Crystals and Precious Stones
the oxymoron of a healing crystal
Crystals and rare gemstones contain healing and centering properties, as well as magickal intentions, for so many different kinds of Pagans out there. But ironically, it is very likely they are a mining byproduct of extracted minerals we use for our cell phones and computers, like copper and gold, that are sourced from very “non-healing” mines. These stones are typically mined from places like the Democratic Republic of Congo where children as young as seven work the mines and risk their health. Or maybe it comes from the Tyrone Copper Mine or Chino Copper Mine, both from New Mexico, that generate an estimated 2 billion gallons of acid and metals-contaminated seepage into the environment every year. Or maybe it’s a Myanmar jade that the New York Times has equated to blood diamonds that has ”helped finance a bloody ethnic conflict and unleashed an epidemic of heroin use and H.I.V. infection among the Kachin minority who work the mines”. Suddenly, something with such beneficial and healing properties now comes from human trauma and environmental destruction.
The real problem, unfortunately, is the handling. These are not regulated stones like diamonds are and after they’re mined, they’re shipped from one country to another, to another buyer who ships it to another country and suddenly they’re at the Tucson, Arizona annual trade show and if (it’s a big “if”) you can find anyone who knows the country they’re originally sourced from, it’s not likely they’ll know which specific mine because it’s not usually tracked that far back or the original handlers aren’t going to convey that to their buyers if it’s sourced from these harmful mines; it’s bad business.
So, if you absolutely must use crystals and precious stones, repurchase them from antique stores, thrift stores, estate sales, pawn shops, and second-hand stores. Or you can research local dig-your-own places that don’t require extensive, industrial mines like this one in North Carolina, this one in Arkansas, or even this carbon-neutral one; or purchase from those sources. And though industrial mining can be very environmentally destructive, if you must purchase crystals and precious stones from international sources, try to make sure they come from countries that work to generate the most sustainable mining practices possible like Finland, Canada, or Australia.