Crystals and minerals can require some care and upkeep, just to keep them looking nice, and feeling full of good pleasant energy. Knowing what sort of stone you’ve got in your hands can help you figure out what sort of care that stone needs! Before you undertake to clean or energetically cleanse a stone, it’s best if you know what that stone is, and hopefully a bit about how the energy of the stone will react to being cleansed.
When in doubt: don’t.
If you don’t know what rock you have in your hands, don’t mess with it. Some minerals are water soluble, which means they will dissolve or melt in water. Some minerals will react with salt, which is often used to energetically cleanse stones and crystals (usually not quickly, which is good, but if you pack your stones in salt to cleanse long term, you may have a surprise when you open the packing up later.)
Selenite, Icelandic Spar, Desert Rose, and Gypsum Rose are all the same mineral, in different forms and configurations. They’re all calcium sulfate dihydrate (CaSO4*2H2O), and all of them will dissolve in water. A selenite wand or tower can withstand a quick rinse, as can Icelandic Spar, but a soaking bath will dissolve them. Desert Rose and Gypsum will dissolve quickly in water.
Any of the copper mineral ores will also eventually dissolve in water. Malachite, Azurite, Chalcopyrite, and more, can be dissolved into water (over the course of several thousand years), but more worrying, all of them will deposit trace amounts of copper ions in water. Drinking this will likely not harm you, unless you make a habit of drinking Malachite water every day. The harm comes to your stones: soaking copper ores in water can discolor the minerals, and can lead to pitting on the surfaces. You can also crack your stones by soaking them in water. Especially harmful to copper ore minerals: salt water. Any mineral that bears a metal molecule will interact with salt water to create an electrostatic charge, and will degrade over time. Salt water oxidizes minerals, essentially causing them to rust.
Some of our most common and popular stones and crystals in witchcraft and occult practices are UV reactive.
While the idea of setting a stone in a windowsill to charge in the sunlight is attractive, it’s an idea best not done. Sunlight carries ultraviolet radiation, and the vast majority of quartz crystals will react with UV. Under ultraviolet radiation, most varieties of quartz will bleach out to pale white. Veins of rose quartz are often of low quality close to the surface, or where sunlight has reached, and the quality of the rose color increases the deeper the vein is mined.
So how do I cleanse or clean a mineral or crystal, then?!
Use a soft, dry cloth to dust your stones, or to polish them. Don’t use commercial cleansers on your minerals, but you can use flannel or other woven soft cloth to remove dust and shine up your rocks. Look your stones up before you clean them, just to make certain, and then some stones you can use water to rinse them clean. Agates, quartz, and most varieties of chert can be washed. Petrified wood you can wash, most of the rocks you find in a stream bed are fine in water, too. Purchased specimen stones, however, you should look up before trying to scrub ‘em clean.
To energetically cleanse your stones, use smoke cleansing, sound vibration cleansing, or breath cleansing. Some stones don’t need to be energetically cleansed, and/or will resist your efforts to cleanse them. Hematite, Kyanite, and Selenite will all take the energy you’re attempting to use to cleanse them, cleanse that energy and return it to the ground state, and remain unmoved. Those stones are famous in the crystal magick crowd for how they react to energy.
Hematite absorbs all energy, cleanses it, and returns it to a grounded state. When the stone interacts with a sharp spike of energy, it will often crack. Hematite carved into rings is popular for protection, because it will absorb ambient energies as well as projected energies, however it’s well known for cracking and falling from fingers. Hematite will absorb energy around you, aimed at you, and (most importantly for your attempts to do magick), energy coming FROM you. While wearing hematite, you may find your ability to project or send energy hampered. Simple fix: take off the hematite.
Kyanite also absorbs energy from the world around you, however instead of returning the energy to a ground state, Kyanite transforms the energy to a higher vibration and then emits it, outward. You can work with Kyanite to direct energy, and use it as a kind of energetic knife, but you don’t get to dictate what level the energy it emits is on, and other than as a sort of blade, it’s difficult to direct the energy of Kyanite for your own purposes. It does not take your intent well, and does its own thing.
Selenite absorbs energy directed at it, organizes that energy into a coherent direction/vibration, and then compresses and aims that energy outward. Selenite doesn’t change the vibration of the energy, it just makes it more focused, so in spellwork and directed energy healing, selenite is extremely useful. You can put your own energy through the crystal and rest assured that it will be coming out the other end in pretty much the same form it went into it, just a little more focused and aimed. Because of this, you can’t cleanse Selenite: your cleansing energy just shoots out the other end, intact.
How do I store my stones?
Best overall practice for your mineral and stone collection is to keep your rocks away from direct sunlight, in boxes or otherwise contained so they don’t run the risk of falling or being crushed. I like to keep mine in a series of boxes and drawers, with cotton flannel in between so they don’t scratch up one another. I also keep stones that are strong emitters of energy away from the stones that are strong absorption energies.
For charging stones, use the principle of contagion: charge a glass item, or non UV reactive stone in sunlight, and then transfer that charge to your more reactive stones. If you’re charging glass in sunlight, pay attention to how the light reflects and refracts through the glass, looking for spots of concentration. Disrupt those, because you don’t want to set a fire by accident.
You can use any of the charging methods you can think of, to put energy into your stones. Most stones do carry an energy tendency with them, and many don’t need to be charged, merely activated. A short jolt of your own energy to wake up the stone’s energy, and they’re good to go.
Exercise for contemplation
How are you currently taking care of your stones? You’ve done your inventory, so you know what you have. Are you taking good care of your rocks and minerals? Is your jewelry with crystals kept in a safe spot? Dust free, away from sunlight, cared for and treasured? What’s your rock storage situation look like? Critically examine your rock collection, and decide for yourself: are you doing a good job, or is there room to improve? How would you make your rock and crystal collection safer, better cared for?
*Extra bonus fun fact: some stones react with UV in fun ways! Fluorescence is a real effect that some stones produce under ultraviolet light. Fluorite, for example, is the mineral that fluorescence is named after, because it shines brightly under UV. In fact, Fluorite reacts so strongly to ultraviolet light, you can take it outside under strong sunlight for a few minutes, then go back to a shaded location, and see it glow! No extra special UV lamp needed, it just fluoresces that strongly!
National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Gems and Minerals
Melody, Love Is In The Earth