Crystals for Beginners: An Intro to the Millennial Obsession

FLARE culture intern Jessica Robinson dips her toe in the millennial wellness waters by buying her first crystals—and immediately checks to see if her life has improved

No doubt you follow at least one 20-something blogger who claims crystals as a main source of wellness. They’re prominently displayed on Instagram, Etsy and Pinterest as necklaces or in “crystal gardens” adorning bedside tables. A pretty stone that promises to clear negativity and attract positivity into your life—what’s not to love?

Well, for one thing, lots of us are still pretty wary when it comes to “magic” cures for our day-to-day woes (not the Drake kind). How can holding a black rock decrease my dependence on my cellphone, or a pink rock make my ex less of an a**hole? And, what are the chances these true believers are actually taking into account the ancient healing properties of crystals?

Everyone wants to hop on the wellness train lately (see: our story on That Wellness Life), and admittedly it’s a lot easier (and cheaper) to buy a small piece of crystal quartz than to sign up for a Vinyasa yoga class, and then actually attend said class. Many skeptics (including some FLARE editors) question whether or not the millennial crystal craze is simply our generation taking the easy way out while still “trying” to live a healthy life.

Rose Quartz Point Necklace available on Etsy by cindylouwho2

Rose Quartz Point Necklace available on Etsy by cindylouwho2

For context, I fall somewhere in between the oblivious bystanders and the tentative believers. I think meditation and yoga are great for managing stress and anxiety, but I’m too lazy to build them into my regular schedule. I’ve never had a Reiki treatment, but sometimes find myself perusing Tarot card collections, debating on buying a beginner’s set. Could crystals be my steppingstone (get it?) into the *~wellness~* world?

I did some basic research via Google before my visit to a crystal shop. Crystal quartz seemed like a good starter piece, and all the #basicInstabloggers love them some rose quartz, the luuurve crystal.

Armed with this knowledge, I made my way to Kensington Market (the touristy wellness hub of Toronto). House of Energy, an Augusta Avenue staple, is a one-room shop crammed with crystals, smudge sticks, chaga mushrooms, leather carrying pouches, wearable pieces, Tarot card collections (!!) and more. Oswald, who introduced himself as Ozzie and had “Dreamer” as the job title on his business card, was happy to answer my (embarrassingly) beginner questions, which started with, “So how do I pick one?”

He quickly explained that I should start by identifying my base intention, like “health.” Then, he said I should narrow it down to something more specific. Rather than just wanting “health,” make your intention a desire to stop smoking. Easy, right? My base intention was balance, which I narrowed down to balancing my time spent using technology with my time spent hanging out with friends and fam. Ozzie also noted that I shouldn’t bother reading the descriptions of the crystals at first, but instead should gravitate toward whatever stone was attractive to me. In other words: Choosing crystals based on how they’ll look on your Instagram feed isn’t a bad way to go after all!

I found a piece of crystal quartz, some green aventurine and two chunks of natural citrine, plus a sliver of black kyanite. I also made sure to snag some of that infamous rose quartz, though not without first accidentally picking up “rosen quartz,” which is the rarer, clustered form that clocks in at four times the price. Thankfully, Ozzie gently nudged me in the right direction, preserving my dignity and bank account.

Steppingstones: My crystals and their detailed descriptions

Steppingstones: My crystals and their detailed descriptions

These six small stones cost $30 (including the tip I left for Ozzie, for being so patient with me). Before I left, Ozzie handed me a seventh crystal, a piece of Veracruz amethyst not sold anywhere else in Canada. He told me it was a gift, and I have to say, it def felt the most special out of all the crystals I bought. Maybe the goodwill that comes with gifting me a crystal that was worth half of my entire purchase (!!) is now embedded in the stone itself?

Ozzie explained all sorts of things about crystals while I wandered around his shop. Here’s what I learned:

  • Unrefined (natural) quartz is more “powerful” that tumbled (polished) quartz.
  • A person with depression who wears a crystal around their neck with the point facing downwards might actually feel worse, because their energy is being drained instead of uplifted.
  • Crystals are attitude amplifiers. Absentmindedly carrying them in your pocket won’t bring magical goodness into your life. Instead, they’re supposed to highlight and emphasize thoughts and emotions you’re already having. That’s why it’s important to embed your crystals with positive intentions.

I asked Ozzie what he thinks about non-believers, and he shrugged. He explained that the microchips in our cellphones transmit messages through energy, waves and vibrations. What we may not realize about these microchips is that they contain quartz crystals that have been converted into silicon chips. So crystals literally made the digital age possible. And as Ozzie muses, if technological energy can be transmitted via these chips, why can’t human energy? I admit: the science (that I may or may not actually understand) is compelling.

When I got home, I arranged my crystals on my desk and snapped a picture to upload to Instagram. I included the hashtag #crystals, but resisted adding any others. The picture does look good on my feed. When I made a point of meditating that night, I held a crystal in each hand. Maybe it was more effective? Maybe it was all in my head?

Rock on: My new collection of crystals

Rock on: My new collection of crystals

I decided my experience alone wasn’t enough to represent all millennial crystal-lovers, so I posted a call out for anyone who owns crystals to send me a message on my various socials. Within a couple hours, my Facebook inbox was popping with people who have their own mini collections or wearables.

One guy that I know from high school told me that he’s had a decent sized collection stashed in his closet since the fourth grade. He says he can’t deny their power, because he thinks many of the properties associated with each crystal have been reflected in his own character. He’s cool if it’s just a placebo effect, because for him that doesn’t mean it isn’t working.

Regardless of whether or not these crystals are really grounding me, they are certainly encouraging me to take more time to pause and relax. I can’t be stressed about deadlines or last-minute events when I’m clearing my mind to set an intention. Taking an extra 10 minutes to check in with myself is a base level of self-care that feels pretty rock solid to me.

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