personal fave crystals to keep in my home!
My Must-Have Crystals (and why!) Amethyst: Thought of as mostly a protective stone (and pictured directly above), Amethyst is one of those crystals we've all seen somewhere. Thought to help purify the mind and clear negative thoughts, Amethyst is also associated with abundance - relieving stress and encouraging prosperity. Because it's color ranges in the most beautiful of pale purples to rich plums it makes great decor in any room, and can aid as a general stress stone - absorbing all of the bad energy in the room and helping to balance the environment. Amethyst is also February babes' birthstone, and is linked to the crown chakra. It's the perfect stone to get started with and can be found pretty easily!
Crystal Quartz: Everyone has seen this stone before. It is THE crustal people think about when their mind shoots to crystal healing. They're pretty easy to find everywhere and are generally inexpensive - though this is one stone where clarity does indeed matter quite a bit when it comes to value. Clear Quartz is known as the "master healer" and will amplify energy and thought, as well as the effect of other crystals. It absorbs, stores, releases and regulates surrounding energy and aids in concentration and memory. Also a chakra aligner, if you're into it. It's a beauty, and a great place to start!
Dumortierite:A blue-hued stone with darker striations, this throat chakra-balancing stone is known to help with language-based skills, patience, and enhancing the connection between your lower and higher chakras (energy centers in the body). I use mind in mediation often, especially when experiencing throat trauma and often after teaching large, loud, yoga sculpt classes. Also said to help awaken psychic abilities, this stone is all about communication. I was given mine as a gift and of course cleansed it myself, but now carry it around whenever I've got a sore throat. I swear - it helps! (Even if it is just the power of suggestion. I'll take it.)
Selenite: This stone is usually long and cylindrical with white crystalline structure, and is super ethereal looking. Known as a cleansing stone, this crystal clears energy blockages in the home and body, and promotes purity and honesty. Selenite if often sold in wand shapes for clearing room energies, but can be found in many variations as well. More fragile than most, these stones are every bit as gorgeous as they are effective.
Black Tourmaline: This stone looks super similar in structure to selenite, but is onyx in color. It is an excellent grounding crystal, encouraging calmness and unwavering strength. It can be great protection against bad energies coming from other people that may affect you, and it a wonderful stone meditating with for concentration and focus. In the real world, black tourmaline can also be found in many electronic devised as a conduit for radio and TV frequencies. Also, it is said to help with motion sickness. I just found that out too, and now I NEED to try it because I'm always nauseas when riding in the back seat!
Rose Quartz: This stone is all about the love, baby. Famous for attracting and keeping love, rose quartz is also used when it comes to healing one's heart from pain and disappointment. Inexpensive and found nearly everywhere, people love this crystal because it carries the universal energy of love, so it attracts love AND helps to heal from painful love experiences as it calms and heals the heart. I keep a few rose quartz crystals in my bedroom to encourage any extra love flow and to to keep the positive benefits nearby as I sleep!
Smoky Quartz: An excellent grounding stone like black tourmaline, smoky quartz neutralizes negative vibrations and is detoxifying on all lovelies, prompting elimination of the digestive system (HI! MUST HAVE) and protecting against fear, depression, and negativity. Promotes positive thoughts, concentration and action, relieves stress and anxiety, and aids in communication difficulties. As shown in the photo below, I often use mine during meditation or as a focal stone when working through some serious digestive discomfort. Great to keep in the bathroom or on your desk, as well!
Fluorite: This stone comes in a variety of colors and thus can have slightly different strengths depending on the color variation. My fluorite is a large, striated purple and green stone, which places an extra focus on balancing hormones and connection the body and rational mind. Fluorite is said to help cleanse and stabilize the aura, absorbing and neutralizing negative energy and stress. Can help with concentration, self-confidence and decision-making. It encourages positivity, balances the energies, and improves balance and coordination, both physically and mentally. Plus - it's GORGEOUS! I use mine in meditation and also leave in on my bookshelf most of the time as decor and for improved vibes in my living room, too.
Resources You made it! I know that was a lot of info, but I think its helpful to have all of that knowledge before moving forward or investing in a crystal collection. My best tips? Start small, ask around for the best prices and, find what you truly need - what resonates with you, personally. Make sure you give the 'Crystals + Creating an Energetic Space' episode of our Real Good Podcast a listen for more discussion on our favorite stones and why we use them, and leave us a review while you're there. You can also check out the Energy Muse website, run by one of my fave crystal guru's, Heather Askinosie. She's also written a book with a breakdown of nearly every stone and crystal and it's use in your space and your practice. Hope this was helpful babes! I'd love to know what stones you got started with in the comments below!