LONDON — Over the last decade, the world has been opening its mind to wellness: Clean eating, meditations, sound baths and yoga retreats are now all mainstream activities.
As the search for meaning and guidance continues, particularly amid a global pandemic, another less-explored facet of wellness has been moving to the forefront: Crystal healing.
Carol Woolton, a fine jewelry expert and British Vogue contributing editor, had her first “crystal reading” in Los Angeles in 2018 while researching a New Year-themed story about the power of crystals. She quickly realized that crystal healing was not a trend but rather a movement of its own, and began to explore what was propelling it and why the ancient practice was gaining new relevance in modern society.
She gathered everything she learned along the way in her latest book “The New Stone Age” (Penguin Random House), which looks at crystal healing through the years and provides practical ideas on how different stones can be incorporated into people’s wardrobes, homes and daily lives.
The book, which can now be pre-ordered on Amazon, is new territory for Woolton who has previously written several books on fine jewelry looking at floral jewels, the intersection of fashion and jewelry, as well as Vogue’s archives of jewelry imagery.
“I wanted to look at how people were using crystals in the past and how they are now helping people in contemporary life. We have an age-old, primal desire to have a connection with the Earth and with something beyond the self. I think we all search for something that’s beyond us,” said Woolton, pointing to the newfound appreciation of the natural qualities of the crystals, but also their ability to help “promote your own, private goals.”
In the book, she speaks to curators at the Smithsonian and the Natural History Museum; to women who perform crystal readings, and to famous faces in fashion like Charlotte Tilbury and Jade Jagger, to talk about their own experiences of the beneficial properties of crystals.
“I’m not saying that the stone will transform you, but it’s something really useful in your life. It might help to develop new default responses, and to be more mindful instead of anxious or panicked,” said Woolton, adding that the practice has been gaining a new relevance as the world collectively experiences the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I don’t believe there’s anyone in the world who didn’t experience anxiety in the last month. All the human emotions have been heightened. I think what’s come out of this is a longing for rituals. All our rituals have been taken away from us, and creating a small ritual at home with a crystal can be very beneficial. And it’s also bringing nature inside, in whatever small space you’re in. This is a part of nature that you can connect with inside your own home,” said Woolton.
Well before the spread of COVID-19, crystal healing and a host of other wellness practices had already been gaining relevance because of the strain that increased screen time and hyper-connectivity was putting on the mental health of generations young and old, Woolton said.
Now that those pressures and insecurities have been accelerated, people will look to “soothing ideas,” while the concept of seeking solace in a crystal will no longer sound mystical – or be the preserve of yogis.
In “The New Stone Age,” Woolton categorizes the stones by color and explores how each one can help soothe common concerns among women, ranging from burnout to restlessness, dependency, travel anxiety, guilt, fear of aging, or fear of not reaching one’s potential.
For instance rose quartz is best kept by the bed, as its soft, nurturing powers can help calm people down at night, while amethyst can help clear the mind and let positive thoughts in.
“Our emotional or physical reactions to crystals are entirely personal, but if you set an intention with a crystal and every time you hold it, that intention comes to the foreground of your mind, that can greatly affect your mood, how you respond to life and challenges,” said Woolton, who also believes that more jewelry houses will start embracing the powers of crystals.
“It’s an entire movement, it’s fashion, it’s everywhere,” she added. “Cartier in particular always had this history of using hard stones, like Art Deco coral or lapis, but they really are doing it again with great impact. Brands are using the hard stones with the more translucent, sparkly gemstones that we’re used to and they work beautifully together. People will be going out there after this crisis, they’re going to change how they interact and what they buy. They’ll want to look at how things are made and buy something that has got specific meaning to them.”