Opinion: Crystal craze – America’s new interest in metaphysical realm

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Kalyani Rao

From left to right, rose quartz, citrine, lapis lazuli, tiger’s eye, amethyst and a second rose quartz stone are pictured on junior Kalyani Rao’s windowsill. All of them were purchased from local crystal shops. “I really like having crystals in my room,” Rao said. “Seeing the sunlight shine through all the tiny facets and imperfections on the stones is just gorgeous. No crystal is exactly the same as another one, and I find that so beautiful.”

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The beginnings of crystal use

In history books, crystals are often described as an overall positive force. They were historically a major part of ancient Egyptian lifestyle, particularly in their beauty rituals, stemming from revered mythology. Isis, the goddess of healing and magic, would supposedly go to the river to massage rose quartz on her face — long before facial rollers existed. In addition to their usage for beauty benefits, crystals were often not only used to identify royalty, but also carved into amulets for protection, and were usually buried in tombstones to support the soul in the afterlife. 

Crystal healing has been used in Asian societies for a millennium as well. Some well-known concepts have been reused in modern healing work, most notably being the Chinese concept of life-energy (chi or qi) and the Hindu or Buddhist concept of chakras, which are vortices of this life-energy, said to connect the physical and supernatural elements of the body. These concepts share the common theme of earthly balance, along with the grounding power of using nature’s resources to calm one’s body.

Humans have always sought to heal and regenerate in nature, and crystals carry powerful vibrations that bring positive energy and daily manifestations of wellness to their users. From ancient Egyptians to witches in medieval Europe, crystals have served as powerful talismans to bring good fortune to people. 

Modern crystal usage

Two large pieces of raw rose quartz are pictured side by side. In the sunlight, rose quartz is pink and semi-opaque. Crystals are most commonly purchased raw or tumbled; raw is how they’re found naturally, and tumbled crystals have been polished and sometimes shaped, which gives a more sleek and refined look to them. Polished stones are just as beautiful as raw stones- it all comes down to the preference of the buyer. 

Some well known crystals include clear quartz, amethyst, rose quartz, jade and citrine. These are crystals most people will stumble upon in gift shops, metaphysical shops and even box stores like Target. This doesn’t mean they aren’t powerful — clear quartz is recognized as the crystal with the most powerful healing properties, along with the abilities to calm and soothe the mind. Its abilities include amplifying energy and aiding concentration and memory. Physically, clear crystals can help stimulate the immune system and balance out the whole body. This stone is often paired with others like rose quartz to aid and enhance their abilities.

Many other crystals work in similar ways. One crystal, Jasper, is known as a “supreme nurturer,” empowering the spirit and supporting people through times of stress by providing protection from negative vibrations. It also promotes courage, quick thinking and confidence, and these are traits that are extra helpful when tackling personal issues.

Both WebMD and the Guardian agree that metaphysical stores have seen a massive uptick in buyers since early 2020. It is clear that in 2021, Americans are increasingly resorting to alternative and non-Western healing methods. 

Some sources have varying viewpoints on the overall effects of crystals. According to The Guardian, there is no scientific proof to support claims of crystal power, but metaphysical shop owner, Brian Busse, who leads prospecting tours in addition to his mining business, said he doesn’t express a strong feeling either way on the topic.

“I’ve seen them put a smile on thousands of faces,” Busse said. “If that’s not good medicine, I don’t know what is.” 

My own experiences with crystals

Personally, I think alternative health and medicine practices are super beneficial if you keep your mind open to them. Acupuncture is something that I’ve found is very relaxing if done by a qualified doctor. Well-researched supplements and vitamins that I take have improved my health and wellbeing. Crystals have always been a source of fascination to me since I was young. My mom has encouraged me for as long as I can remember, and she’s always advised that getting closer to nature is a great way to improve yourself.

I’m grateful to crystals for helping improve my mental health, but they also provide a welcome aesthetic addition to any room. I think it’s okay to enjoy things, whether the reason is determined “valid” by the public or not. 

Final takeaway

It’s not immediately clear whether American interest in metaphysical healing is warranted. Even if there are no medical effects, one could say that merely feeling good energy from a crystal, whether real or imagined, is a good enough reason to believe in their power. Crystals may be providing the daily relaxation necessary to live an enjoyable life for many people. If that’s the case, they may be more valuable than we think.