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Historical and Modern Uses of Crystals and Healing Stones

Health & Wellness

Historical and Modern Uses of Crystals and Healing Stones – How They Help Us Thrive

Welcome to the modern world. The pace of life is sometimes chaotic. Change is constant and can be unsettling. There are many demands on your body, mind, and spirit every day. So, in the modern, what can you do to not just survive, but thrive? This guide will introduce you to important tools to help you thrive in the world utilizing crystals and healing stones. For all the wonders of modern technology, there is great wisdom, connection, and so many answers in these natural healing tools. Crystals and healing stones have been with humans since the beginning of time. Their existence likely preceded plants, animals, and other sentient beings on the planet. The stones were created as the planet formed and continue to be formed as the planet changes. You could say that crystals and healing stones are part of the blueprint for planet Earth. This fact makes them really quite important—original equipment if you will. Highlighted below is a guide to crystals, minerals, and stones, as well as an explanation of how and why you might want to use them in your daily life.

man looking at crystals with magnifine glass

The Science

Healing rocks and crystals have been referred to as the flowers of the geology kingdom. This is certainly true in the physical beauty of some of these crystals and stones. These solid stones are formed as molecules bond together strongly, forming a rigid structure. The stones are either crystalline or amorphous in nature. In amorphous stones, the surfaces are irregular and often curved. These materials can occur in large veins, but even when broken up, they do not produce the smooth flat surfaces of crystals.1 With crystalline materials, the molecules are arranged in regular repeating patterns which can result in smooth, flat faces on the crystal’s surface. Crystals, when struck, can break along the flat plane surfaces because of this molecular arrangement. This is how gems are cut for use in jewelry. Crystals and healing stones are found all over the world. They can form from the cooling of molten material or when elements precipitate out of liquid due to changes in concentration, temperatures, and pressure. Many crystals and stones are formed only in certain areas of the world, with fascinating differences in color variations and structure found in the same stone depending on the location in which it was formed.  

Historical Uses

The history of crystals and healing stones is like a long, winding road. In the earliest days of humanity, there are signs of the use of these gems as amulets and talismans. Some were found in Great Britain made of Baltic amber dated to about 30,000 years ago. Written reference to crystals began with ancient Sumeria, a city in modern-day Israel that existed in the eighth and ninth centuries BCE. In ancient Egypt, stones such as clear quartz, lapis lazuli, carnelian, turquoise, and emeralds were used in amulets and jewelry to help ensure well-being and safety. They can also be found in burial artifacts, and it is known that they were ground and used as cosmetics. The word “crystal” is derived from “ice” in ancient Greek. The Greeks believed that clear quartz was water frozen so deeply it would be solid forever. “Amethyst” is also from the ancient Greek language, meaning “not drunken.” This stone was used then as it is today to help with the negative feelings you get after consuming something with alcohol in it.  In Hinduism, the Kalpa Tree, a wish-granting tree, was made out of crystals and stones. The Hindu Vedas, ancient holy texts, refer to many stones and describe their powers. In ancient times, there was no separation between magic and medicine. Even the church honored the healing powers of stones. In more modern times, writings about crystals and stones began to change. In the early 1900s, books about gems and precious stones take one of two paths. They were factual accounts of the stone’s physical characteristics or they described more mystical powers.2 The arrival of the New Age in the West (1970s) brought a powerful, renewed interest in the healing powers of stones. Along with this came growing knowledge of the energy healing practices and traditional medicine from the East. Gem and mineral shows, once the haunt of geology enthusiasts, became filled with people seeking rocks and minerals for their healing powers. Contemporary books documenting these energetic and healing powers of crystals and stones grew in demand. Healers using these ancient tools were more accepted and sought after. Today, humans live in a time where the divisions between traditional medicine and these alternatives are beginning to blur a bit. It is common to talk to people who use both forms of healing, with the alternative therapies providing more organic support. The use of crystals and healing stones is something you might choose out of intuition or attraction. Who wouldn’t want to add these beautiful products of nature to your environment and self-care practices?

