WARNING: If Toxic Crystals Are So Bad, Why Do Some Recommend Them?

Hibiscus Moon Crystals, geology, science 11 Comments

If Toxic Crystals Are So Bad, Why Do Some Recommend Them?

Well, I really cannot say why some recommendations don’t give at least a fair warning, but I suppose that most who are recommending the crystals assume the danger is low. Sometimes it is…and sometimes it isn’t.

Here’s a really good question I was recently asked by a student:

If Cinnabar is a toxic crystal why do crystal healing books recommend it?

For that matter, why would anyone recommend working with ANY toxic crystals at all?

In this video I answer that question

Cinnabar are the red crystals in the photo below. The proper mineral name for Cinnabar happens to be Mercury sulfide.

Cinnabar on dolomite & quartzCinnabar has a Mohs hardness (that’s a term we use to determine how hard it is) of 2 to 2.5. That means it’s relatively soft, meaning it can easily be scratched & can flake off. So, mercury that can easily flake off…hmmm, something to keep in mind.

Now, you may know that mercury is a toxic element…and it’s been known to make people go crazy. That’s right, NUTBALLZ.

This is where the Mad_Hatter_and_the_Rabbitterm “Madhatter” came from…because hat makers used to use mercury to help with making the hats; for the felting process. After working with it for some time they became loopy. And that’s one of the side effects…besides the fact that it can kill you! High levels of mercury exposure can be harmful to your brain, heart, kidneys, lungs & immune system. Yikes.

So, yes, after handling Cinnabar I would wash my hands!

Some say if you work with a tumbled piece it’s less friable (brittle) & therefore less harmful. I still WASH MY HANDS!

Cabochon of cinnabar in milky quartz matrix.

Cabochon of cinnabar in milky quartz matrix.

I certainly wouldn’t recommend putting any known-toxic mineral in your mouth…because it is toxic.

Some people get nervous about working with Malachite too because Malachite has copper in it. Copper is another element considered toxic if ingested.

These are elements you don’t want to swallow. However, we all hold pennies, right? *ahem, I even swallowed a few pennies as a kid*

So, don’t think you’re doomed b/c you handled something that contains copper. Although an excess of copper in our system can be toxic, a certain trace amount is necessary for normal healthy functioning. Its all a magical balancing act. Just use your own good judgement.


Now, we all have small incremental amounts of these toxic elements in our bodies. Some chemists have proposed that we have everything within us that is on the periodic table. All of it, just in varying amounts. So, yes, you may have lead, you may have mercury, but not very large amounts like we have of iron. We have huge amounts of iron inside of us.

You know pennies are made of copper and you know it’s not something you want to stick in your mouth, not something you want to swallow. Some people cook with copper pots & I’m not going to get into a debate about that. Some people drink out of aluminum cans, that’s another metal I wouldn’t want to ingest, so I am not going to get into a debate about that.

But some minerals are more toxic than others & are more molecularly unstable than others meaning that they can throw off particles of atoms which could easily be ingested, inhaled or absorbed through our pores. So, you definitely want to take that into account. BTW, the most unstable elements are radioactive. Eeeek!

A good Toxic Stones List is your friend!

I just generally refer to my toxic stones list to stay safe when working with crystals & stones. Although some stones may be more toxic than others, I say:

If there is any toxic element in that stone at all, then I recommend washing your hands after handling it & some you don’t want to handle at all! Use your discretion. If there are some elements that are highly toxic & unstable in the mineral & can break down easily it can end up in your system. So you’ll want to make sure to steer clear of it or use proper precautions when working with that crystal in any way.

Now, if you’re working with a mineral that contains an element that is known as toxic, but is not highly unstable & therefore, doesn’t have particles becoming available to be absorbed through the skin (like copper) then washing your hands thoroughly after handling the minerals should be enough.

I would def. not make gem elixirs or drink anything that has any of those toxic minerals in them. Again, please check out my toxic minerals list here. 

If you’re doing lapidary work or making jewelry with these minerals, you do want to take all the proper precautions to make sure you’re not inhaling any of those elements into your lungs.

ALWAYS: Be informed, do your own research & use discretion.

Have I totally Scared You now? What Crystals are Safe to work with?

That’s a BIG question to answer b/c there are over 4,500 minerals in the world + many element combos so if you’re just not sure then stick with quartz & calcite crystals. They’re relatively 100% safe.

Here’s a list of various forms of quartz:

  • clear quartz
  • amethyst
  • rose quartz
  • citrine
  • aventurine
  • agates
  • jaspers

properity empower

Do you work with Toxic Crystals?  What’s your protocol to protect yourself?  I’d love to hear how you are keeping it safe.  Please SHARE & tell us in the comments below & let’s talk safety. 🙂

Crystal Blessings!

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Comments 11

  1. WHAT~? Toxic crystals? I certainly hope they’re OK for use in jewelry..turquoise / aquamarine / tourmaline / sodalite / celestite / prehenite / moonstone / iolite / labradorite /moldavite / lapis / sugilite / garnet / ~ and a huge covellite pendant ~~~ you’ve listed my ENTIRE jewelry accumulation~!!!!

    1. Joan, I have a turquoise piece that lives in my pocket and I’ve got prehnite and aquamarine in my bra as I type. I have a Labradorite pendant and aquamarine and moldavite rings and am hopefully soon to buy a beautiful copper bangle. I also have most of the others you’ve listed. We can be doomed together 😉

      I do have a piece of sulphur and wash my hands after handling that, as my friend/mentor person advises. I think that’s the only piece I am cautious with x

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  2. Thanks Hibiscus. I use some toxic crystals, like malachite, but I feel crystals are like any other healing tool. For example, some plants and herbs are toxic, but still powerful healers, e.g. aconite. They need to be used with knowledge and safety precautions, as you point out. And there are safe ways to make elixirs if needed too. Indirect method is what to look for. Crystal blessings xx

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  3. I have a piece of jewelry made from Actinolite that I fell in love with and purchased, but later found out it is known to contain asbestos. It is a polished stone – is it safe to wear??

  4. For me it depends on the stone. I have no issue using most toxic stones. I wash my hands after I use stibnite and galena. I also have realgar which is much more dangerous. I have not worked with this stone yet but it stays in a plastic bag so I do not touch it directly because of the arsenic content.

  5. I wear labradorite pendant and a cluster of atones in a spiral swirl of silver wire as a pendant.
    It has rose quartz, hematite, rutilated quartz, malacite, and black tourmaline in it. I will keep the malacite to the top side now and I will quit putting it to my mouth! Hahaha.
    I wear them every day!
    Thank you so much for all your teachings Hibiscus Moon ❤

  6. Hi! I spend almost every day in old abandoned mines searching for minerals and crystals. I find uraninite, arsenopyrite, and many of the minerals on the toxic list. I steer clear of those for the most part, but many of the ones on that list I handle daily. While they do contain elements that can be harmful, so do many other things we handle on a daily basis. The wiring in my house contains more copper than my mineral collection for sure. Point being, I wouldn’t over think it. Just don’t eat your minerals.

  7. Woah! I never knew celestite was Toxic! I can sit for hours holding, rubbing/stroking/feeling this stone and it’s individual crystals and not always wash my hands. I wonder how toxic Celestite 🤔

  8. I have a beautiful specimen of orpiment that I handle VERY carefully! I keep it on an upper shelf in a pretty cigar box and inside it is resting on a slab of selenite. When I hold it I wear latex gloves and still wash my hands after. When I use it on my solar plexus it makes a powerful punch of male energy!

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