I’ll admit: I’ve been slightly obsessed with the crystal phenomenon as of late. Rose quartz, amethyst, tiger’s eye, aquamarine…I have them all. In fact, my crystal collection has become so abundant that I’ve begun to question if my original intentions of buying them as a joke can still be considered a joke anymore.
Healing crystals, often sold by small businesses on Instagram, are described to have healing abilities for the mind, body, and soul. Though there has been no scientific evidence to support such claims, many believe that these crystals are able to promote the flow of good energy and expel negative energy out of one’s body and mind. They have also begun to make their own rounds in popular culture, appearing on social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
As much as we laugh and mock the idea of crystals, millions of them continue to be sold worldwide every year. In The New York Times, numerous small crystal business owners reported seeing a spike in sales during the first half of 2020. Other newsites such as CNBC have determined crystals to be a multibillion-dollar industry. These sales trends are also seen to be taking place among Singapore youths, with a quick search on the internet bringing you numerous websites on where the best crystal shops are located.
Why is that so? Is it just a byproduct of constantly being bombarded with crystal posts on our social media feed? Do we all secretly believe in the healing properties of crystals, but are just too embarrassed to admit it out loud?
Fascinated by the burgeoning cult following amongst this phenomenon, I seek to explore why it has gained so much popularity over the past few years and why it will most probably continue to stay this way in the upcoming years.
1. Crystals as an Aesthetic
Probably the most obvious reason is the look of the crystals themselves. Sold in a range of colors and translucency, it’s easy to see how people are attracted to the colorful gemstones with both transparent and dark appearances, but all have their own unique charms.
There has also been rising popularity in the ‘crystal girl’ aesthetic, which can be seen as another popular style such as the cottage core and dark academia aesthetic. Crystals are no longer associated with hooded figures huddling around a huge misty orb in a dimly lit room, but more towards a style choice that can be worn on a day-to-day basis. As seen in the urban dictionary, the crystal girl is defined as “a girl who carries around crystals everywhere she goes, [who] usually wears dramatic eyeliner and has dyed hair” and is “also very spiritual.” It can be seen as a casual crossover between the emo and artsy aesthetic, where crystals are often adorned on one’s neck and wrists in the form of necklaces and bracelets. Similar to other Pinterest aesthetics, the crystal girl becomes a way for people to express their own styles and personalities in a fun way.
2. The Wish for Control
With anxieties looming at every corner and an information overload that comes from being so virtually interconnected with the entire world at all times, the wish for control is more present than ever. Especially when uncertainties become more prevalent, we as humans tend to try and grasp for something that feels stable and reassuring. And what better way than crystals that clearly state their uses and healing properties? A quick search on the internet produces an array of websites that beginners can look at to find the perfect crystals that suit their own needs. Want to manifest some courage and creativity into your life? Buy aquamarine! Want to spice up your life with love? Get yourself a few of those rose quartz! Maybe even some tiger’s eye as well, if you’re looking to be rich in the future! Though people may not see any evidence of results produced from these crystals, there is still a sense of reassurance that comes from carrying such objects in one’s pocket. In a way, healing crystals become a form of superstition or lucky charm that users can rely on during times of distress.
Crystals also tend to induce powerful placebo effects, due to people constantly raving about the belief benefits and properties of such objects. In an article published by TIME magazine, research suggests that participants who believed more in paranormal phenomenons tend to “experience greater sensations than those who scoffed at the paranormal.” Similarly, if you continue to believe that you are attracting positivity into your life by constantly carrying crystals in your back pocket, you might be more likely to notice the positive occurrences that happen to your life and attribute them to the crystals you carry instead of a change in mindset.
For the time being, I’ve put a stop to my growing collection of crystals, but I can’t promise that it will continue to stay that way. Whether or not you believe in the healing properties of crystals, it is undeniable that it does look nice as house decorations and fashion accessories. So does it really matter if crystals do not have any form of scientific evidence to support such claims, so long as it’s a practice done for one’s own amusement and enjoyment? And if it really does end up attracting some positive energy in your life then what’s the harm?