hand holding crystal

Choosing the Right Crystals

As you begin learning more about crystals and healing stones, of course, you’ll want your own. There are several ways to acquire crystals. You may be in a location where they can be found in the earth. However, more commonly, you can buy them in a store, at a rock show, or online. Those are some ways you can find a crystal but don’t overlook the fact that the crystal or stone will be trying to find you. Just as you have discovered you have an interest or affinity in crystals and stones, they also have an attraction to you. Each stone vibrates at a frequency, which may be energy you need or feel comforted by. So, as you consider which crystals you want to bring into your personal space, bear in mind that there are many factors to consider. Do remember, however, that your intuition and the natural attraction of stones will help you find just the right one even without great knowledge of crystals and healing stones.

Physical Appearance

Crystals and healing stones are unique, interesting and often arrestingly beautiful. Many people are drawn to particular stones because of curious contour, texture, or reflectivity. If you are not familiar with stones and crystals, visit your nearest rock shop and explore them in person.  Some crystals are perfectly lovely, especially with a morning sunbeam shining through them. Some are very intricate, while others have amazing colors and patterns. The variety is amazing.

crystal shapes

Shape and Size

Upon their first visit to a rock shop or show, shoppers are amazed at the stones. There are so many fascinating shapes and sizes. The tiniest stones have the same vibration and power as a giant monolith that is too large for you to carry alone. This is the good news, as some stones can be quite costly. Bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to healing powers, so honor your budget. The physical characteristic of the crystalline structure results in crystals with naturally symmetrical planes and uniform angles. Some are cut and polished to accentuate their shapes. Healers who work with these crystals and stones generally agree that the energy and power of the stone isn’t adversely affected by man’s hand in shaping them. In the same way, some stones are in rough, broken shapes, and others have been tumbled to round sharp corners and add a polished finish. This finish emphasizes natural color and allows you to more clearly see the details in the stone. Tumbled or rough, there are no differences in energy between them so buy what appeals to you.


Many people are attracted to stones and crystals because of their colors. Imagine Native Americans when they first found a turquoise stone—it’s almost the color of the clearest blue sky in New Mexico and Arizona. The soft pink color of rose quartz or just the sparkling clarity of clear quartz must have caught the light and drawn in the eye from long distances. Purchasing a stone for its beauty of color is a common and perfectly acceptable way to choose a stone.

Powers Attributed to the Stones

Throughout history, stones and crystals have been characterized as having certain powers. Sometimes, the stones are believed to attract or repel certain energies. Others might be thought to have particular  mending abilities. If you are looking for a stone to accomplish a particular goal, do your homework. Ancient civilizations, shamans through the ages, and researchers in modern times have compiled vast volumes of data about the properties of different stones. You might choose to invest in a reference book to learn more about crystals and healing stones. Finding one source based on practical experience and research is the best. While the internet is a wonderful tool, not all online resources agree, nor do they document their sources. Love is in the Earth books, published by Melody are well-respected references and the basis for much of the information in this article. The books are based on years of the author’s hands-on work and research done all over the world. Check your libraries for these and other reference books.

