Are Crystals All They’re Cracked Up to Be?

August came to an end with an eclipse, September started with Mercury leaving retrograde and sometime in between the two, school, jobs, and internships started. Because of this, maybe you’re ready for something magical? Crystals are all the rage, but how can you tell what’s real and what’s fake?

Before we get into it, everyone needs to know that crystals can’t cure diseases. More importantly, they can’t take the place of medicine or doctor’s orders. The scientific community and Western medicine discount most of the credit crystals seem to have received from the public within recent years.

Much of the information about crystals comes from personal experience and personal research. Accounts can be found on crystal, holistic or alternative medicine blogs and forums. And while science and experience seem to create a polarity in opinion on crystals, I like to believe in the magic that others have experienced.

I myself have seen a dramatic shift in my personal practices using crystals. Whether it’s holding labradorite during meditation or making a rainbow of crystals down my chakras at the end of yoga for corpse pose. Crystals help me stop and live in the moment. Since I incorporate crystals physically, I usually can’t move when using them. It forces me to take time to be silent and still, even if I know it’ll be the only time during the day that I can relax.

Each crystal is unique and beautiful, but there are fakes out there. Specifically, crystals made of resin that can look and feel just like real crystals. Don’t be that person new to the “chakras aligned af” life sporting fake goods.

That being said, don’t be too hasty to dismiss the stories about crystal healing or chakra alignment! There is actually some quasi-scientific research to back this stuff up.

All crystals take on a different color, texture and general appearance, but they’re all comprised of silicon and oxygen. These two elements are part of the basic building blocks of organic life on Earth. Pressure combines both elements to form crystals’ geometric, crystalline structure.

Pressure in general is the key to cracking the code of crystals. Quartz, a popular crystal, is used in many electronic units, including transistors, integrated circuits, computer chips, telephones and radios. When a quartz crystal is applied with pressure or friction it generates an electrical charge. Silicon is also commonly known as a conductor of energy.

The electricity crystals create from pressure and friction is called piezoelectricity, a tricky word here that means the electrical charge caused by pressure that accumulates in certain solid materials. Basically, crystals are said to be piezoelectric because they can convert mechanical pressure to electricity.

Further crystal speculations include their storage of information through wavelengths of energy. In personal contact, they can absorb our energy, which is why so many people have claimed that crystals completely get rid of their negativity.

However, some crystals are better at removing negativity than others. Each crystal has different properties that can be found in relation to its color, chakra and zodiac. For example, garnet is darker red crystal known for its creative and sensual energy. It can be used for energizing, balancing, strengthening and protecting. Garnet represents the first chakra, or root chakra, and the Capricorn zodiac sign.

Because crystals are known for accumulating energy and electricity, it’s important to recharge them after several uses. To recharge crystals, you must remove the collected negative energy via one of many rituals. Some of those rituals include leaving crystals out during a full moon, leaving them in direct sunlight, smudging them with sage or cleansing them with salt/ocean water.

Related: Move Over Flower Crowns, Crystal Crowns Are Here in Time for Coachella

Cleansing crystals is what I see as a metaphor for complex structures becoming pure and whole again once submerged in nature. I believe that the same can be said for people, which is why crystals are seen as an extension of human life and practice.

Because of their electrical properties, crystals are also said to influence and interact with energy fields. There’s a section of bioelectronics called bioelectromagnetics, which studies the electrical and electromagnetic fields produced by man-made objects and produced by organic cells, tissues and organisms. If man-made substances and organic substances have and interact with electromagnetic fields, who’s to say that crystals can’t interfere, too? Many people use black tourmaline and shungite to decrease manmade electromagnetic fields disrupting their personal electromagnetic fields.

All in all, it’s up to you to decide whether you believe in the “science” behind crystals and if you want to start using them. What I find more important are that crystals are like talismans for me. I believe they bring me peace and luck more than anything. The concept of having something physical to act as a diffuser, or maybe just as a placebo, is comforting to me, and maybe it’ll be comforting to you. The purpose of crystals is still unclear. But, they can be used to promote healing, enlightenment, attraction and fulfillment. Healing yourself by taking the time to practice; enlightenment by way of trying something new; attraction of good vibrations; and fulfillment in knowing that with or without crystals you can take time to focus and reconnect with yourself and nature.