Crystals in History

Throughout the ages, crystals have been used for their healing properties and other purposes. It was no secret to our ancestors that crystals could bestow positive attributes upon the wearer, enhance things like luck, wealth, fertility, physical strength, and even aid in healing serious ailments.

The most popular protective amulet in India, known as the Navaratna (meaning ‘nine gems’), was made of ruby, emerald, pearl, blue and yellow sapphire, diamond, red coral, orange hessonite garnet and chrysoberyl cat’s eye. Crystals were believed to protect the wearer from demons, snakes, poisons, diseases, poverty and other dangers. The Navaratna is said to symbolise the ancient solar system consisting of Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

navaratna bracelet amulet

Picture source: Museo del Gioiello

Lapis Lazuli was extensively used in ancient Egypt, it was associated with the goddess Isis, longevity, and the heavens. Lapis Lazuli was known in both Egypt and Mesopotamia as ‘the stone of rulers’ and was utilised for cult and ritual purposes. It would also be crushed and rubbed onto the scalp to expel spiritual impurities and promote enlightenment. The Egyptians mined a variety of other stones too including Serpentine, Turquoise, Hematite, Peridot, Carnelian and Amazonite.

Malachite is another stone deeply associated with mythology. In the Ural Mountains of central Russia, malachite was dedicated to the ‘Lady of the Copper Mountains’, who was the personification of Venus. But malachite was symbolic of the Goddess in other cultures too: Aphrodite (Greek), Hathor (Egyptians), and Freya (Germanic/Norse) are a few of these goddesses.

Jade (also known as Nephrite) is not as a goddess symbol but as a representation of the Chinese’s Jade Emperor. The Jade was used to enhance longevity, wellness and wealth. Jade was also worked into amulets for good luck and was known as the ‘kidney healing stone’ in the ancient cultures across Asia and the Americas. To this day, New Zealanders still fashion amulets and mythical figures out of their ‘green stone’.

Agate pendants were worn by the ancient Greek warriors in times of war to increase stamina and empower them during battle. Artifacts show that the Greek warriors wore and even adorn their weapons with them.

Garnet was another stone that was often used to decorate weaponry. Warriors in the Middle Ages would have garnets set into their shields and sword hilts to protect themselves against injury in battle, while garnet amulets were thought to bless the wearer with luck and wealth.

Obsidian was used for some of the oldest artifacts and man-made creations. Dating back to Paleolithic times, it was yet another stone associated with weapons, albeit it was used to make them rather than decorate them. But obsidian also became used for divination purposes, a practice that can be traced back to the Mayan priests of the god Tetzcatlipoca (‘Smoking Mirror’) who used Obsidian mirrors to predict the future.

The ancients held such deep knowledge about crystals that some of them even wrote about them, documenting their usages and properties. The ancient Greek musician, poet and prophet known as Orpheus is attributed to composing the Lithika, which is probably the first crystal healing manual.

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