different crystals

Intuitive Attraction

Beyond all the above characteristics, this one tool may be the most important. Learning to work with crystals and healing stones can look like a daunting task but really isn’t. You don’t need a degree in healing stones. You only need to open your heart and mind and learn to trust your intuition. As mentioned earlier, you are seeking a stone, but it is seeking you too. So, relax in your searching process and explore intuition. Choosing crystals and stones intuitively is easiest done if you are in the physical presence of the stones. If you don’t have a local rock shop, watch for the gem, mineral, and fossil shows that might come to your area. Often, you can also find crystal and stone sellers at psychic fairs. If you find a place with stones, take a deep breath and be grateful. Stand in the presence of the stones. You might try closing your eyes and setting an intention for what sort of stone or help you want. Then open your eyes and see which stone you see first. Another great way to find a special stone is to hold one in your hand. Try floating your hand over the containers of several different sorts of rocks and stones. Sometimes, you’ll feel a sort of attraction, vibration, or even heat.  Don’t overthink it. Get acquainted with crystals and healing stones in the same way you might get to know people—you’ll be drawn to some immediately. If you can’t shop for crystals and stones in person, then find an online resource and use any of the methods discussed here, including intuition. And while it’s not the most fun, exercise moderation as you begin to buy. Even if your budget is unlimited, start small in building your collection of healing stones. Bring a stone home, read about it, cleanse it, and let it rest and get comfortable in its new home. Hold your new stone. If it’s small, perhaps carry it in your pocket, or set it beside a space where you work or relax. Get familiar with the stone and note if you sense any changes in how you feel when you’re near it. Once you’re familiar with one stone, then it might be time to add more.

Cleansing and Clearing

Crystals and stones that are used to enhance your world need some care. Once a stone comes to you, think a bit about where it has been. It may have been in the domain of someone with very different priorities than you. The stone might have been wrapped in newspaper or plastic and stored in a dusty, dark warehouse for years. It may have been dug out of the ground and pulled away from its native environment and others like it. It might feel like you do after a long flight and jet lag sets in. So, some special care is in order. Allow the crystal to rest. Set it in a place where it receives daylight if possible. Try smudging it with sage or cedar if that’s a common practice for you. Rinse it under pure, running water to clean and refresh it. Some stones and crystals are water soluble, however, meaning water can dissolve them or at etch the surfaces. If etching occurs on your stone or crystal, this doesn’t affect its strength, just alters the appearance. Putting a stone out in full sunshine or moonlight is a great way to recharge it. Once your new stone is cleansed and recharged, then just get familiar with it. Hold it in your hands. Study it in different kinds of light. You are familiarizing yourself with the healing stone, but it’s also getting used to your energy. Take a bit of time to get to know your new friend and allow it the same privilege. From time to time, it’s smart to give your stones rest in the sun or moonlight, a fresh rinse, and a bit of dusting. This keeps them cleared, beautiful, and feeling cared for.

Ways to Use Crystals and Stones in Your Home

Crystals and healing stones can be used to benefit body, mind, spirit, your home, your land, pets, and the planet. Their reach and effectiveness are wide, just as there are many ways to use the stones in your life. Consider this just an introduction to some ideas and methods to bring crystals and healing stones into your environment. Choose something that resonates with you, your needs, and your lifestyle.

salt lamp

Useful Placement in Your Home

Allow your crystals and healing stones to become an integral part of your home environment. Their beauty and their energy add to the ambiance of your home. Placing stones in a room where people spend time makes much better use of them than wrapping them and packing them away for a better time or when you feel like you know more. Leave them out to catch the morning light and to add to the beauty of your home. Place a stone on the breakfast table or by your favorite seat on the patio. Certain stones are great to keep near a computer or other electronic device. Gridding is a practice where groups of crystals and healing stones are placed according to specific geometric shapes. Crystal grids magnify the energy of crystals through these types of arrangements. A grid can affect your home or room but also can be arranged around your body. Crystal grids can be aligned by:
  • Geometry based on environment (four corners of your home or room)
  • Basic shapes (squares, circles, hearts)
  • Sacred geometry (specific patterns in nature with precise mathematical roots)
  • Intuition or what is pleasing to the eye.

Meditation with Crystals

If you are a meditator, consider adding crystals and healing stones to your meditation space. Looking at a stone or cradling one in your hands during meditation can be an empowering experience. If you don’t meditate but are drawn to learning more, meditation is a simple, practical way to calm your mind. In meditation, a focal point is helpful in the beginning to give busy minds something to focus on. Some meditators use the breath or a candle to focus on. A crystal or healing stone can also be a wonderful focal point because of its physical beauty, plus the energetic attraction or connection that you feel to it.

