Helpful Tips for Selecting Crystals and Stones for a Loved One
Have you had the experience of going shopping for jewelry for a friend or loved one and being overwhelmed by all of the choices? Are you in the rut of buying the same things over and over? Have you given up altogether? I want to share some tips with you that will make the process easier and more enjoyable. The goal, of course, is to bring home the perfect piece. Best case scenario—we find the perfect thing and the recipient is ecstatic. Worst case—we get frustrated and buy something that we hope “will do”. My goal here is to help you avoid the worst case scenario from ever happening again.
In order to make the information germane to the greatest number of people, I am focusing on real semi-precious stones and crystals. If you are buying diamonds, rubies, emeralds or sapphires, you can apply the color theory, but feel secure in the knowledge that it is hard to go wrong buying any of these precious stones. However, it’s very hard to beat semi-precious stones and crystals for value, beauty, energy and artisanship.
This refers to the manner in which the stones are presented. Are they set in metal? Are they beads strung on some type of stringing element? Are they wire-wrapped? This is a very important step in choosing your piece and should not be overlooked. The person that you are shopping for, the use of the piece and the quality of the craft are critical to the success of your choice. For instance, an amethyst broach set in 14 karat gold will not be a successful gift if your recipient only wears silver. Likewise, a large funky pendant will not go over well with a person who loves small, conservative pieces. So, knowing something about your receiver is very important.
A person’s style is unique to them and the truly thoughtful gift-giver takes the time to register what that style is. Is it funky, conservative, formal, vintage, tribal, asymmetrical, casual, gaudy, bold and adventurous, utilitarian, monochromatic, minimalist? Do they wear different metals or do they stick with one type? How large is the person? A very petite woman and a Junoesque woman should not wear the same jewelry. Often times, larger women require pieces that are proportional to their figures and very small conservative pieces get lost on them. One thing that you should not do is try to match jewelry gifts to an event or job as this boxes-in the wearer and those pieces usually end up relegated to the back of the jewelry box. Let them decide what works for them in each situation, your job is pick a piece that is right for the person.
One last thing about artisanship. Always, always choose the best workmanship that your budget allows. It is far better to buy a smaller, more modest piece that is very well made, than to buy something large and impressive that has cheap, shoddy workmanship. Look at the metal work—is it smooth and well-crafted? Turn the piece in your hand. Is it well-balanced and symmetrical? If it has soldered joints, are they small and well-formed or are they lumpy? If the stone(s) are set in, are the cabochons well done or do they feel loose in the setting? Is the metal clearly stamped with its grade? Sterling silver should be marked “sterling”, “SS” or “.925”. Gold should be marked by karat, either 10 karat, 14 karat, or 24 karat. Rhodium is a popular metal that is usually anodized onto a lesser grade of silver. Some jewelers like it because it doesn’t tarnish and can be buffed to an incredible shine. If you are buying from a jeweler that you know, stamping is not as important. Just make sure you know that that is what you are getting.
Picking out stones
Birth stones: Now that you have the gift-receiver’s style in mind, and you have established a baseline for the artisanship, it’s time to think about the stones themselves. Sometimes, that’s the easiest part. If you are looking for something in that person’s birthstone, you have already done all the work and now you just need to pick out the piece that is going to its new home. The following is a list of birthstones by month. (Please note, this is the traditional birthstone list and does not include nouveau choices like cubic zirconia.)
January:Garnetsignifies trust, truth
February:Amethystsignifies fidelity, healing, a quick wit, royalty
March:Aquamarinesignifies the sea, protection for sailors, calmness
July:Rubysignifies the ignition of love, stirs the passions, creates desire
August:Peridotsignifies protection from evil, protection in dreams
September:Sapphiresignifies protection from envy, attracts angelic attention
October:Opalsignifies justice, fairness, clear-headedness, a warm heart
November:Topaz (golden) signifies internal warmth, healing of old wounds, fertility, abundance
December:Turquoise one of the most ancient healing stones on earth
As you may already know, many stones and crystals are used for their healing properties as well as their decorative properties. This is something to keep in mind. You may or may not believe in this theory, but the wearer just might. Stones have also been used for thousands and thousands of years to promote abilities and talents, boost performance, aid in meditations, act as talismans to protect the wearer, and as currencies around the world.
