One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is "How can I learn more about what each crystal is used for?" While I tend to shy away from absolutes in terms of crystal associations, there are some commonly used crystals with widely accepted properties. I plan to keep this list updated as I recall and come across new stones that I feel belong to the list.
But, it wouldn't be my blog if I didn't stress that your own personal interpretation and perspective is most important. Plenty of people report that crystals don't work for them the way others say they should. I plan to explore how crystals might work in a future article, but for now, take all of this information with a big chunk of pink Himalayan salt.
Important disclaimer: Crystals or other metaphysical practices should never be used in place of scientific, vetted, medical treatments. They are best used in conjunction with evidence-based medicine.
Agate is a name given to many kinds of banded chalcedony, a mineral of the quartz group. Stones such as dendritic agate and moss agate are not actual agates because they don't have banding, but they'll be listed here as well.
The name "agate" comes from the river Achetes in Sicily, where many agates were found. They've been used by ancient Egyptians and Indians, and by German stonecutters in the Middle Ages.
Blue Lace Agate features light blue and white bands, and is usually found in South Africa. It's associated with improved communication, confidence, and intent.
Dendritic Agate is typically light in color with small black inclusions that resemble tree or fern branches, and usually comes from Brazil, India, or the US. It's associated with inner work on oneself, such as therapy, mediation, rebirthing, and twelve-step programs.
Fire Agate is brown with flashy, rainbow-like refractions inside, and is often found in Mexico. It is used by some to inspire a zest for living, and to help those in search of an 'in-the-body' experience.
Moss Agate is a green and transparent chalcedony with dendritic inclusions, usually from India. It's associated with balance and stability in the physical domain, and is recommended by some for those in recovery from an illness.
One of my personal favorites, Amazonite is a blue-green alkali feldspar, named for the Amazon River, where many deposits are found. It's also prevalent in Colorado, India, Madagascar, Namibia, and Russia, and has been used by ancient cultures for thousands of years. In fact, the seventh chapter of the Egyptian Book of the Dead was engraved on Amazonite.
It is called "the peacemaker stone" by some, as it's thought to assist in harmony, both within the self and among people. It's used to help express one's true thoughts without being overly emotional.
Amethyst is one of those stones I see advertised to perfect your life in all ways. For those of you who also practice with herbal remedies, this stone is akin to rosemary in its expansive uses. This could be due to it affecting people differently, overzealous 'snake oil' salespeople, or just the popularity and beauty of the stone itself.
Amethyst is a member of the quartz family, tinted purple by traces of iron and aluminum, plus natural or applied irradiation. It's found all over the world, including Brazil, Mexico, Africa, North America, and Russia, and has been used by humans since pre-historic times.
In modern times, some of it's main associations are protection and purification, as well as divine connections. As it's thought to stimulate the mind and open the 'third eye,' it's also often chosen for intuitive work and psychic abilities.
Aventurine, another member of the quartz family, comes in many colors, including blue and red, but green is the most common in the marketplace. It's name is derived from the Italian word 'a ventura,' a type of glass discovered around 1700. It's most commonly found in Brazil, India, and Russia.
Green aventurine is tinted by fuchsite particles, and is thought to assist with taking growth and life changes in stride, such as a new job, home, school, or relationship, or even acceptance of the aging process itself.
Though tourmaline is found in a variety of colors, such as pink, red, blue, brown, gold, 'watermelon,' and as occlusions in clear quartz, black tourmaline is the most widely used, and overall one of the most popular for spiritual work.
Tourmalines in general are a complex aluminum borosilicate. When they are gem quality, they have a hardness similar to quartz, but the more common black tourmaline used by crystal enthusiasts tends to be brittle and may easily crumble or break along bands. Black tourmaline is often found in Brazil, Africa, Pakistan, and Maine in the US.
It's most commonly used for psychic protection against negative energies, what some may call 'bad vibes.' Even when not faced with such situations, some use it as a way to purify themselves of negative thoughts, anxieties, or anger.
Like agates, bloodstone, also known as heliotrope, is a type of chalcedony. Most often it's dark green with red spots, thought to have been Christ's blood in the Middle Ages, but it may also include brilliant yellow, orange, and grays. It's often found in India, China, Brazil, Australia, and the US.
Bloodstone is thought to support strength, vitality, and courage, and is used to provide stamina during physical difficulties. On the emotional front, it's said to inspire the courage one needs to take action and follow one's true path.
Another kind of chalcedony, carnelian is a brilliant red-orange, named for the resemblance to the color of the Cornel cherry. Most stones on the market come from Brazil, Uruguay, and India.
In ancient and modern times, carnelian is associated with courage, confidence, and sexuality. It was worn by warriors in some cultures to embolden themselves when going into battle, and today is often used to bring forward assertiveness, passion, and power.
By far the most common, versatile, and most well-known crystal in metaphysical circles, clear quartz, sometimes called 'rock crystal,' is the base for amethyst, citrine, rose, and all other varieties of quartz. It's a silicon dioxide, and is one of the most abundant minerals on earth, used in man-made glass, watches, radios, microphones, and computers. This does not necessarily dilute it's metaphysical value, as it could be said it best represents our earth's properties.
Cultures around the world have found meaning in quartz crystals, from Japan, to Europe, to Asia, to the Americas, to the aboriginal tribes of Australia. It is said to be 'programmable,' meaning that the user may channel intent or energies into the stone, instead of the stone coming with properties of its own; a literal blank slate. Though many stones are thought to have this 'energy memory,' clear quartz is also said to amplify this intent. Some would caution that this could also backfire, if used improperly or if negative intent is used.
A variety of quartz, citrine gets it's yellow color from iron impurities. Named for the French word 'citron,' meaning lemon, it can vary from a pale yellow to deep orange.
