What exactly is a crystal?
You've heard the term "crystal" so many times, but do you know what that means?
a piece of a homogeneous solid substance having a natural geometrically regular form with symmetrically arranged plane faces.
In basic terms, this mean that a crystal is a set of repeating molecules formed into a rigid pattern. The molecules and the pattern in which they're structured gives us the variety of crystals we know today. This "lattice" of molecules is what set crystals apart from any old rock.
How are crystals formed?
Crystals are first formed deep within the earth. The earth's crust moves around a lot, and gases and chemicals can get trapped and compressed. When this cocktail of atoms is compressed and forced towards the surface, it crystallises. Years and years later, we mine the resulting crystals from the earth itself.
There's a lot more geology to it than that, and there are many minerals, gemstones and objects which we loosely describe as "crystals" which don't all form into exactly the same process. But that's the long and short of it!
How have crystals been used over time?
The use of crystals in healing terms dates back thousands of years, Used as talismans and amulets by some ancient peoples, they've also been used for protection and health by the ancient egyptians and many cultures onwards. It is believed the use of crystals to balance chakras is ancient Indian. Ceremonial uses have been recorded all over the world including Native America. Ancient Greeks even used some crystals to stave off hangovers and bring protection in battle.
Crystals as jewellery and cosmetics also stems many thousands of years. They have also timelessly been used to demonstrate wealth, such as jade in China to name just one famous example of coveted gems.
Modern uses include technology such as phones and televisions, as well as healing practises and jewellery/decor.
Lab Grown vs Natural
The history of crystals we've spoken about so far covers natural elements found in mother earth. But these days, crystals are commonly lab-grown too. Lab grown crystals are very beautiful, but less potent than natural crystals and have lesser monetary values too. Crystals can also be altered by man, such as aura coated crystals which may be naturally formed and then treated to enhance their surface colours.
If you're wondering how crystals formed in rocks can have the properties we often talk about such as healing powers and associations - it has been scientifically shown that crystals can produce energy (remember, they help power phones!) and our bodies are receptive to electrical signals and energies - it's how we work.
Crystal theory therefore surmises that the energy and vibration of the crystal atoms in their lattices can have different effects upon our bodies and minds based on how they interact with us. It is fact that crystals have vibration, everything does. Whether you believe you can tap into these vibrations and energies is very much up to you individually!
In summary, the formation and uses of crystals dates back to thousands and thousands of years before modern day - but their significance remains fairly constant throughout history. In many cultures and histories, crystals have played an important part in healing and cosmetics. These days, they're even used for our most highest of tech.