Stones for Body, Mind, and Spirit

Using crystals and stones to help you calm down and heal isn’t complicated. It can be as simple as adding these gems to your environment or sliding one into your pocket. However, shamans and healers through centuries have used healing stones in particular ways. Here are some basic ideas to get you started.

woman and chakras

Crystals and Your Chakras

In the Western world, the body’s energy system is still being explored and accepted in traditional therapy practices. However, in the East, the energy system has been mapped out and used to maintain and promote well-being for thousands of years. The energy system of the human body includes hubs or wheels of energy called chakras. These energy centers are located along the line of the spinal column. They are considered gateways where energy can be drawn into the body or released. Each chakra relates to a specific function or characteristic. For example, the lowest chakra is the root chakra, located at the level of the sacrum. It is associated with basic needs—food, shelter, security, and feelings of being grounded, supported and protected. As you move up the body, each chakra has a different and progressively higher or more complex function, with the highest chakra being at the top of the head and relating to the highest spiritual connections. Many healers use crystals and healing stones to clear and empower chakras. Each chakra is associated with a color, so you can choose healing crystals and stones on the basis of color to help the chakras. Chosen stones can be placed over the area of the chakra you wish to help or just be carried in your pocket. Additionally, multiple stones can be laid on and around the body to help all chakras according to sacred geometry.

Root Chakra – Base of the Spine

The root chakra is the center of your basic needs in the physical plane—shelter, safety, security and a sense of feeling grounded to the earth, a sense of belonging. Stones with the colors red, brown, or black support this chakra.

Sacral Chakra – Two Inches Below Navel

The sacral chakra relates to creative and our sexual capacity, vitality, creativity, desires, and pleasure. While the root chakra is about basic needs, the sacral chakra is the beginning of relating to others and developing healthy emotions. Orange stones support this chakra.

Solar Plexus Chakra – Base of the Breast Bone

Seeing the self as radiant, bright, self-directed, and perhaps even as a leader, comes from the energy of the solar plexus chakra. High energy, motivation, and a sense of humor are characteristics that are strong with a clear solar plexus chakra. Yellow stones support this chakra.

Heart Chakra – Center of Chest

The healthy heart chakra is all about love—love of self, love of others, love of nature, animals, and the world. This chakra is about love but never possessiveness. The heart chakra is thought by some to be the true source of wisdom. Stones with the colors green (healing) or pink (love) support this chakra.

Throat Chakra – Base of the Neck

This chakra is about communication with gentleness and transparancy. People use words and logic, but the throat chakra is also about receiving and expressing what comes from the higher self. Communication goes both ways, so listening with love is an important part of this chakra. Stones that are light blue or turquoise in color support this chakra.

Third Eye Chakra – Between the Eyebrows

The third eye is where awareness lives with wisdom, imagination, and the higher self. The brain might be challenged to reason through the chaos of modern life, but the energy of the third eye can bring peace, clear direction, and forgiveness. Stones that are dark blue, indigo, or deep purple support this chakra.

Crown Chakra – Top of the Head

You might see the crown chakra as benevolent wisdom shining down on your life. People can experience this wisdom when they are not so wrapped up in the details and challenges of daily life. Energizing the crown chakra is like plugging in your hotline to the universe, universal consciousness, or whatever the ultimate source of meaning or purpose is to you. Purple, white, and clear stones support this chakra.

Sacred Geometry

Sacred geometry credits geometric arrangements or proportions with sacred meaning or energy. These geometries are often found in nature and have been used for centuries in the construction of religious structures and sacred spaces. These sacred arrangements can also be used in arranging crystals and healing stones. This is a vast and deep area of study. Highlighted below is just one shape and how it can be related to the human body, but there is so much more to learn. Below is an illustration of the Tree of Life. This is a Hebrew symbol from the Kabbalah, representing 10 spiritual principles and 22 spiritual paths. Beyond this ancient tradition, this symbol is often visualized over the body, representing the chakras. The idea is to lay a crystal or healing stone at the location of the circles in the picture. You might choose the stones based on the colors related to the chakras described above. You could also use all one type of stone, for example, clear or rose quartz. Intuitive choices also work quite well.

