Feeling fatigued or in a rut? How about overwhelmed or full of negative energy? According to some healers, the naturally beautiful and mystifying structures known to us as crystals might be able to help you out.

“Healing crystals are more than just a wellness fad of the recent past.”

If that sounds too New Age-y for your taste, know that healing crystals are more than just a wellness fad of the recent past. Humans have used crystals for thousands of years — likely the earliest recorded healing crystal reference comes from the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia around 4000 BCE. And other ancient cultures the world over have used crystals like turquoise, quartz, or lapis lazuli as part of healing practices, from the Native Americans to the ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks.

So what exactly do crystals do? And with so many different crystals on the market today, how can you begin to select which make sense for you? We’ve chatted with a couple experts to get their insight: Karen Frazier, an energy healer and author of books like “Crystals for Beginners” and “Crystals for Healing” and Lisa Butterworth, writer and editor at Bust and Tidal magazines and author of “The Beginner’s Guide to Crystals.” So read on, and “follow your curiosity,” as Frazier advises.

Check out our guide to the best online shops for healing crystals. Our picks are all intentional in their selection and offer resources for further education so you can continue following your intuition and learn along the way. 💎

How do healing crystals work?

“Crystals can be used for all types of things,” says Butterworth, “as protective talismans, as mood boosters, as meditation aids.” Amongst aficionados, crystals are most often used for the sense of grounding, protection, or balancing energy they can impart. So how exactly do these effects take shape?

“Crystals most likely work using the principle of physics called entrainment,” says Frazier. Basically, she explains, when two proximal objects are vibrating at different frequencies, “they ‘lock into phase’ and begin to vibrate at the same rate usually meeting somewhere in the middle.”

“The benefits of crystals can come from your mindset too — like choosing intentionality and mindfulness.”

“Each [crystal] interacts with our own energetic field in a different way, whether it’s creativity-boosting zincite, or the peaceful power of amethyst,” says Butterworth. “If that all sounds a little woo, it is.” Go on, we’re listening!

Butterworth notes that the benefits of crystals can come from your mindset too — like choosing intentionality and mindfulness. “Working with crystals means being intentional about what you want or how you’d like to feel,” she says, “and giving time and attention to your dreams and desires is an extremely powerful practice.” Readers might recognize this principle from the practice of manifestation.

How to choose crystals

When choosing crystals, both Butterworth and Frazier recommend visiting a store in person to chat with the sales associates and to see and touch the crystals yourself. Note which ones you feel the most attracted to visually or energetically. “I’m a big believer in letting the crystal tell you that you need it,” says Frazier. Permission to rely on your instincts granted.

But, if you’re looking to bring specific energies into your life — maybe the healing and self-love of rose quartz or the good fortune and abundance of citrine — bookmark the below guide to popular crystals for your reference. You’ll still likely rely on your intuition to select the particular stones you’ll work with but this will give you the lay of the land.

Some popular crystals

Here’s a quick rundown of a few of the most popular options you’ll find to choose from:

Clear Quartz  

One of the most popular and versatile stones, clear quartz is known for cleansing and protecting against negative energies, along with regulating and balancing. This is a great starting point for beginners!

Rose Quartz

Known as the “love” crystal, rose quartz has a rosy hue and is thought to support relationships — both romantic and with yourself. It fosters peace and healing, opening up your heart chakra, encouraging compassion, and replacing negative energy with loving energy.


This one’s easy to remember since it works like lavender, its color. Amethyst fosters calmness and stress relief, and is thought to reduce headaches and promote sleep. It’s connected with your immune system and healing, and can be used to ease sadness and grief. 


Another versatile beginner option, selenite is also known to promote calmness, clarity, and a sense of wellbeing. “I’ve got a selenite tower near my bed for some overnight cleansing and clarity,” says Butterworth, and Frazier even uses a selenite bowl to cleanse and charge individual crystals.


With a bright sunny yellow or orange color, citrine is connected with success, abundance, and power. You might use it to help manifest your career goals, or even keep it in your wallet as a sign of prosperity. It’s also known to help stimulate the brain and help with creativity and self esteem.

Black Tourmaline 

This jet black crystal is said to be strongly protective, shielding from negative energy. Its protection can help you feel calm, grounded, and stable, and it’s often worn in jewelry to protect the wearer throughout the day. 


