What are crystals?
Clustering together deep in the earth’s crust, deposits of minerals form that most beautiful and rare of objects: a crystal. Layer upon layer of these deposits – left behind once water has evaporated – cling to each other in highly organised structures. In time, occasionally after a few days but most often over the course of thousands of years, these mineral deposits become crystals. The shape of a crystal mirrors the internal make-up of its atoms so no two are the same. This uniqueness is also partly due to the differences in temperature and chemical composition wherever it is they come into being. What colour a crystal becomes is determined by the arrangement of the crystal’s atoms as well as the way in which light interacts with them. Impurities in the atomic structure are a further cause of colouration, beauty arising from imperfections. This layering of mineral deposits and the formation of a crystal could be viewed as symbolic, providing as it does a stunning visual representation of the many different attributes crystals can bring to our living spaces. Feature image - Rare crystal muscovite cluster
Healing and restorative
Crystals are much more than just decorative, sculptural pieces. Fascinating to many because of their transformative origins and natural beauty, they are also known for their religious symbolism and the belief that their use can bring about harmony and peace. Placed in the correct spot, it is said that the right crystal can encourage and energise, cleanse and renew, or calm and relieve. Belief in the healing properties of crystals is not a recent, or even semi-recent, trend. For thousands of years crystals have been highly significant to many people, people who are themselves geographically, historically and culturally diverse: the Ancient Sumerians and the Ancient Greeks, the Chinese and the tribes of South America, are just a few examples. Many forms of medicine continue to avail themselves of the powers of crystals, with each crystal regarded as holding its own individual energy or power. Natural therapy practices advocate their use, believing that they can bring our own bodies into balance and unblock mental tensions or physical struggles. It is thought that the crystals’ vibrations interact with our own chakras – various focal points used in ancient meditative practices – aligning our bodies with our souls and thus restoring serenity and equilibrium.
Natural, sustainable design
Nowadays, the vast majority of crystals are produced naturally but sustainably. Consequently, they are no longer mined, significantly reducing if not eradicating completely the environmental impact of obtaining them. Nevertheless, with their glittering aesthetic and infinitesimal arrangements, crystals still evoke a sense of wonder at just how miraculous and awe- inspiring nature is. Illuminating any space in which they find themselves, crystals refract light and add colour to an interior, be it traditional or contemporary.
Utterly unique, no two crystals will ever catch or reflect light in the same way. Indeed their tones and colours change not only as day fades to evening, but also throughout the seasons. Crystals provide texture contrasting beautifully with other materials, such as burnished wood or polished marble. This can be especially effective in a living space, which is pared down and minimal; a carefully placed crystal will lend a touch of the dramatic to a tonal, more neutral space. As varied as their formations, they can be both small and unobtrusive or chosen as a larger, sculptural statement.
Beauty and meaning
Chosen then because of their natural beauty or for deeper, personal meanings or indeed a combination of both, it becomes the case that the ancient practices of crystal healing intertwine with modern concepts of design. One thing is clear; a crystal’s visual impact is no less important than its healing properties and vice versa.
Set of two agate crystal cylinders in brown tones AU Bespoke
Restorative or brilliant, crystals elevate their surroundings with life-enhancing and affirming energy. Whether we strive for balance within ourselves or for our interiors, crystals can help us to replenish our reserves along the way. Meanwhile, their magnificence serves to remind us – as it has reminded our ancestors over millennia – just how miraculous both their and our creation truly is.