Crystals, Minerals, and Rocks… These are all “buzz words” in the new age spiritual community, and many times, they aren’t being used correctly. Whether you’re an avid rock collector that’s interested solely for geological data, or you’re a crystal-toting light warrior who wouldn’t dare be caught without their prized piece of Amethyst, it’s important to know the difference between a high-vibe crystal and a random rock in the driveway. This is one of our most common curiosities here in the shop, and the answer might surprise you.
What is the difference?
Essentially, a crystal is any solid that has an organized (or “crystalline”) structure. Crystals adhere to the rules of geometric formation, and thus form in very specific ways, with atoms placed in predictable distance and angle in relation to one another. Things with crystalline structures are typically comprised of naturally-occurring minerals, however, there are some synthetic materials that are designed to exhibit these traits as well. Because crystals are geometrically sound and therefore more “pure” in their energetic expression, they are generally believed to possess metaphysical healing capabilities. While all crystalline structures need totally ideal living conditions to exhibit the fullness of their geometric expression and symmetry, these measurements are taken by looking at the underlying tendency of formation and arrangement at the atomic level.
Minerals are naturally occurring, inorganic (not derived from living organisms), crystalline substances that have a definitive chemical composition. What does this mean in layman’s terms? Minerals are some of the most basic building blocks of our world, and their chemical and elemental components can be clearly identified, broken down, and classified. All minerals possess an organized, crystalline structure. This means that not all crystals are made of minerals, but all minerals are crystals.
Rocks are aggregates, meaning they are made of several minerals. Rocks can also break the other rules that are generally applied to minerals and crystals, and thus may contain organic components, as well as mineraloids (mineral-like substances that lack crystalline structure such as obsidian). Rocks are typically sub-classified as being igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic, dependent upon mineral and chemical composition, texture, and the process through which they form.
Bonus Term: Gemstones
Gemstones are rocks, crystals, or minerals that are classified according to their chemical composition, and are graded according to their clarity, purity, and a crystalline structure (if present). These stones are typically of high quality, and are often used in jewelry (“gem grade”). All gemstones are crystals, but not all crystals are gemstones.
Crystals in particular are said to possess healing capabilities. While rocks might contain some energetically helpful mineral properties, the vibration of crystals is more pure, and can provide the energetic balancing most people are interested in. The vibrational qualities of a crystal are typically determined through a combination of observing the mineralogical tendencies (such as geometry, mineral content, method of formation, etc.), the color and overall composition, and a little bit of intuition as well.
Crystal healing works by utilizing crystals that have specific vibrational properties to balance missing or de-harmonized energies in the human energy body. This interaction largely takes place thanks to our chakras, which are the processing centers in the body and energy field where spiritual energy interacts with physical energy. For example: if I am feeling unmotivated, I might reach for my tiger’s eye crystal, because this stone vibrates at a frequency that supports the solar plexus (or personal power chakra), and is consistent with the energy of motivation and confidence. Basically, everything is energy, and when we aren’t enjoying one energetic experience, we can alter it for the better by incorporating energies that carry a better, more healthy experience.