By Renee

Have you walked past one of those Chinese shops with a bunch of beads and stones? Those are mainly selling “crystals”. When most people think of crystals, they probably think of diamonds. However, in “crystal healing”, crystals refer to semi-precious stones like quartz or amethyst that supposedly can do miraculous things like boost your immune system. Yes, crystal healing is pseudoscientific and has no proof. As an NUS High student, I do not believe in any of the powers that these rocks supposedly have. However, I do believe that these rocks are quite pretty and that looking at lovely things will make you happy.  

Now, let’s take a look at some types of crystals and their alleged benefits.  

Let’s start with quartz, a common crystal which is sometimes called a “master healer”. It is said to improve your mental faculties and boost the effect of other crystals. Most of the time, quartz is semi translucent with a whitish tone, called clear quartz. There are also varieties like rose quartz, which is pink due to impurities of titanium, iron, or manganese. But hang on, if you are browsing the Wikipedia entry for quartz, why are there so many varieties that look like completely different crystals? Well it turns out that the most common crystals you’ll see people selling are all just quartz variants, even though they do not have quartz in their names, like tiger’s eye and citrine. If you believe in their powers, they all have unique ones, despite technically being the same mineral, silicon dioxide.  

The aforementioned rose quartz promotes love and harmony; amethyst, a quartz that ranges from light to dark purple, is for healing and treating insomnia; citrine, another quartz variety that is yellow in colour due to ferric impurities, brings wealth, improves creativity and treats diabetes. There are actually two types of citrine, one is naturally found in the ground and another is amethyst which has been heat-treated to give it a yellowish-orange colour. 

Lastly, let me introduce another common crystal, fluorite, which is not a quartz! It is composed of calcium fluoride and has a wide range of colours. It is mainly purple and green, but some can even be yellowish in colour. It is said to absorb negative energy and help in decision making. 

A few samples of fluorite from my own collection 

An important part of ‘crystal healing’ is cleansing and recharging crystals, to get rid of negative energy supposedly absorbed by the crystal. This involves things like running crystals under water, putting it in the sunshine or moonlight, burning sage and using singing bowls. However, be aware that some crystals are soluble in water, so that you don’t see your $50 honey calcite get washed away. Normally people will consult the Mohs hardness scale and recommend you do not let crystals with a 4 and under value to be in water. However, due to Covid-19, I have washed pieces of fluorite, which has a value of 4, and it was perfectly fine. I would say, just refrain from washing anything expensive. 

If you are looking to purchase a crystal, you will also realise that they are often carved into a huge variety of shapes, like bears, owls, foxes, fish, cubes, towers, hearts and so on. This is my favourite part about crystals, because no matter what you believe, their purpose is ultimately for decoration. So have fun exploring the world of crystals and enjoy collecting them!  

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