Gemstones encompass numerous items, including mineral crystals, particular rocks, and some types of organic materials, such as amber and pearl.
Long sought after for their beauty, gemstones can be hard or soft, with the harder ones cut and polished for jewelry and other adornments. Softer gemstones are more often used for display by collectors and museums.
Since the earliest of times, gemstones have been used by royalty, nobility, dynasties, and healers for their supernatural and healing powers. Beyond their aesthetic value, some gemstones are prized for their rarity, freedom from defects, clarity, and color.
- Gemstone characterizations/classifications include:
- Carat: density of the gemstone plays a role in its weight, as less dense stones such as emeralds will be larger than a very dense ruby of the same carat.
- Clarity: small spots or imperfections in the stone are called inclusions and can provide information about the origin of the stone and its geological environment. Stones like topaz and aquamarine rarely have inclusions, while gemstones like emeralds may have more.
- Color: many gemstones look like pebbles or rocks before polishing, with little beauty. Once cut and polished, their color and luster shine.
- Cut: enhancing the gemstone’s appearance is often through its cut, either faceted or cabochon. Faceted cuts used for harder gemstones have many flat surfaces with a shape that can be oval, round, square, rectangle, or more. The faceting of the stone allows it to reflect more light. Cabochon cuts have smooth, rounded tops and a flat base. That style is often used for translucent or opaque softer gemstones. A cut and polished gemstone is often referred to as a jewel.
- Formation: most gemstones form as minerals in the earth’s crust, with some forming in the mantle. Gemstones can come from any of the three rock layers of the crust: sedimentary, metamorphic, or igneous rock.
- Hardness: the only factor in determining gem durability is the stone’s hardness, which shows its resistance to abrasions and scratches. Talc is the softest stone at a 1 on the scale, with the hardest being the diamond at 10.
- Species: groups or species of gemstones share a common chemical composition and crystal structure. Each species, such as beryl, quartz, corundum, tourmaline, and garnet, may have several varieties with various colors and features. Not all gemstones belong to species, as they may have individual properties, such as topaz and zircon.
- Other classifications of gemstones include:
- Mineral vs. non-mineral: minerals are inorganic substances that form in the earth’s crust and are identified by distinctive properties. Non-minerals can also be organic gemstones derived from living organisms such as plants or animals, which, under natural processes, form into gemstones. Ivory, pearl, and coral are some of the gemstones in this group.
- Natural vs. synthetic: natural gemstones form in the earth’s crust, while synthetic stones are created in a lab.
- Precious vs. semi-precious: more used as a marketing tool to enhance a stone’s rarity, precious gemstones feature rarity, durability, and beauty, whereas semi-precious stones may only have one or two qualities.
Types of Gemstones
As we begin our journey into the world of gemstones, we classify them under their mineral species and describe their appearance, along with any astrological or planetary influence they may have. Some gemstones are associated with various chakras; we discuss that in the claimed benefits section.
- Beryl: this mineral species include emeralds and aquamarine, which are among the most popular and expensive gemstones. Red beryl is one of the rarest, most expensive gems. Large stones are best displayed in museums.
- Emerald: the birthstone for May, this green to greenish-blue gemstone is highly valuable, with those in the deepest green the most desired. Wearing an emerald associated with Mercury can help with compassion, spiritual strengthening, and wish fulfillment.
- Aquamarine: the March birthstone is a blue to green-blue gemstone that can remind one of the sky or sea. It is rich in chromium and can help with health, self-confidence, mental rejuvenation, creativity, luck, courage, and leadership.
- Corundum: this mineral species is one of the hardest (next to diamond) and includes Rubies and Sapphires. Corundum is colorless and rare, as most stones contain trace elements that give the gemstones their color and classification. Only rubies are red – all other colors are sapphires.
- Ruby: the birthstone for July, ruby’s trace elements of chromium make it the red corundum, with those that are crimson or blood red the most prized of these stones. Rubies are associated with the sun, wealth, power, and keeping you healthy, especially with blood pressure and cardiac health.
- Sapphire: the birthstone of September, sapphires that contain trace elements of titanium and iron are blue. The colors can range from violet blue to green blue. Sapphires can also be orange, brown, green, pink, purple, gray, and colorless. Harmony, loyalty, and friendship are symbols of sapphires. Blue sapphires are associated with Saturn and may help with sinuses and headaches, attaining spiritual enlightenment, clearing confusion, enhancing intuition, and strengthening decision-making. Yellow sapphires, associated with Jupiter, may help with communication, wisdom, spirituality, goals, and abundance areas. These gemstones may help with thyroid problems and insomnia.
- Quartz: these gemstones are among the most varied and common, with many colors. The most popular examples of quartz gemstones are Citrine and Amethyst. Another quartz form is chalcedony, a more compact and microcrystalline stone. This category includes agate, onyx, jasper, and tiger’s eye.