Another orangey stone, carnelian can also help energize you. It’s known for helping with creativity and self-esteem, especially great if you’re in any sort of slump, or even dealing with insomnia. And it’s also associated with sexual energy. 🔥


With its calming green color, jade can help you unlock peace, well-being, and abundance. A clearing stone, it’s said to promote the flow of positive energy, making it great for serenity, comfort, and wealth — and it’s connected with dreamwork too!

How to use your crystals

While there are many ways to use your crystals, your choice of crystal and discovery of the energy it promotes should always feel aligned with your life. Engaging with your crystal intentionally is the most important part of a healing crystal practice.

“If you feel inspired to carry a crystal around in your pocket or wallet, or if you’d rather keep one on your desk, all are perfectly appropriate places to engage with your collection.”

You might find that you want to carry black tourmaline in your pocket as you head into a work meeting you’re anxious about. Or you might prefer to place it on your desk as you prepare. The main thing is: Don’t overthink it. If you feel inspired to carry a crystal around in your pocket or wallet, or if you’d rather keep one on your desk, all are perfectly appropriate places to engage with your collection.

Placing your stones strategically in your space can provide you with the opportunity to engage with them throughout the day. “I keep desert rose in my entryway for a sense of grounding and protection in my home, plus it’s just so pretty!” says Butterworth. “And lately, I’ve been keeping a couple pieces of jade on my desk as a daily reminder of life’s abundance.” This is an easy way to add beauty and intentionality to everyday moments.

“You can also wear crystals to bring them into closer and more consistent contact with your energy.”

You can also wear crystals to bring them into closer and more consistent contact with your energy. “The best way to get to know crystals is to keep one in your pocket, wear one, and follow your curiosity,” says Frazier. Especially pertinent advice when you’re at the beginning of your crystal healing journey.

Some of our favorite ways to bring crystals into a daily routine include putting clear quartz on the corner of our yoga mat during a wind-down practice at the end of the day. This can aid in cleansing the energies of your work day and help transition to evening. You can also incorporate crystals into your beauty practice: Jade and rose quartz rollers are great for skin and for promoting good dreams and peace. Another recommended place is your bedside table — as Butterworth explains, it is “an easy way to bookend your day with some seriously high vibes.”

Caring for your crystals

How you treat your healing crystals is an important component of using them properly. Crystal use is all about the ritual, and caring for them includes everything from where and how they’re stored, to when to cleanse them, to taking the time to charge them for optimal energy. Plus, they need extra care not only because of their energetic properties but also because they’re super delicate and easily scratched.

Cleansing and charging

When obtaining new crystals, you’ll want to cleanse them as soon as you can. Butterworth says that smoke, either from wood or herbs, is one of her favorite methods. Her preferred herb is white sage which she uses to cleanse all new crystals that she adds to her collection. Frazier likes palo santo, and she notes not to submerge crystals in water as it can etch some crystals, especially if you have hard water.

“As for charging crystals, both experts recommend placing them in the moonlight.”

As for charging crystals, both experts recommend placing them in the moonlight. “It’s a wonderful ritual to gather your crystals up and set them outside, to bathe in all that gorgeous feminine energy of the moonlight,” says Butterworth. If you don’t have easy access to the outdoors (hello apartment dwellers!), setting them on your windowsill should do the trick. What crystals need in terms of charging varies by type, so we also recommend asking your store associate for advice when you pick them up.


There are many schools of thought on where to store your crystals, though generally, you want to keep them near to you. Some people prefer to keep them on their bodies and might wear them as jewelry. A small, soft fabric pouch is another popular storage container for bringing with you. Many crystal stores will offer various solutions to protect and maintain your crystals. Anything delicate and beautiful that you love as much as your crystals will do the trick!

If you’re crystal curious, don’t be intimidated by what can seem like lots of new rules to be learned and followed precisely. The goal is to interact with your crystal intentionally, not to get an A+ on your crystals test. Start small, with whatever crystal attracts you. Hold it, noticing its temperature, texture, and weight in your hand, focusing your thoughts on the physical sensation of interacting with it, and think about what energy you’re hoping it will help to manifest in your life. Follow your instincts, keep an open mind, and see what happens. ✨

Natalie Gale is a Boston-based freelance journalist. When she’s not writing about art, food, or sustainability, you can find her biking to the farmers’ market, baking, sewing, or planning her next Halloween costume. Say hi on Instagram!