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Natural Crystals - A Guide

Updated on February 15, 2011

What Are Natural Crystals?

Strictly speaking, natural crystals are crystals, or gemstones, that are still in their natural state, and have not been altered or enhanced by cutting, polishing or other procedures. In their natural form, crystals have a rougher appearance than those which have been processed in various ways, but they also have their own beauty and charm, with the original shapes of their crystalline structure being especially evident. The term is also used to refer to crystals that may have been cut and/or polished, but which have not been subjected to artificial processing techniques such as heat treatment. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, depending on the type of stone in question, and on the conditions in which it was formed. Among the largest natural crystals in the world are selenite crystals found in the Crystal Cave of the Giants, in Mexico – these crystals weigh up to 55 tons, with a length of up to 11 metres. Most of the crystals that are available for sale are much smaller than this, but you can still find relatively large specimens, as well as those that are very tiny.

Why Choose Natural Crystals?

People acquire natural-form crystals for a variety of purposes. Some are rock hounds, interested in rocks and minerals in their various forms from a scientific perspective. Others desire them for decorative purposes; unprocessed crystal formations can be extremely beautiful. And of course many people are interested in the reputed metaphysical and/or healing properties of crystals, and many of these people find that natural, untreated crystals are especially powerful in this regard.

Natural Or Not?

One thing to be aware of when buying natural crystals is the fact that crystals that might look natural (i.e. crystals in rough, unpolished form), might not be. Some 'raw' looking crystals are actually subjected to heat treatment or other processes, usually to enhance their colour. Many unprocessed crystals are naturally quite pale and unremarkable looking, so they are 'enhanced' – this means that people can buy more vibrant looking crystals for a much lower price than completely natural specimens with a similar beauty of appearance would cost. If you're buying crystals purely for ornamental purposes, you may not mind if they've been enhanced in this way, but if you're interested in them for their metaphysical or healing properties, you might prefer to avoid them, as some people believe that heating and other treatment processes interfere with the energetic nature of the crystal. Citrine, the agates and turquoise are very commonly enhanced, but so are other stones also. Reputable retailers will always state if their crystals are completely natural, or processed, and if you're in doubt, you should ask before buying.

Where To Buy Natural Crystal Specimens

Crystals are, by their very nature, unique, so you'll never find the same crystal in more than one place. This can mean that you might need to do a bit of shopping around before you find the precise crystals that you're looking for. Fortunately there's no shortage of places to buy. Stores that sell crystals include many new age and metaphysical/occult outlets, specialist crystal, mineral and gemstone retailers, gift shops, home decorating shops and more. And of course you can find a huge cornucopia of natural crystals online, everywhere from specialist sites to eBay. Some people are reluctant to buy online, but most retailers will accept returns if you're not happy with your purchase, so if you want the widest choice at the best prices, the internet is a great place to shop for both natural and enhanced crystals.


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    • Peter Geekie profile image

      Peter Geekie 

      5 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Thank you, an interesting introduction to natural crystals.

      I use some for their healing properties and some, just because they look nice!

      Voted up and interesting.

      Kind regards Peter


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