Most stones sold as "citrine" are actually heat-treated amethysts, artificially made yellow. This is especially true when the bottom of the stone is white and the top is a deep yellow-orange. Though these stones still have uses, it's only fair that you know what you're actually buying. (I plan to expand on commonly faked stones in a future article, so check out the rest of the collection for more on this.) Natural citrine is usually a pale yellow-green, or even dark brown, and is commonly found in Brazil, Africa, Madagascar, Spain, Russia, France, Scotland, and the US.
Citrine is often used to enhance imagination and creativity, and I've heard it called 'the happy stone,' for its reported ability to lighten one's mood. Those looking to improve their willpower to create, manifest, and maintain effort through adversity may find natural citrine useful.
Like agates and quartz stones, jasper is another large category of minerals with varying appearances and reported properties. Jasper itself is actually a form of quartz, but unlike the fibrous layers found in quartz, jasper's crystalline structure is more like grains of sand or sugar.
It is found all over the world, and it's appearance and name are associated with the inclusions from the local environment, which can be up to 20% of the stone itself. Below are some of the most commonly used jasper varieties.
Red Jasper is usually a solid reddish brown, and is associated with physical strength, stamina, and vitality.
Mook Jasper (Mookaite) is made of a blend of bright red and yellow stone, and is said to help one to 'know' the decision or path to take. It is associated with the enhancement of will and personal power.
Fancy Jasper comes in many colors, and is usually spotted or speckled with bright, contrasting hues. It reportedly assists with discipline and resisting procrastination (useful!), grounding us so that we may focus on whatever mundane tasks need completion.
Picture Jasper is named for the landscape-like look the stone creates. It may be used in meditation to connect with the Earth's energies, helping to counteract the separation many modern humans are beginning to feel.
Unakite Jasper is a blend of green and light pink spots, and is said to assist with healing of trauma, and slowly eliminating bad habits, such as overeating, or addictions.
By far one of the most attractive stones, labradorite is generally a dark blue or grey color until held in the light. At the right angle, the best labradorite will 'flash' bright blue, green, yellow, orange, or all of these colors at once.
It is a feldspar calcium aluminum silicate, and named for the Labrador peninsula in Canada, where it was first discovered in 1770. Other types of labradorite, usually named for where they are mined, are spectrolite (Finland) and larvikite (Scandinavia).
Labradorite is one of the stones most commonly used in divination, thought to activate the 'third eye,' and boost intuition. Due to this, it's also used as a protection stone.
Lapis Lazuli, meaning 'blue stone' in Latin, is a deep blue sodium aluminum silicate with inclusions of pyrite and white calcite, creating its famous glittering appearance.
Many ancient cultures used lapis lazuli for metaphysical and ornamental purposes, but the Ancient Egyptians were particularly fond of the stone. They carved lapis lazuli scarabs and placed them in the wrappings of the deceased, hoping to assist them in their journey to the world of the dead. Pharaoh Tutankhamen's sarcophagus is heavily decorated with the stone. It's even said Cleopatra ground it to make her iconic blue eyeshadow.
Much like the ancient cultures, lapis lazuli is used by modern humans to communicate with the divine, and is thought to activate psychic abilities, and enhance memory and self-knowledge.
Another personal favorite, larimar is a bright ocean-blue pectolite sodium calcium silicate, formed as tiny needle-like crystals aggregate in cavities in basaltic lava. Though it is often associated with water due to its appearance, it's born in fire, and I find this to be an interesting contrast. It is only found on the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean, and so it is quite rare, and thus, somewhat expensive.
Larimar is thought to have cooling, soothing properties, relieving stress, calming fears, and diffusing anger. (Be careful when storing your larimar, as it will bleach in the sunlight, losing its beautiful, deep blue color.)
Often purple, grey, or desaturated pink with flashy, silver specks, lepidolite is a potassium lithium aluminum silicate. It's found in Africa, Brazil, Greenland, and the US.
Due to it's lithium inclusions (similar to tourmaline), lepidolite is attributed with healing and balancing energies, and is often used by those seeking to improve mental health issues. It is said to calm frayed nerves, stave off worry, and assist with the grieving process.
Malachite is a copper carbonate, usually cut to show contrasting bands of light and dark green, and may include instances of blue azurite as well. It's named for the Greek word 'malakos,' meaning soft, and has been used by people dating back to ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt. Today, it's usually mined from Australia, Chile, South Africa, and the US.
Unfortunately, malachite is another stone often faked, sold as 'reconstituted malachite.' This means likely very small or imperfect stones have been ground to a powder, dyed or sorted into light and dark green piles, and then pressed into a stone shape. Sometimes, only the exterior of reconstituted malachite is green, and the white interior of the stone will show when scratched. The quickest way to tell, is to observe the sheen and weight of the stone. Real malachite is usually very reflective and quite heavy, while reconstituted malachite appears dull, may scratch easily, and is much lighter in weight. Due to scarcity caused by socioeconomic issues in Africa where the stone is often mined, malachite is also quite expensive when real.
Malachite is said to hold the energy of an enlightened leader, and is associated with such qualities, like confidence, willpower, and even a little luck. It's also used as a protection stone, thought to make users more aware of threats.
Obsidian is a glassy, silica-based volcanic rock with no regular geometric pattern. It is named for Obsius, a Roman traveler in Ethiopia who discovered the stone. Though obsidian comes in mahogany, rainbow, snowflake, and peacock varieties, black obsidian is the most commonly used.
Black obsidian is said to eliminate negative energies and cleanse the environment of anger, greed, and fear, grounding the user. It's also used in scrying, thought to display images when viewed in dark light, like a crystal ball.