Crystals: Let’s talk a bit about crystals first. Crystals are quartz formations and come in a rainbow of colors. There are literally hundreds of books, and opinions, on which crystal to pick for an individual purpose. Unfortunately, like with so many other opinions, some of them vary wildly and can even contradict each other. This can make for a frustrating experience. After twenty-five years of working with stones and healing, I want to simplify this for you and create a rewarding experience that will enable you to choose with confidence.
The first “rule” is: Choose what you are drawn to. Another way to choose is match the color of the crystal to one of the chakras of the body.
Top of the head=purple, violet
Between the eyes, “third eye”=indigo, deep blue
Throat, mouth=blue, turquoise
Thymus, heart=aqua, blue-green
Diaphragm area, top of the lungs=bright clear true green
Bellybutton, lower abdomen=orange, fiery red
Soles of feet = black
How does this help you choose? Let’s say that you are choosing for yourself and you are very shy. Shyness is not a bad quality, but it can hinder you from moving up in your career, working with the public, performing in front of an audience, etc. A good choice for you would be a crystal in either green or yellow (bright clear yellow). This would correspond with the chakras that link us to others and that encourage interpersonal communication. A crystal pendant on a long chain that hung to the solar plexus would be perfect, and could hang on the inside of your clothing if you didn’t want it to show. In this way you are harnessing the power of color therapy, crystal therapy and your own incredible energies to begin being more confident in the presence of others.
Semi-precious Stones: These also have a long and glorious history. Some stones are very specific in their uses, like sardonyx for warriors, and others are powerful enough to be used for a multitude of purposes, like amethyst and turquoise. What follows is a simple list of some of the easiest to find stones.
Lapis lazuli—prized by poets and writers, guardian of merchants and craftsman
Rhodinite/Rhodocrosite—guards the heart and kidneys, promotes healthy lungs, attractsaffection and desire
Carnelian—used by troubadors, musicians, poets, aids in digestion and elimination
Onyx—stone of stability, mystery, wards against negative energies
Hematite—the most important stone for “grounding” an individual, helps keeps the spiritearthbound, helps balance stress and worry, promotes powerful confidence/self-esteem
Rose quartz—mends broken hearts, attracts love into one’s life, promotes a gentle Spirit, promotes compassion for other souls
Amethyst—connects one with the Divine, facilitates understanding/knowledge/personal growth, revered by cultures all over the earth, opens one’s eyes to possibilities
Turquoise—revered by cultures all over the earth, promotes healing throughout thebody, helps a person “speak their truth”when worn close to the thymus/heart chakra,used as a talisman or amulet to help protect the bearer from evil, promotes commun-ication and clear-headedness
Jade—promotes calmness, communication with self and with others, lung and chi function, calms anger in others, opens one’s eyes in the dreaming world
Aventurine—“patron stone” for adventurers, encourages an intrepid spirit, helps easesports injuries and inflammation
Tiger’s eye—stone of courage and strength of convictions, promotes faithfulness andfriendship, put a small piece in your belly button to help ward off motion sickness
Malachite—stone of rebirth, renewal, healing the spirit of old wounds and movingon, encourages fresh outlooks and new visions
Moonstones—a Woman’s most powerful stone, promotes strong feminine energy, helps ease menses, connects a woman to the Goddess and to universe, inspires the Goddesswithin, most powerful when used in conjunction with amethyst
Red Jasper—helps diminish menstrual cramps (lay jasper directly on cramping area), promotes healthy digestion, focuses the mind on sex/passion/lust, encourages regularsatisfying sex life, nurtures creative expression and artistic passion
Making your choice
You now have the information you need to make a good choice. If you are choosing for yourself, ask yourself what you would like to bring into your life. Do you want to enhance an existing quality? Or, are you looking to bring new energy into your life? Remember, if you see something that you really are drawn to, and it passes the artisanship test, then that piece is for you. As for giving a piece as a gift, remember to keep proportion and artisanship as your parameters. Then, choose stones that add to your loved one’s life. And do feel free to tell them why you made the choice that you did. Acknowledge the phrase “It’s the thought that counts”, because that’s what your gift says, ultimately. Include in your gift the reason that you chose what you did. If your loved one is a musician, and you chose a necklace made from carnelian, turquoise and onyx, tell him or her why. More than anything else, this tells them that you have invested in getting to know them and that you have sought out a piece that will inspire and delight them for years to come.