Crystal Remedies

Crystals and healing stones can be used to energize food, water, and plants. The placement of stones near food, plants, and places where pets sleep can focus the energy from the stones onto those things. There is a common practice of energizing water with healing stones. Place small stones that you wish to use to energize your water with into a small, cleaned bottle, and seal it. Fill another, larger bottle with distilled or pure water. Place that smaller bottle into your larger container of water and allow it to remain there for 24 hours in sun or moonlight. During this time, the energy of the stone permeates the water. Remove the smaller bottle, and your energized water is ready to enjoy. Some might suggest putting stones directly in your water, but not all stones and minerals are intended for internal use. You are always safe if you keep the stones physically separated from your water because they will not be separated energetically. In fact, there are water bottles made with separate compartments for stones intended to make this job quite easy.

Pairing Crystals with Aromatherapy

The energy and frequency of healing stones and crystals can be paired with therapeutic grade essential oils. This practice opens a vast number of possibilities and combinations to you. Choosing an oil and a crystal which will enhance your desired outcome can be done through research or by intuition. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Grounding and Centering

Whether it’s your home or work that tends to make you feel a bit off balance, try these combinations of stones and oils to help.


  • Black tourmaline helps ground you while deflecting unnecessary chaotic energy.
  • Smokey quartz is a grounding stone and has the ability to dissolve challenging energy.

Essential Oils

  • Spruce is grounding to the body, creating balance and releasing emotional blocks.
  • Melissa is a wonderful oil for balancing and connecting with the positive.3

Open Your Heart

Life can sometimes leave people feeling a bit closed off, especially in the heart department. If you’re looking for some help to be open, receptive, and expressive to loving feelings, try these.


  • Rose quartz works with body systems and emotions to cultivate love and self-love.
  • Rhodonite balances and helps convey the energy of unconditional love.

Essential Oils  

  • Juniper works with emotional balance, evoking love, peace, and spiritual awareness.
  • Ylang-ylang is a romantic scent thought to help two people be in closer attunement.

Common Stones and Their Uses

It’s a challenge to choose just a few of these powerful stones. Here are a few that should be easy to find, plus they are powerful and versatile. However, don’t allow these recommendations to limit you. Trust your instincts in these regards. Ask for suggestions or help with a stone you aren’t familiar with to understand its common uses and cautions for its care.

quartz crystals


Color: Many clear, but there is an amazing array of variations. Clear quartz is considered a master healing stone. If you have no crystals in your collection, quartz is a perfect starting place. Quartz crystals are the quintessential crystals, meaning they are beautiful and can be helpful in many ways. The stones are transparent, generally, and have faceted faces. Quartz crystals are found all over the world and it commonly as the sparkly parts of granite, requiring unique conditions to grow into the beautiful pure crystals people enjoy. Mines for quartz are found in North and South America, as well as Spain. Quartz crystals, as do many other crystals, have piezoelectric and pyroelectric properties. They can also dispel static electricity. This energetic strengthening can affect human energies by harmonizing or calming them. These strong energetic powers of quartz crystals are thought to connect to energy sources well beyond this planet. Because of these factors, this versatile and beautiful crystal is a wise and powerful addition to any collection.4


Color: Light lavender to deepest purple Amethyst is a variety of incredibly beautiful quartz. Deeply colored stones come from Uruguay, Siberia, Africa, and Colorado. Medium-colored stones are found in abundance in Brazil. Amethyst is associated with balance, contentment, and higher levels of spirituality. Its uses are widespread, encouraging cooperation, offering protection, and encouraging personal development. Throughout history, it has been known as a stone of self-restraint.

citrine quartz


Color: Yellow, golden brown, burnt amber Citrine is also a varie

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