More than just some pretty stonesFrom aesthetic purposes to ‘spiritual’ and ‘healing’ aid, crystals have become the ‘it’ thing among young adults and teenagers.
Scroll through your Instagram’s Discover page or your TikTok’s FYP page and you are bound to get at least one post mentioning crystals. With the rise of social media and a culture that places a strong emphasis on ‘aesthetic beauty’, the trend of collecting crystals, which are known for being aesthetically pleasing, has become the ‘it’ thing among teenagers and young adults.
Another factor contributing to the rising popularity of crystals is the trend of celebrities and social media influencers using crystals for ‘alternative healing’. As expected, many youngsters have jumped on the bandwagon and started using crystals for ‘spiritual and healing’ purposes.
Using crystals for ‘healing’ really started taking off post-Covid-19. In the first two years of the pandemic, prolonged lockdowns were common. To deal with the isolation and mental distress caused by lockdowns, ‘alternative healing’ became hugely popular, and many found crystals to be the perfect entry point into the world of ‘self-healing’.
So, what exactly is a crystal, and what does it do? According to science, a crystal is any solid material in which the component atoms are arranged in a definite pattern and whose surface regularity reflects its internal symmetry. Some commonly found crystals in our household are ice, salt, sugar, chocolate, etc. Another fascinating fact that many might not be aware of is that crystals are even found in our body! Our very own DNA, the thing that makes us who we are, has a crystalline structure.
Besides your DNA, other crystals that your body makes are hydroxyapatite crystals (which lend your bone and teeth their distinct hardness) and monosodium urate crystals (which are responsible for gout, an inflammatory disease of the joints in the body). Even kidney and gallbladder stones are crystals, but not the pretty kind.
Crystals have always been associated with spirituality. For centuries, ancient cultures have believed crystals to have healing and protective powers, and this belief has been passed down from generations. In the past, knights used to wear garnet rings before heading out for war; doing so was believed to provide them protection against evil. On this side of the world, it is common for astrologers to advise people to wear various crystal gemstones to avoid obstacles and bring good luck.
Though there are people who doubt the healing power of crystals, one cannot argue that these stones have been tied to almost every major culture in one way or another. Lapis lazuli, a type of crystal, was used to paint the robes of the Virgin Mary during the Renaissance. The cultural impact of imperial jade in ancient China is well documented in history.
However, the scientific community denounces ‘healing crystals’ as nothing more than mere placebos. But we must know that crystals have some unique properties hidden in them, and we have used these properties in modern technology.
One of the most popular properties that some crystals have is what is known as piezoelectricity; which means that electricity gets generated when pressure is applied to crystals. This has helped make many technological advancements possible. Crystals are also used in microchips of computers, clocks, LCD displays, printers, and even medical ultrasound machines.
Crystals are also used to make lasers, which are extensively used not only in the industrial sector but also in the medical field. Lasers such as Nd: YAG are used in delicate eye surgeries (angle-closure glaucoma), removing certain skin cancers and thyroid nodules, destroying primary and secondary malignant liver lesions, treating benign prostatic hyperplasia, and many more.
I also don’t think many know that different types of crystals are mined in Nepal. Some common crystals found here in the country are aquamarine from Taplejung, tourmaline from Jajarkot, kyanite from Bara and garnet from Sankhuwasabha. There is even a place in Dhading called Ruby Valley, where villagers once used to mine rubies.
I have fond memories of collecting clear quartz crystals in my village in Damauli where there’s a myth that crystals form where lizards lick ordinary rocks.
The growing demand of crystals and their limited supply has played a huge role in shoring up prices. In the last five years, prices for common crystals, such as clear quartz, fluorite, and calcite, have increased significantly.
With the rise in the popularity of crystals among millennials and gen z, one can only expect the prices of crystals to rise further. However, before buying your crystal, just remember what you intend to buy it for. If it is for ornamental purposes, it is all well and good. However, if you are planning to purchase crystals as a remedy for various physical and mental ailments, it is better to consult a medical professional rather than wait for the crystal to heal you.