They are sparkly. They are colourful. And they come in all shapes and sizes. Mysterious and often hiding lustre beneath their polished or unrefined surfaces, crystals have had roots across cultures and history.
In fact, one can also argue that mankind has long had an affinity with these gorgeous stones.
In Ancient Egypt and numerous tribal villages, crystals such as lapis lazuli or clear quartz, were known to be incorporated into amulets to dispel malign spirits. In Greece, soldiers were known to have rubbed iron-based hematite on their skin for protection in battle. The Aborigines—Australia’s native inhabitants—believed that quartz crystals are used as catalysts to communicate with their ancestors. Even poets and writers of the Middle Ages have used imagery of crystals to represent promiscuity and romance.
Today, crystals have evolved from being a niche oddity into objects of desire. Thanks to their social media-friendly aesthetic and their supposed cosmic spirituality appeal, many today have embraced crystals as part of their life too.
Those in the millennial generation have become enthusiastic purveyors. On Instagram, there are about 12 million posts tagged with #crystals, while there are close to 1 million posts for #crystallove. Celebrities, such as Adele and Kim Kardashian, are also notables who embrace crystals. The English singer-songwriter is known to carry some citrines, a yellowish crystal synonymous with success, before her concerts, while the latter had reportedly turned to crystal healing to recover from a robbery in Paris back in 2016.
While many have tried explaining the craze over these crystals or special gemstones, none have explained it better than Ruby Warrington, author of ‘Material Girl, Mystical World: The Now Age Guide to a High-Vibe Life’. “As our lives have become increasingly intertwined with technology, we’re yearning for practices that reconnect us to humanity or the earth,” she theorized.
Today, crystals can take the form of a lamp, clusters, tower points, pyramids, facial massagers, sex toys, and even “vaginal eggs”—a product from Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle company ‘Goop’ which has since drawn flak and a lawsuit for false advertising and misleading consumers.
Singapore also possesses a growing cohort of crystal collectors and enthusiasts as evident by the numerous crystal listings on Carousell, Etsy and even Instagram.
“I’d like to think that we are looking for answers and something to believe in. The millennial and even the younger generation are looking for ways to connect back with Mother Nature, and collecting crystals is a way of doing so,” says Belicia Sun, who curates, handpicks, and sells crystals on her Instagram store, Illa Nocte. “What’s even better than having beautiful rocks that can beautify your home and also spruce up various aspects of your life too?”
The female demographics, Sun reveals, are often the more enthusiastic collectors. “Women are likely purveyors because we are always drawn to shiny and pretty things,” she says jokingly. “Plus, these are the people who are known to have taken an interest in astrology, which has always strongly associated itself with healing crystals.”
Indeed, one deep-seated belief amongst crystal enthusiasts is that different crystals possess different vibratory frequencies. These frequencies, according to several crystal therapists or spiritual wellness gurus, can be tapped on to improve various aspects of life— pink-hued rose quartz crystals are synonymous with self-love and romance, while clusters of pyrites are meant to manifest luck and money.
And yet, science has long debunked such purported healing properties as imaginary (but mystifying) manifestations. If anything, research into the field has suggested otherwise, and that one reason for any healing phenomenon lies in the power of the mind.
“My customers are always looking for crystals that can help improve their life in the realms of health, career, and even managing and relieving stress,” adds Sun. “While crystals are believed to have such properties, they can also be great motivators. I always tell my customers that they’re not miracle pills and should not be treated as such. When it comes to health issues, (my customers) should always consult a doctor instead of turning to crystals for medical help.”
For Narayanee Singaram, a self-proclaimed Singaporean witch, she adds fragments of crystals into her concoction of mojo bags—amulets of African-American origin that possess some prayers of sorts—for her clients. “Crystals are added into mojo bags to help enhance and empower their healing effects,” says Nara, who founded ‘My Grandmama Secret’ three years ago.
“I select them based on their complementary colours that match my clients’ chakras or auras. To me, crystals serve as tools to help balance the chakras and clear any energy blockages or imbalances off me or my clients.”
For first-timers, the foray into the world of crystals and crystal healing can be a difficult and confounding one. After all, there are a plethora of options to choose from, tons of queries on authenticity, and rules to follow. Nonetheless, one common consensus many crystal sellers share is that crystals, in the 21st century, have become tools that aid in introspection and are capable of opening doors—often by means of motivation—to better oneself.
“The most important thing when choosing crystals is to really ask yourself if you like the crystal. It could be for its colour, shape, texture, or even shine. Sometimes we may be drawn to certain crystals that we never knew existed, so keep an open mind!” Sun says. “I never believe in buying something just because someone says it’s good or that I should; it all depends on whether you like it or not.”
When looking to purchase crystals, it is also crucial to look into their lineages. They ought to be procured from cruelty-free mines. While the price-tags that accompany these crystals can run the gamut from mere tens of dollars to shocking thousands, crystals that are sold online (at least in Singapore) seem to be somewhat cheaper alternatives.
“The process of buying crystals online works the same as shopping at a physical outlet. You’ve got to have a connection with the crystals,” Sun elaborates. “Always buy from trusted sellers when purchasing crystals online, and be on the lookout for customers’ reviews. It can get tricky because you don’t get to see them in person, and sometimes the colours aren’t accurate as to what you see on screens.”
And when you have taken your pick, you would also want to cleanse them once immediately after purchase or before using them. “You can remove the negative energy that has tainted these crystals by those who have touched them. You want the crystals to work for you,” Sun says. “My preferred method is through burning incense around them or running them under tap water. But not all crystals can come in contact with water, those that are salt-based will dissolve.”
There are many ways one can make use of crystals. For the most part, experts recommend users to first charge the crystals with an intention (you can do so via meditation) before displaying them around your space or by simply carrying them around. The common ritual of recharging crystals and reconnecting them back with nature is believed to dispel the negativity that has been stored. For Sun, she recharges the crystals under sunlight or moonlight, while Nara would place used crystals near a selenite (a crystal known to be a charging catalyst) tower.
“Crystals to me are not just ornaments or a fad. It’s a way of life and I have pretty much grown up surrounded by these stones in my house. There’s something special about all these vibrational energies around crystals that would instantly lift me up when I interact with them. I have also met so many like-minded people along the way as I manage Illa Nocte,” Sun says. “To me, crystals aren’t just crystals, they are something that is part of a bigger community.”
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