MINERALS AND CRYSTALS
Planet Earth contains over 5000 identified minerals, with hundreds of new varieties being discovered each year – many crystal healers believe that new minerals surface as their energies are needed in the world. Many people (including myself) interchangeably use the terms minerals, crystals, gemstones and rocks but there are clear unique differences.
Minerals are generally formed from only one chemical composition: more than one and they turn into rocks. The definition of a mineral is that they are naturally occurring, solid, inorganic (e.g. not made from fossilised plants or animals) and have an internal crystalline structure. However, not all minerals form crystals large enough to be visible to the human eye. Which means that while all crystals are minerals, not all minerals are crystals. Examples of minerals that do not have a visible crystalline structure are Malachite, Hematite and Carnelian.
Crystals generally refer to minerals with a visible crystalline form. This means that they show a faceted and symmetrical, three-dimensional geometric form. This fits into only six categories or crystal systems. Each crystal has its own geometric shape the same as each human has an individual fingerprint. This makes crystals very easy to identify such as Quartz, Fluorite and Pyrite.
Rocks are formed from grains of multiple minerals fused together into a solid mass. Rocks may contain organic material, which true minerals cannot. For example, Shungite is a rock made from ancient fossilised vegetation. Rocks include: Jade, Obsidian and Lapis Lazuli.
Gemstones are minerals or rocks strong enough to be cut and polished for jewellery. Only about 200 of the 5000 minerals and rocks can be shaped into gemstones such as: Moonstone, Labradorite and Turquoise.
Stones is a non-technical term, commonly used in the mineral world to refer to small specimens where rough edges have been polished away aka tumbled stones.