What is A Crystal? And Which Crystals Are Best for Me?

closeup of a crystal

The Spruce / Anastasia Tretiak

Question: You have many tips on using crystals at home and in jewelry, but I would like to know why they work. And also what is a crystal and how do I choose the best one for me? Thank you!

Answer: Crystals work on many levels, so to answer your question "What is a crystal?" we can start with a brief scientific definition and then continue to the more metaphysical properties of crystals and stones. The most basic definition of a crystal is as solid matter formed by a repeated pattern. As compared to other solids, the atoms in the crystals are always repeated in the same exact rhythm, or pattern.

Each crystal pattern is unique, which determines the properties of the crystal. This refers to both physical properties such as clarity, depth, and strength, for example, as well as more metaphysical properties, such as the specific energy vibrations the crystal emanates.

As you can see, even the very basic definition of what is a crystal clearly reveals an inherent intelligence and a sense of harmony and order that is present in all natural crystals.

Why do I put an emphasis on natural crystals? Because many of the so-called healing crystals, or feng shui crystals, have been colored, radiated or even artificially made. These crystals will not possess the same potent energy that is present in natural crystals.

Now let's explore the more metaphysical aspects in the answer to your question "What is a crystal and how does it work?". By its nature, the crystal will emanate, or radiate its own essence into the environment where it is placed. Just like a flower emits its fragrance into the air, so does the crystal emits subtle energy vibrations that affect the energy of any space, be it home, office, garden or car.

The strong sense of order and harmony present in all crystals does not make them all the same, of course. Once you start enjoying the company of crystals, be it in building your own crystal collection or creating crystal jewelry, you will see how different each crystal is. A tumbled rock of clear quartz crystal feels very different from black tourmaline, for example, and even more different from a piece of pyrite.
The difference in colours, shapes, and forms will tell you quite a bit about the unique voice of the crystal. Walking into a good crystal shop can feel like walking into a beautiful garden -- but you might also feel overwhelmed with the present variety of crystals. So, how do you know which crystal to choose for yourself?

Here are some tips to help you choose best crystals for your home, your office, your garden or your own personal healing.

rose quartz in a wooden dish
The Spruce / Anastasia Tretiak

Crystals for Your Home or Office

If you are familiar with the feng shui bagua, then you can place specific crystals in specific bagua areas of your space (according to the energy you need). For example, a Rose quartz crystal or a Celestite can work beautifully in the Love & Marriage area, while a shiny Hematite can strengthen the flow of energy in your Career area.

If you are not familiar with the bagua of your home or office, you can start with any crystal that speaks to you. Choose any form, be it a tumbled rock, a cluster or a geode. Another benefit of natural crystals is that they absorb/lower the EMF levels, which are a big concern in both modern homes and offices, so a crystal close to your computer can help remedy that.

crystal in a home office
The Spruce / Anastasia Tretiak 

Crystals for Personal Healing & Jewelry

Crystals and stones have been used for healing since humans first discovered them. This is a very, very, very long time! (Which makes it a bit ironical when people refer to crystal healing as a "new age thing"). We might admire various body adornments from different ancient cultures for their look, but what we might not know is that each stone and crystal in that crown, ring, necklace or breastplate has a specific purpose for being there.

From the stunning blue lapis lazuli in the jewelry of ancient Egypt to the sparkling clear diamonds in the royal crown -- they were all used to help one stay strong, balanced and connected to a higher power. In order to choose a crystal or gemstone that you can benefit from the most, first check the properties of various crystals and stones and go for the one(s) that can fulfill a specific need. For example, the soothing moonstone is known for balancing emotions, while the fiery red-purple garnet activates your energy.

Choose a form of jewelry that touches your pulse points, wear it often, and be sure to cleanse your crystal jewelry regularly!

clear quartz used in a necklace
The Spruce / Anastasia Tretiak