Crystal Care: Mineral Care Based on their Physical Properties
This final section (click to find Part 1 and Part 2) is perhaps the most important because it is the most empowering. Knowledge is power and when we understand the minerals we are called to work with not only from a new age perspective, but also from their physical perspective, worlds can open up to us. We become less and less reliant on getting answers about how to do our subtle healing work from others, and instead learn to turn to our own Hearts more and more frequently for the answers to questions we ask.
We can look to a crystal’s chemical composition and get a lot of information without having to be experts in chemistry. We can look to a mineral’s formation origin and understand that mineral’s energy in a deeper way without being geologists. Understanding our crystals’ physical properties teaches us so much about their subtle healing properties. It also helps us understand how to better care for them.
Most minerals will react to various types of environments and in what way depends primarily on the mineral’s photo-sensitivity, Mohs hardness, water solubility, and chemical composition. Researching each of your crystals properties can save you disappointment from a faded Celestite geode, a dulled or disintegrated Selenite wand, a marred or pitted Malachite palmstone, or a scratched Fluorite sphere. Here will look at three of these properties as they relate to common crystal cleansing methods discussed in Part 2.
Photo-sensitivity – I have yet to find a definitive list of minerals based on anything and photo-sensitivity is among them. Photo-sensitivity has to do with a mineral’s susceptibility to fade or become darker when exposed to light. To make matters a little more complicated, different minerals will be affected by different light wavelengths: it’s not just sunlight that can cause a mineral to fade or darken. If you work with crystals based on their color, you will want to be especially mindful of how you store your crystals – away from direct sunlight, outside of UV lamp rays, preferably covered when not in use. My Fluorites and Spodumenes, for example, are always covered when I’m not working with them.
This forum on mindat.org was especially informative about light sensitivity, how mineral dealers may temporarily “improve” a mineral’s color for shows, only to have it fade later, storing recommendations, and more: http://www.mindat.org/forum.php?read,5,115692,page=1
Of the minerals we are most likely to work with, the following can be affected (faded or darkened) by exposure to light:
Some are suggesting Disthenes (Kyanite) though that’s debatable
Spodumenes (Kunzite and Hiddenite for example)
As you can see from this list, the easiest assumption is to treat all of your crystals as though they might be affected by lightwaves and minimize their exposure as much as you can while not working with them. Many mineral collectors keep their collections in darkened rooms for this very reason.
Having said that, I know many people who understand that most crystals are photo-sensitive and they still set their crystals out in the sun every day. Sometimes the fading can take years, sometimes weeks, sometimes days. While we want to be aware of our crystals’ susceptibility to fading or darkening, we don’t want to protect the minerals at the expense of working with them the way they desire to work with us.
Mohs Hardness – Mohs hardness tells us how soft a mineral is and therefore how easily it might be scratched or break. You can do an internet search “Mohs hardness” and find thousands of websites or images that give you the Mohs scale.
Used primarily as a way to assist in identifying minerals, it also tells us which minerals are easily scratched (Mohs of 4 or lower) and therefore should not be stored with other minerals which have a higher hardness. In other words, we might not want to throw all of our tumbled stones into one bowl where they might knock against each other if some of those tumbled stones are a 3 or 4 on the Mohs scale and others are a 6, 7, or 8. The softer tumbled stones could be cracked, chipped, or scratched.
Crystals of the same hardness will not scratch one another. The minerals listed are example minerals of that hardness and the list is certainly not conclusive. Wiki shows an intermediary list which is interesting and can be found here.
Water solubility – This is important to know if you want to cleanse your crystals using water in any way. Whether soaking in a water bath, setting in a stream or river, running under the tap, or setting out in the rain (which can also happen during moonbaths), certain crystals can become dull, dissolve, or become weak when exposed to moisture or water. Some of these dissolve more slowly than others. There is a “general rule” out there that says if a mineral name ends in “ite” that it’s probably water soluble. This isn’t exactly true, as there are a lot of minerals whose name ends in “ite” which are not water soluble. As this has a lot to do with chemistry, the subject of solubility (which can be referring to not only water but acids and other solvents) can quickly become complicated and muddy. This chart, for example, can be helpful, but if you read this forum thread that discusses the chart, you’ll see there are many factors undefined and thus, the chart is limited in its usefulness. Fortunately for us, we are not necessarily called to be chemists so we can approach this generally. And generally speaking, the following crystals that we most commonly work with are to some degree, affected by moisture/water:
- Some calcites
- Villiaumite (a rarer mineral that is also toxic – not recommended for our purposes without extreme care in handling)
- Metallics such as Pyrite
- Lodestone/magnetite – all iron oxides will rust when exposed to moisture
This list may not be complete. And because crystal healing rarely (ever) requires handling acids, we don’t have to concern ourselves with that either. (Though if you’re interested in how to mine and clean your own crystals, you will want to do some research on that topic).
And that about does it! Thank you for checking out this three-part article on cleansing crystals. I hope it was informative and helpful. Got questions? Comments? Email me at email@example.com Information about the Crystal Therapy Course can be found here.