Gemstones are a treasure in virtually every human culture. They stood as symbols for religion, provided decoration, or were useful charms. Some civilizations even use them, along with crystals and minerals, as a form of currency.
What makes a gemstone unique is that the individual qualities of each one take it beyond the physical realm in the eyes of many. There are magical and symbolic properties that lead to the belief that owning one can save someone from illness, unfortunate circumstances, or unhappiness. Pharmacists have even ground them up to use as medicine.
Some of the oldest examples of our preference for gemstones go back over 60,000 years, with beads discovered in Russia made from what is thought to be mammoth ivory.
What Is Unique About Gemstones, Crystals, and Minerals?
There is one interesting piece of information about the history of gemstones that many people do not realize. Many of the crystals, minerals, and precious stones were believed to have the same powers to heal in civilizations that, as far as we know, never interacted with each other.
Both the Chinese and the Mayans believed that jade could be a healing agent for the kidneys. The Aztecs and the Navajo believe that turquoise provides strength. Jasper was sought because it was a calming agent.
Different colors of stones offer unique benefits as well, such as how orange stones like fluorite or amber could help with intimacy and emotional stability. Deep hues of indigo, as with azurite or amethyst, were for intuition and wisdom.
However Gemstones Fell Out of Favor in the Middle Ages Beginning in the 11th century, a variety of different medical approaches in Europe gradually transitioned the culture to herbal remedies instead of using gemstones, crystals, and minerals as the primary healing agent.
That did not stop the cultural belief that these precious items held magical or spiritual qualities. In the 13th century, Hubert de Burgh was said to have stolen a gem from King Henry III that had powers which could make the possessor invincible. He allegedly gave it to the King of Wales, who was a sworn enemy at the time.
As Europe continued through the Renaissance and into the Industrial Revolution, the idea that gemstones could be magical or healing items virtually disappeared except for a few pockets of populations sprinkled in each country. As colonies began to appear all over the world, it seemed like this aspect of our culture would be lost forever.
The Rebirth of the Healing Age
New healing methods using gemstones, crystals, and minerals began to emerge in the 1980s as many around the world sought natural answers for their physical or emotional conditions. Using channeling, experimentation, and information from ancient practices, it has become an acceptable complementary therapy for personal treatment plans to embrace crystal therapies.
Some tribal cultures continue to practice their old ways still as well. The Zuni tribe in the southwestern United States still uses gemstones to represent animal spirits, while the Navajo people feature sacred turquoise in many of their adornments.
Gemstones, crystals, and minerals provide us with another way to connect with our ancestors while gaining potential physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits simultaneously.
By knowing their history, we can prepare for the future by once again embracing the treasure they have always provided us.