Monday, October 11, 2010


Photo courtesy of Dane A. Penland,  Smithsonian Institute
Examples of the common mineral quartz, a popular talisman

"I command you to turn into a frog!" At a family reunion a few years  back, a young cousin enthusiastically waved her magic wand at various relatives, with great expectation for a successful transmogrification.  Eventually, in disgust, she threw her wand down, muttering "It doesn't work!"

And such it is with gemstones.  Expect a citrine to bring you wealth, and you too might mutter "It doesn't work!" but darn it, it would be nice if it did.   Google the phrase "healing properties of gemstones" and in 1/5th of a second,  58,000 results appear.   As I looked at page after page of websites, most offering talismanic jewelry of one sort or another, I couldn't help but laugh that Science had delivered to me an instant, global marketplace of the Superstitious.  Most of us won't readily admit in public to fringe ideas like crystal healing, amulets or lucky charms, yet.... there is something gnawing at us about this idea nonetheless.  Somehow we suspect an agate isn't just an agate.  Or is it?

One of the search results that came up close to the top when I googled the phrase "gem lore" was a fairly comprehensive list of gemstones and their uses, compiled by a bead artist.   I learned that moss agate, for example, promotes prosperity and abundance, and fluorite is said to attract fairies.  The designer, who seemed hopeful of a positive result for the wearer of her beads, was nevertheless careful to put a caveat at the beginning of the list:  

Please enjoy these but understand that we cannot guarantee that your stones will provide these or any benefits!

Gee, what about a necklace of malachite or moonstone or something that would effectively ward off lawsuits from crazy customers who expect a guarantee their bunions will disappear?  Sigh.   

Yes, I am making fun of this, but I have a surprise for you. The truth is, I actually do believe that gemstones--and jewelry too--have properties of healing, and in a much more profound way than is widely recognized.   I believe that the insightful story of gemstones and jewelry is far more meaningful than pseudo-lore.  I believe that the-something-gnawing-on-us about the idea that "an agate isn't just an agate" has a basis for a reasonable, warranted belief.    I believe that jewelry is at its heart a spiritual gift from the universe made tangible, and that it helps us recall our connection to the earth and each other.  I believe that jewelry can and does resonate for the wearer, like a tuning fork serves to align an instrument with the perfect pitch.

My mission in this blog is to share the authentic magic of gems and jewelry, as I have come to know them intimately throughout my entire adult life, in a career spanning 35 years.  I know from years of seasoning that jewelry makes a difference in the world, that it has the power to radiate meaning like nothing else.  

I warmly invite you to share your comments, questions, pictures, or your own anecdotes and observations of the gemstones and jewelry you wonder about or treasure.  I hope you will enjoy what I offer here.


  1. Very brave of you to admit to belief beyond the tangible properties of stones! I can't help but wonder how much ancient knowledge is lost during our pursuit of the most recent scientific theory. Of course the electical properties of quartz are well-known as the basis for radio communications and reliable clocks, and tourmaline becomes charged when heated to relatively low temperatures. We are not much more than electrical energy ourselves. So I might slip some moss agate under my pillow tonight and reconsider when and where to wear my fluorite.
    Gem Bunny

  2. GB,
    When gems are given and received with love, there is no greater healing potion on earth. After all, you're no bunny unless some bunny loves you. CB

  3. Do you remember the bracelet your mother made that you gave me? I still have it. Grandma Marie told me then that the stone was a living stone. Also, Mom said pearls brought discord and the biggest fight she and Dad had were after he bought her a pearl ring.

  4. Debbie, I do remember the bracelet my mother made. I wish she had kept up with her jewelry making. As to pearls creating strife & discord, I have never heard that. Actually, the opposite: They are supposed to bring healing to irritation. Maybe she was thinking of John Steinbeck's novella, The Pearl.

  5. Funny how people develop superstitious behavior when they associate an object with good or bad events. e.g., "I was wearing this pearl necklace when I had an accident, therefore pearls must be bad luck!" Then you have the lucky coins, rabbit's foot, shamrocks, rings, etc.