Crystals or gemstones, as they are also known, are millions of years old, and have been a valuable part of many traditions. The first reference to the use of crystals dates back to the Ancient Sumerians, who included them in their magic formulas. The Ancient Egyptians were known to use crystals such as lapis lazuli, turquoise, carnelian, and emerald in their jewellery.

The word ‘crystal’ comes from the Greek word ‘Krustullos’, meaning ‘ice’, as it was believed that clear quartz was water that had frozen so deeply that it would always remain solid.

Until the 1500’s many ancients believed stones like clear quartz were eternal ice sent from the Heavens, and many scholars thought that clear quartz was fossilized ice.

Clear quartz is one of the most common crystals known today and is the second most abundant mineral on Earth.

Egyptians buried their dead with quartz upon the forehead. This was believed to help guide the departed safely into the afterlife.

Quartz is widely used today in watches and clocks to help them tell time because it helps stabilise and regulate the flow of energy. It is also considered the backbone of all computer chips and used in all forms of electronics.

Along with quartz, one of the most common crystals today is Amethyst.

The word for Amethyst, which is a violet variety of quartz, ‘Amethystos’ means ‘not drunken’ of ‘sober’, and was worn as an amulet to prevent both drunkenness and hangovers.

Interestingly in Greek mythology, Amethyst was a young virgin who became the object of the wrath of the Greek God Dionysus after he became intoxicated with red wine.

When Amethyst cried out to Goddess Diana for help, she immediately turned the girl into a white, shimmering stone (quartz). When Dionysus realized what had happened and felt remorse for his actions, his tears dripped into his goblet of red wine. The goblet overturned, and the red wine spilt all over the white rock, he saturating it until it became the purple quartz that is now known as Amethyst.

Aryuvedic medicine considers crystals valuable for healing emotional and metaphysical imbalances.

Chinese medicine commonly incorporates the use of healing crystals, including crystal-tipped needles used in acupuncture. These traditions hail from nearly 5000 years of practice.

So are crystals really as powerful as they are made out to be?

What’s important to remember is that at the most basic level, everything is energy. Crystals are known to oscillate at their own frequencies, and even respond to the input of vibrations.  Every cell within the human body also vibrates at certain frequencies. So the theory behind crystal healing is based on the fact that when we come into contact with a crystal, its vibration interacts with the vibration of the cells in our body.

While many traditions throughout history have believed in the healing properties of crystals, they continue to fascinate the medical and scientific worlds, many of whom refer to crystal healing as a pseudoscience.

In traditional scientific language, the effects of crystals on the human body and psyche are nothing more than a ‘placebo’ effect.

Though when we look at how effective the placebo effect is against medications, they can range from a low of 15 percent to a high of 72 percent. For example, the response rates for placebo in antidepressant clinical trials range from 30% to 40%.

Furthermore, researchers from Harvard Medical School, the University of Connecticut and the University of London performed a meta-analysis of 13 studies on the effectiveness of sleeping drugs and their associated placebo response. They found that half the effect of the drug was due to a placebo response.

So whether it’s real or placebo, crystals really can have an impact. Singer Adele holds a crystal during her performances for good luck, Katy Perry swears by Rose Quartz for relationships, and the Beckhams don’t leave home without them.

Crystals are most commonly known for their use in jewellery or for their natural healing properties, though they are used a lot more commonly in everyday products than we realise.

In the 1960’s, science used ruby crystals in the development of the first lasers.  Today, they are still used in lasers because of their ability to focus energy.

Topaz, which has been known as a powerful magnetic stone throughout the ages to attract love and fortune, is frequently used as an abrasive in many products, including scouring pads and knife sharpeners.

Malachite, which has a beautiful green colour that does not fade over time or when exposed to light, has been used as a pigment for thousands of years. It was one of the oldest known green pigments to be used in paintings.

Black tourmaline, which is known for its strong protective properties against negative energy, as well as being a strong spiritual grounding stone. Is used in many moisturizers and exfoliates. For example, Aveda, the eco skin care range produce an entire line of tourmaline-infused products.

Despite the lack of scientific evidence to back them up, the healing properties of crystals have stood the test of time. If you want to try using them.

Set your intention of what you want the crystal for and then allow the right crystal to come to you.