Healing Gemstones

Crystal healing is an alternative medicine technique that employs gemstones and crystals. Believers of the technique claim that the crystal or gemstone has healing (metaphysical) properties that when placed on different parts of the body often corresponding to the chakras, or around the body to construct an energy grid, that will heal aliments.

Gemstone medicine has a very long history. Stated in Gemstones, Symbols of Power and Beauty by Eduard Gubelin and Franz-Xaver Erni, St. Hildegard von Bingen, born in 1098, “…always used whole gemstones. They were either placed in the mouth for a while or steeped in wine, which was then consumed -naturally without the gemstone!”

Gubelin and Erni also stated that “The Zurich polyhistorian, doctor, natural historian, and theologian Conrad Gesner (1516-1565) was of the opinion that each of the gems mentioned in The Revelations to John (chapter 21, verses 19 and 20) had a special arcanum (secret).”

Despite the popularity of crystal healing, this alternative medicine is not popular with most medical doctors and scientists. There is no evidence that crystal healing can be used to cure diseases because diseases have never been fond to be the result of a “energy flow” in the body. There have not been any scientific studies to show that crystals and gemstones can be differentiated by chemical composition or color to treat a particular ailment. Therefore crystal healing is believed to be pseudoscientific. Alleged successes of crystal healing can be attributed to the placebo effect.

In 1999, researchers French and Williams conducted a study to investigate the power of crystals compared with a placebo. Eighty volunteers were asked to meditate for five minutes while holding either a quartz crystal or a fake crystal they believed to be real. After meditating, many of the participants reported feeling a warm sensation in the hand holding the quartz crystal or the fake crystal while meditating as well as an increased feeling of overall well being. The researchers found that the effects were found by both those holding the quartz crystal and the fake crystal. The study was repeated in 2001 by French, O’Donnell, and Williams in order to add a double-blind component to the study design. Similar results were produced.

Some medical doctors will tolerate crystal healing to a very limited degree. They see it more as a therapy that can induce relaxation which is therapeutic for stress management. However crystal healing can be extremely dangerous or even fatal if it causes people with illnesses to avoid or delay seeking medical treatment.

Authors Note

This subject matter could be easily discussed in much more detail. I wanted to touch the subject without getting into the major depth of the science. I realize that there are people who believe that crystal healing does work. For myself, I look up metaphysical properties out of curiousity and fun. If it gives me another excuse to purchase a gemstone, all the better (Giggle)! In addition to Gubelin and Erni’s Gemstones, Symbols of Power and Beauty, material for this blog was found on Wikipedia and an article written by Elizabeth Palermo for “Live Science” dated January 20, 2015.

 

Identifying A Colored Gemstone

One of the more challenging assignments a gemologist may have is to correctly identify colored gemstones, usually for appraisal purposes. At first thought this may seem like an easy task. As a matter of fact, there are many people who have worked in the fine jewelry industry for years that cannot correctly identify colored gemstones, I have worked with many. Identification first starts with a clean stone under a 10x gemscope. The color(s) throughout the stone and the type of inclusions offer a hint of what the stone may be. Another test using a Refractometer, which tests the gemstones ability to slow down or bend light, also aids in the id. Without getting to technical, the amount of slowing down of light it does is referred to as the Refractive Index (RI). The RI along with what was found, and not found, in the gemscope can lead to an identification. There are several other tests that a gemstone could undergo in determining what it is, but again, to keep this from getting to technical, we will just stay with these two tests as they are the most important.

In order to complete the requirements for a Colored Gemstone Graduate degree from the Gemological Institute of America, the final exam is to correctly identify twenty gemstones. A very taunting task I assure you. Let’s have some fun and see if you can pass a three stone test.  From the three color groups below, pick out a Ruby, a Sapphire, and an Emerald.

Which is the Ruby?

1-rubypyrope-garnet

 

 

 

 

Which is the Sapphire?

blue-sapphireblue-spinel kyanite

 

 

 

 

Which is the Emerald?

chrome-diopside1-emeraldtsavorite-garnet

 

 

 

 

Left to Right:                                                                                                Red: Ruby, Pyrope Garnet, Red Diamond                                                  Blue: Sapphire, Blue Spinel, Kyanite                                                       Green: Chrome Diopside, Emerald, Tsavorite Garnet

So how did you do? Pyrope Garnet, Blue Spinel, Kyanite, and Tsavorite Garnets can be found in numerous pieces of fine jewelry, usually only found in specialty/designer fine jewelry stores. A Red Diamond is extremely rare and you will probably only see one in photos. Chrome Diopside is great for the look of an Emerald but at a much lower price, however it is not commonly used.

If you are looking for a particular piece of jewelry, unless you really want a specific stone, you may want to be open minded about what Mother Nature has to offer. After all, not all blue stones are Sapphires and not all Sapphires are blue!