- Amethyst: the birthstone of February is one of the most popular stones, regarded for its beautiful purple color. It helps remove disruptive behaviors and addictions, enhancing intuition and calming the nervous system.
- Rose quartz: from light to vivid pink, rose quartz is the gemstone of unconditional love, relationships, compassion, forgiveness, clearing blocked energy, and good fortune.
- Clear quartz: the master healer that helps align all chakras and boosts immunity.
- Tiger’s eye: with colors ranging from golden to brown and red-brown, tiger’s eye balances masculine and feminine energies, increases success and happiness, and unlocks creative forces. Tiger’s eye is also beneficial for metabolism and digestion.
- Citrine: a November birthstone, citrine ranges from orange and yellow to earthy brown, helping with happiness, self-confidence, creativity, wealth, optimism, clarity, success, and prosperity. It is said to help with digestion, sleep, hearing difficulties, and inflammation.
- Chalcedony: these microcrystalline and cryptocrystalline gemstones of the quartz family are semitransparent to opaque. Some of the gemstones in this category are below:
- Agate: these gemstones of different colors are renowned for their stripes or marbling and represent strength, safety, mental concentration, courage, self-confidence, communication, and security.
- Onyx: with its thin bands of black and white layers, onyx promotes strength and self-confidence. It is also said to help with decision-making and good fortune. Onyx may benefit feet, bones, bone marrow, blood, and teeth.
- Bloodstone: the traditional birthstone of March, bloodstone is a dark green stone with orange to red spots that offers protection, self-confidence, grounding, clarity, and decision-making benefits.
- Jasper: these gemstones associated with Mars are typically red, orange, yellow, green, and brown and help with grounding, self-confidence, stability, imagination, tranquility, courage, and energy glow. Jasper may help with prolonged illness and sexual pleasure.
- Topaz: these gemstones belong to the silicate family and have vibrant colors. Golden or yellow topaz is a November birthstone and may help with metabolism and digestion, boosting confidence and reducing fear and anxiety. Blue topaz is a birthstone of December, along with blue zircon and tanzanite. More traditional December birthstones are turquoise and lapis lazuli.
- Diamond: the birthstone of April, diamond is associated with Venus and brings creativity, wealth, compassion, and higher goals. Diamonds may help with skin diseases, blood pressure, and diabetes. It may provide financial help, balance, and peace of mind.
- Opal: the birthstone of October, opals have their own classification in the silica family. With their iridescent color, opals are the most delicate gemstones. These gemstones are associated with self-confidence, creativity, love, and good fortune. Healing properties may include helping with blood, infections, kidneys, and fever.
- Garnet: these gemstones are silicate minerals that come in every color, with more than 20 varieties. Garnet is the birthstone of January and is associated with Mars. Red garnets may help with health issues of the spine, heart, blood, lungs, and immune system, revitalizing the body and promoting emotional well-being.
- Tourmaline: these gemstones have exquisite colors, including some with multi-colors. They can range from colorless to black, with black tourmaline helping to overcome challenging situations.
- Pink Tourmaline: one of the October birthstones, pink tourmaline is associated with friendship and love. These gemstones may help with self-confidence, compassion, strengthening teeth and bones, and improving digestion.
- Organics: Amber, pearl, jet, shell, and red coral, the last of which is associated with Mars, are stones derived from plant or animal materials.
- Pearl: a traditional birthstone of June and associated with the moon, pearls increase emotional and mental stability and sociability. Pearls are also associated with fertility, heart, digestive issues, and some skin problems.
- Red Coral: associated with Mars, red coral helps with passion, energy, understanding, and courage. It may quiet the emotions and assist with imagination and intuition. Red coral may help strengthen bones and circulation.
- Moonstone: a member of the felspar group, moonstone is one of the June birthstones, along with alexandrite. With its blue-to-white moonlight-like radiance, moonstone may help process change, achieve balance, reduce depression, insomnia, and anxiety, and improve intuition and inner wisdom.
- Peridot: A golden-green silicate gemstone belonging to the olivine family, peridot is the birthstone for August and associates with Mercury. It is associated with power, strength, and luck. As a powerful cleanser, peridot helps release toxins, reduce stress, and open the mind. Its influence may be felt in the lungs, heart, immune system, metabolism, and skin.
- Tanzanite: coming only from Tanzania, the most common of this rare gemstone is blue with purple reflections and is one of the December birthstones. Tanzanite can also come in green, pink, orange, or yellow hues, helping to cleanse negative thoughts, behaviors, and bad karma. The gemstone is also said to help connect with higher consciousness, psychic abilities, and achieving goals. Tanzanite may help with the eyes, ears, lungs, and immune system.
