For the last couple of weeks, my inbox has been inundated with jewellery brands promoting their talismanic jewels, embellished with ancient protective symbols and healing stones. And long before the coronavirus crisis, fine jewellers have been fulfilling their clients’ desires to wear something that makes them feel protected.
Ancient civilisations and religions around the world associated precious and semi-precious gemstones with various properties: rose quartz is said to boost self-love, amethyst is believed to reduce stress, turquoise is worn for protection.
If you’ve ever been spellbound by the iridescence of a moonstone or admired the glimmering threads of gold within a piece of lapis lazuli, it’s easy to understand why early humans might have attributed these gems with mystical and magical properties.
Recently, semi-precious hardstones and crystals associated with healing have cropped up with increasing regularity in fine and high jewellery alike.
Pink gold, diamond, moonstone and quartz Fractal Meteor bracelet, £POA, Cartier
Cartier’s Les Galaxies de Cartier collection was showcased amongst gigantic natural minerals in Paris’ Gallery of Mineralogy and Geology and featured rock crystal, moonstone and rutilated quartz. Dior’s Rose des Vents charms come in a variety of protective hardstones, and rough crystals feature in pendant necklaces by the likes of Jacquie Aiche, Diane Kordas and Noor Fares. Setting them into jewellery avoids customers having to carry them around in their bras, a la Miranda Kerr, for a start.
While there is no conclusive scientific evidence of the benefits of crystals, proponents believe that the ritual of being mindful and setting intentions with a stone leads to a better psychological outlook and, therefore, life outcomes. When anxiety runs high, there’s certainly something to be said for holding onto a stone that’s come from deep within the earth and has survived for thousands of years: a reminder of the enduring strength of nature.
18ct rose gold, dumortierite bead, diamond and crystal Spear necklace, £2,976, Diane Kordas
“Whenever I’m faced with times of uncertainty or a lack of stability, a crystal represents anchoring - it’s something I can literally hold on to in order to centre my physical self,” says London-based jeweller Diane Kordas, who strings spear-like crystals at the end of lariats of aventurine, lavender jade or dumortierite beads.
“In moments of vulnerability, my crystal is my grounding talisman. It’s a bit like karma I suppose - what I put out into the universe using my crystal as my conduit, I hope to get back.”
For those struggling to concentrate while working at home amid the constant bad news cycle, Kordas recommends white quartz, which is said to help dispel negative energy, increase concentration and achieve balance.
18ct yellow gold, diamond and amethyst crystal earrings, £1,250, Noor Fares
“Amethyst is believed to calm the mind and help with insomnia, citrine promotes motivation and creativity, and aquamarine helps to release anxiety,” says London-based Lebanese fine jeweller Noor Fares, whose work is always imbued with spirituality.
A keen believer in the power of yoga and meditation, her home is strewn with raw crystals and she uses healing stones in combination with ancient motifs in her contemporary jewellery collections.
“Crystals are natural tools for soothing anxiety and helping with stress management,” she says. “Each gemstone’s healing property can protect the wearer through the energy it creates. When combined with specific rituals, yoga and meditation, this can help to alleviate anxiety and stress and keep you mentally and physically well.
“I always wear and carry my crystals with me to keep my chakras balanced. Wearing them against the skin allows them to transmit their healing energies and I always design my pieces with this in mind.”
14ct rose gold, diamond and quartz crystal pendant, £2,530, Jacquie Aiche
Post 9/11, jewellers noticed a surge in requests for turquoise, which is particularly associated with protection during travelling. Now the world is consumed with fears over health and sky-high levels of anxiety, expect to see an influx of calming moonstone, stress-reducing amethyst and fear-conquering onyx.
“I’ll always carry amethyst with me for protection,” says LA-based jeweller Jacquie Aiche, whose celebrity fans including Rihanna, Emily Ratajkowski and Gigi Hadid, liberally drape themselves in her talismanic charms and crystals.
“I keep crystals throughout my home...you can feel a shift as soon as you walk in. But my favourite way to keep my crystals close is by adorning myself in their magic. When worn as jewellery, touching the skin, they are not only a beautiful adornment that heightens the feminine mystique; they imbue the beholder with positive energy.”
Gold-plated sterling silver and rose quartz spike hoop earrings, £180, Theodora Warre
“Crystals can be a great comfort to hold and wear in uncertain times, however it’s your own intentions and beliefs that activate the crystal to work with you,” agrees Theodora Warre, another designer to call on the metaphysical benefits of rough stones in her work and life.
“I am surrounded by crystals at home: I use them for healing, meditation and keeping the energy of my home clean. I wear an amulet around my neck at all times, and in recent weeks I’ve been drawn to clear quartz in particular.”
For those thinking of turning to crystals in these unprecedented times, clear quartz - also known as rock crystal - is the place to start: an all-purpose curative stone full of mesmerising, luminous patterns. “It’s often referred to as the ‘master healer’,” says Warre.
18ct yellow gold, amethyst, aquamarine crystal, sapphire and synthetic opal pendant, £2,750, Noor Fares
Sit with the stone - Fares recommends holding it tightly in your hand and bringing it to the parts of your body that feel most in need of an energy boost. Breathe deeply and set an intention, using the crystal to ground your thoughts and bring you back to that intention whenever your mind wanders.
Many practitioners recommend ‘charging’ crystals by letting them bathe in the light of a full moon. “The day before a full moon, I gently wash my raw crystals in purified water, and let them soak in saltwater overnight,” explains Aiche.
“Then, I place them on a natural surface under the direct moonlight. I love to place mine on selenite or clear quartz, but the ground works too. The next day, I collect them from outside and set a positive intention within each stone.” If that’s a woo-woo too far, or you simply can’t wait that long, Warre says that “washing them under a tap is fine”.
Regardless of what the science says, if crystals help people feel calmer and more at peace in the ‘new normal’, that can only be a good thing.
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