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Beginner's guide to crystals

Crystals are definitely having a moment right now. Perhaps it’s because we’ve enduring two of the most anxious-inducing, restrictive years that most of us have ever felt, or perhaps it’s just that we, as a society, are becoming a little more open in our concept of “wellness”. It also helps that celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Miranda Kerr and Kate Hudson, to name a few, have proudly shown off their crystals and their use for them (Miranda Kerr is said to run all of her skincare products via rose quartz “to give the vibration of self-love”).

To understand a little more about the popularity of crystals, and to get an expert’s advice for owning a crystal, we spoke to Ashely Bellino, founder of Victoria’s famous Stoned Crystal. Not only do they have over 111k Instagram followers, but they are also one of the first to offer VIP crystal stylists and have a crystal app launching soon.

“When I first started Stoned Crystals, one of the main objectives was to bring crystals to the mainstream and make it easier to understand them and to choose your very first crystal,” explains Ashley. “I adore it when kids come into my store… I encourage it! The way to understand crystals is to pick them up, hold them and engage with them; our shop is fully open plan and a plethora of crystals arranged into colour gradients glitter the tables and walls”

For Ashley, this interaction is key to finding the “right” crystal for you. She believes you need to be able feel the energy from each stone.

“Crystals emit high and steady vibrations that help to create balance within oneself so it’s important that all our customers interact with crystals to truly understand their benefit and power,” she explains “With an increasingly enlightened society, people are looking for alternative therapies and becoming more aware of our connection to the earth and its effect on the mind, body and soul.”

Crystal healing
Stoned Crystals founder Ashley Bellino.
crystal tips
Bellino in a four-tonne Amethyst Geode at the Tucson Gem Show.

Tell us, Ashley, what do crystals mean to you?

“From when I was a child to this very day, crystals have always captured my full attention and imagination! I very clearly remember the first moment I felt crystal energy. I was in a ‘Crystal City’ which is basically a large marketplace floor to ceiling full of crystals. I went with a lady who was a bit of a spiritual mentor to me, and my mum (a scientist). With two very polar opposite ends of the spectrum I was a little unsure how the encounter would pan out. I put my hand into a giant Amethyst Cave and was totally taken aback by the sensation. I was surprised to see my mum also put her hand in and jump back as well from the energy coming off these incredibly big geodes. I’ve found myself subconsciously gravitating towards them throughout my life and I think it’s because their energy helps give me focus and clarity.”

When did you start to become interested in crystals?

“My passion for crystals came after living abroad for two years where I spent a lot of time living close to one of China’s Giant ‘Gem Cities’. Under the direction of a spiritual mentor to me, I learnt to feel crystal energy. I found that there were very few websites clearly explaining what crystals are, how they work and how we can incorporate them into the modern day lifestyle. I’m very conscious of promoting crystals as a ritual tool for mindfulness, meditation and manifesting intentions to guide us through life. Just like the premise behind astrology, people born under particular zodiac signs gravitate towards the crystals that align with their personality and innate emotions. Where you feel you’re lacking in one area of your spiritual self, crystals can help to bring an energy that inspires you to be the best person you can be or find balance in life.”

Stoned Crystals offer a range of different gems and crystals.

What are your top three tips for crystal newbies?

“Each crystal has different properties and energies associated with it. Some are used to promote a sense of calm, while others are used for protection and grounding. As crystals emit vibrational frequencies, we encourage customers to feel this connection and choose a crystal that resonates with them on a mental, emotional or spiritual level. My top three tips for crystal newbies are:

1. Firstly, and most importantly, let the crystal choose you. Perhaps something about the colour of the stone appeals to you, the shape or formation or often it is the imperfections that most catch our eye. Whatever it is, crystals tend to speak to us and tell us what we need in our lives. Go with your intuition on this and the crystal will help provide the energy you need.

2. Incorporate the crystal/s into your life. Crystals aren’t meant to be hidden away; they’re natural wonders of earth so not only are they beautiful pieces of decor for your home or sacred space, use them in your daily activities. I surround myself with crystals when practising Yoga, and I know that many people have particular crystals in your office to help with mental clarity and focus (such as our Fluorite Cube, which is aptly named the ‘Study Buddy’). Consider also, jewellery that incorporates your favourite crystal. Wearing a crystal is one of the most powerful ways to connect to the energy of that particular piece, and you can carry that energy wherever you go.

3. Lastly, cleanse, charge and activate your crystals. This is important in order for them to maintain positive energy to perform at their best. Even if you don’t subscribe to crystal energy, charging and activating crystals can be an incredibly powerful ritual that enables us to bring ourselves back to the symbolic meaning of the stones, and focus on creating powerful intention/mindfulness.

The smokey quartz sold at Stoned Crystals is as big as your palm. It is thought to be helpful for grounding, balance and clarity.

How do you know if you have chosen the right crystal?

“Although crystals tend to choose us (we’re drawn to the ones that most speak to us), understanding the power of the crystal’s formation, corresponding chakra point, its best use/placement are all things that one should consider.

1. Crystal Properties: Each crystal has different energetic properties which explain what type of crystal it is and the symbolism behind them.

2. Crystal Formation: Crystals all form differently. They can be purchased either polished or raw. Polished stones are generally more sturdy and likely to be able to be exposed to water. Raw Crystals are usually more delicate and often are more at risk of erosion. Always Google a crystal and whether it is okay to be exposed to either sunlight or water before putting it somewhere amongst the elements.

3. Chakra Point: Each Crystal also resonates with a Chakra point. According to Yogic philosophy, the body contains a number of different energy centres called Chakras. Each Chakra develops and is associated with a different human need or stage of life development.

4. Crystal Placement: Decide where you want to put your crystals. This will help to determine what properties you might be looking for or which chakra points are most relevant. If they are to carry on you, small tumble stones are a great choice! Pick stones that symbolise qualities you would like to manifest within yourself and your life. If they are for a particular room in the house, for example the entrance, perhaps a protection stone would be good. Crystals for calm are also great for the bedroom or living area.”

What are some of the ways you ensure that your crystals are ethically sourced?

“It’s important to note that there is no worldwide standard or certification for what makes a stone ethical and for us ‘Ethical’ is a vague term that can mean a number of things to any given person. At Stoned Crystals we are committed to doing as much as humanly possible to ensure our stones are ethically sourced. We invest a huge proportion of our buying budget to travel the world meeting with suppliers, miners and team of lapidists who cut and polish our various crystal collections.”

What are some of the trends in crystals right now?

“With Stoned Crystals, I aim to test the conventional use of crystals by making them more accessible and more fashionable to the everyday person. The rough and fractured texture of crystal is becoming so popular, not only for its spiritual context but also its earthy connections. That said, I think there is still a while to go before people begin to see crystals for what they are irrespective of their energetic principles. If for nothing other than their tactile benefits, rolling these shapes around in your hands releases my mind from the more mundane and automatic reactions we have to almost every object we pick up these days.

Even if you don’t necessarily subscribe to the notion that crystals can bring particular energy to your world, I’m steadfast in aiming to pave the way for people to see the obvious benefits of decorating our spaces just as we do with plants and nature. I hope to be instrumental in making crystals on trend and giving people simple steps on how they can integrate them into their lives by sharing tips and concepts on how to style them as well as keeping the integrity of their energy and tradition alive.”