- Obsidian: an igneous rock known as a mineraloid, this gemstone comes in many shades of brown and gold, the most common being black. Two colors swirled together, with the black/brown combination called mahogany obsidian, are also found. Black obsidian protects against and shields negative energies, helps us see negative tendencies and improves self-confidence, decision-making, energy flow, courage, and clarity. Obsidian may provide benefits for the joints, arthritis, and digestion.
For centuries, people have used gemstones as ornaments, in crowns, as status symbols, and for making jewelry. Their bright colors and elegant appearance make them stylish for display around the home. Along with their purported healing properties, gemstones have also been used in the following ways:
- Enhance beauty: gemstones are often used in facial creams and other beauty products to rejuvenate the skin.
- Part of your fashion look: gemstones can enhance the appearance of an outfit, coordinating the colors.
- Material value: some gemstones are quite valuable and may be a good investment. Museums often display large and precious gemstones.
- Emotional well-being: negative energy or vibrations are often associated with feelings of depression. Some gemstones are said to help reduce negative energy. According to Medzone clinic, people often suffer from different mental states due to hormonal changes. Common symptoms are anxiety, stress, passivity, and even depression. Fortunately, there are successful treatments prescribed by professionals. You can try using gemstones to help with mood but research them carefully as some can have adverse consequences, especially if you enhance the wrong zodiac house.
- Electronics and science: gemstones, especially quartz, are natural resources for electronics and scientific clocks.
- Artwork and décor: gemstones can bring beauty to the home and are regularly used in sun catchers and other ornaments.
Gemstones have many purported benefits for people, some physical, some mental, and others that influence energy, consciousness, and spiritual progress. Anecdotal studies (non-scientific) have found that individuals who believe in the healing power of gemstones are more likely to report positive improvements or feelings from holding crystals in their hands.
- There are seven chakras of the body, each associated with various gemstones:
- First chakra – Root: base of the spine, influencing sexual organs, lower back, hips, and legs
- Color: red and black
- Element: earth
- Influence: stability, grounding, safety, self-confidence
- Stones: garnet, red jasper, red coral, smoky quartz, black tourmaline, black obsidian, bloodstone, tiger’s eye, hematite, agate
- Problems; knee trouble, obesity, anorexia nervosa, male sexual problems, colon, bladder, lower vertebrates, poor immunity, depression, anxiety
- Second chakra – Sacral or belly: two inches below the navel and rooted in the spine, influencing the lower back, kidneys, bladder, large intestines, female sexual organs
- Color: orange and yellow
- Element: water
- Influence: Creativity, self-worth, sexuality (especially female), friendliness, passion, intuition, joy, inner child, emotions
- Stones: carnelian, agate, imperial topaz, peach moonstone, citrine, moonstone, coral, orange calcite, tiger eye, blue-green turquoise
- Problems: stiff lower back, muscle spasms, constipation, kidney or bladder problems, female sexual problems
- Third chakra – Solar plexus: two inches below breastbone in the center behind the stomach, influences stomach, small intestine, gall bladder, liver, pancreas
- Color: yellow and gold
- Element: fire
- Influence: passion, strength, personal power, confidence, courage, psychic and spiritual development, ego, ambition, compassion, responsibility
- Stones: yellow topaz, malachite, citrine, yellow jasper, yellow calcite, yellow sapphire, yellow jade, golden tiger’s eye, fire opal, amber
- Problems: confusion, worry, lack of confidence, depression, digestive, liver, diabetes, food allergies, nervous exhaustion
- Fourth chakra – Heart: behind the breastbone in front and between shoulder blades in the back, influences heart, circulatory system, lungs, upper back, shoulders
- Color: green and pink
- Element: air
- Influence: love, spirituality, compassion, gratitude, understanding body and mind connection with spirit, inner peace
- Stones: jade, green calcite, emerald, malachite, watermelon tourmaline, kunzite, rose quartz, green aventurine, amazonite, peridot, green onyx, rhodonite, green agate, green opal
- Problems: paranoia, fear of hurt or letting go, unworthy of love, indecisive, high blood pressure, heart attack, breathing problems, insomnia
- Fifth chakra – Throat: throat, ears, thyroid, teeth, neck
- Color: blue, light blue
- Element: space
- Influence: sound, communication, creative expression through writing, speech, thought, storage and letting go of anger, honesty
- Stones: aquamarine, lapis lazuli, turquoise, blue lace agate, amazonite, azurite
- Problems: weak, timid, holding back, feeling misunderstood, skin irritations, hyperthyroid, inflammation, ear infections, back pain, sore throat
- Sixth chakra – Third eye: center of the forehead, spinal cord, eyes, brain, face, lymphatic and endocrine systems
- Color: purple, indigo, and dark blue
- Element: light
- Influence: higher intuition, imagination, vision, psychic ability, spirit energies, light, guidance, telepathy, past lives, astral travel, truth
- Stones: amethyst, lapis lazuli, black obsidian, sodalite, purple fluorite, labradorite, azurite, blue apatite, blue sapphire, tanzanite
- Problems: migraines, headaches, sinus issues, lethargy, blurred vision, moody, non-assertive, egotistical, feeling detached, lacking direction
- Seventh chakra – Crown: behind the top of the skull, brain functions
- Color: golden-white and purple (violet)
- Element: thought
- Influence: wisdom and cosmic consciousness, universal power, open to messages and gifts from the universe, clarity, acceptance, enlightenment
- Stones: diamond, amethyst, clear quartz, Oregon opal, labradorite, selenite, white jade, moonstone, white topaz
- Problems: frustration, destructive feelings, lack of joy, migraines, depression, headaches, emotional blockages, insomnia, nightmares, confusion, loss of spiritual sense of being
As we have discussed, gemstones are associated with various planets, chakras, birth months, and energies. Although there is no scientific proof of the healing benefits, the list below highlights some of the areas that gemstones may influence and some of the crystals or gems that might be of benefit:
- Treats migraines or neuroses: blue sapphire, amber, topaz
- Expands spiritual progress, intuition, or awareness: blue sapphire, emerald, tanzanite, citrine, amethyst, lapis lazuli, sodalite, angelite, clear quartz, moonstone, opal
- Improves mood or releases depression: pearl, tiger’s eye, orange calcite, citrine, moonstone, labradorite
- Energizes or improves all chakras: clear quartz
- Improves emotional stability or sociability: pearl, blue sapphire, coral, jasper, golden topaz, calcite, amber, sodalite, garnet
- Improves focus: ruby, amethyst, tiger’s eye
- Protects against negative energy: tanzanite, pyrite, jade, celestite
- Improves communication: emerald, yellow sapphire, topaz
- Increases passion: red coral
- Helps with wisdom or creativity: diamond, aquamarine, tiger’s eye, citrine, amethyst, garnet, opal
- Improves compassion: emerald, diamond, rose quartz, pink tourmaline
- Increases energy flow: red coral, jasper, obsidian, bloodstone, orange calcite, rose quartz
- Helps sleep: yellow sapphire, citrine, moonstone
- Improves memory: emerald, clear quartz
- Brings financial abundance: yellow sapphire, ruby, diamond, citrine, emerald, blue sapphire, sodalite
There Is No Medical Evidence that Gems Have Such Benefits!
There are little to no medical, peer-reviewed scientific studies to back up the claims of the healing powers of gemstones. Reports of the benefits of crystals to heal physical and emotional issues are considered pseudoscience.
Does that mean that gemstones do not work?
No, it means that scientific research has not been carried out to determine if wearing a particular gemstone can heal the body. Crystal healing is based on alternative medicine focusing on energy flow within the body. No scientific proof exists that disease results from negative energy flow and that crystal healing can cure disease.
There is also no evidence against using gemstones, as reports of side effects are also lacking. The most important thing to remember is that medical issues require proper treatment from a doctor specializing in that area of healthcare.
Gemstones cannot replace cancer treatments, diabetes medications, mental health care, hormone replacement, or other vital prescription medications.
It’s a Personal Choice to Believe or Not
Can gemstones offer benefits for you in your life? Whether you believe in the “healing” or “vibrational” benefits of crystals is a personal choice.
According to natural healing practices, crystals have similar wavelengths to the body, vibrating at similar frequencies to enhance natural healing processes. The universe is made up of energy, and the thought is that gemstones carry different energy frequencies that can tap into various areas of our health and lives.
Moreover, the power of the mind can play a significant role in healing and health. A positive mindset can help regulate the nervous system, reducing stress and improving overall health and immunity. The belief that gemstones can help in various ways can promote optimism rather than negativity. Sometimes referred to as a placebo effect, the positive mindset can provide physical and emotional benefits.
Many cultures have long used gemstones in their healing, and there is no denying centuries of knowledge and beliefs. One scientific principle, the piezoelectric effect, refers to transforming crystals via mechanical pressure into other energy forms and amplifying them, as in technological forms for batteries and microchips. In much the same way, crystal healing may magnify physiological energies in the body.
Ultimately, whether you turn to gemstones or not is a personal choice. However, it should not replace seeking medical guidance when necessary.
Gemstones have been around for thousands of years, renowned for their beauty and potential healing properties. From enhancing physical well-being to improving motivation, creativity, and energy, gemstones have been used throughout history.
Incorporating gemstones into your life, whether in jewelry or décor, may provide positive benefits. Remember to see a doctor if you have medical ailments requiring treatment.