Will my crystals still be powerful if they faded in the sunlight?

Hibiscus Moon amethyst, Crystals, science 44 Comments

I love this recent question I received recently about crystals fading in the sunlight. It covered many angles. LURVE IT! It’s a loaded question and — right up my geo-geek ally!

Q: You mentioned not to put certain crystals that are very strongly pigmented in the sun, because they fade. Why does the pigment fade in the sun, and how does that affect the crystal if it does fade? Is the pigment related to the quantity of the mineral inside the crystal? And if so would the difference in pigment in a crystal affect how well it performs? i.e. If I get a piece of amethyst that is only lightly pigmented, does that mean a heavier pigmented amethyst would outperform the lighter one (i.e. it is of better quality?)

crystals fade in sunlightA:

Well, why some colors fade really has to do with photon physics or particle physics. Oh yeah! I said “PHYSICS” …and you’re gonna like it!

First, let’s simply explain what a photon is. When an electron in an atom has either increased or decreased in energy, it jumps electron shells within the atom (we call that a “quantum leap”). That certain amount of energy can be described as a literal “little bundle of energy” — no matter, just energy. Now, it’s that actual teeny-tiny bundle of electromagnetic energy that we call a “quantum” aka a photon of light. EM energy = light…one and the same. Ya with me? OK. 🙂

Now, when a photon from any source (the Sun, a light bulb, whatevs) hits an atom 2 things could happen:

  1. If the atom’s nucleus has a “color charge” (basically a certain color by virtue of an extra particle), the photon will kick the extra sucker out: “Hey, get out of here… it’s too damn CROWDED!” With the poor extra bugger gone, that makes the atom colorless or neutral. When that extra color-charged particle (aka quark) hits your eye…yep, the 1 that got kicked out…your brain registers that as color! OK, so after a while of receiving light here, our atoms are gonna start running out of color-charged quarks, right? And color-less atoms will start to take over, hence COLOR FADE.
  2. If a photon strikes a color-neutral atom, its gonna either get bounced off (reflected) or get absorbed as heat. And you won’t see that guy b/c photons are considered grey or colorless.

Some color fading that has to do with natural radiation (if your crystal has been irradiated) which naturally fades over time as the photons become stable. Nothing we can do about that.

It seems that UV light specifically is the fading culprit;

both natural UV (from the sun) or man-made UV. Yeah, the same kind of UV light that due to its very teeny tiny waves can penetrate our skin & mutate DNA, which in excessive amounts can lead to skin cancer. So you can see why this kind of light would easily fade crystals, right? Definitely keep your deeply pigmented crystals away from any UV source!

Will LED Light Make my Crystal Fade?

Many have asked me if LED lights (like this one below) can harm our crystals because many like to display them in this way…

crystal fade led

From the research I’ve done (if you care to GEEK OUT on this stuff too check it out)…at the moment my answer is NO. Since LED lights (a handy low energy bulb that produces small amounts of light) are not UV lights, they should have no effect on the photons (unless you’ve purchased special UV LED’s …they do have those)…so, nope they should not fade your crystals. 🙂

Does it Affect the Crystal’s Energy?

I don’t feel that fading affects the crystal’s effectiveness greatly, but the color change does somewhat change its dominant osciallary rate (vibrational frequency) as color frequency is part of what makes up that vibration up. The fading didn’t affect the crystal’s basic molecular structure so if it was amethyst before, but now just a light amethyst, it will still do its amethyst thang. 😉

Not all crystals/gems will fade.

Again, it has to do with how stable the atoms are or sometimes it actually has to do with water loss between the molecules! Certain crystals are more prone to fading depending on these factors. And as I mentioned before, if they’ve been irradiated; they can be very susceptible to fading.

In my humble opinion, it doesn’t mean that a faded amethyst has lost all its healing power. I would most def. still use it.

*Put your goggles on…Throwing Glitter*

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P.S. What do you think about this? I’d love to hear if you agree or even if you disagree. 😀

Comments 44

  1. I totally agree! I have a small amethyst cathedral that is faded to a pale violet, I adore it for that very reason. It’s energy is soft and gentle.

    1. Excellent information. Love this sight. Am 3+ years using crystals. Have an X-ray back ground and the goiters of 3/4 of my thyroid are completely gone. Malachite removed the growths. Thus my attention ensued. An awesome realization.

  2. I agree with your post. Still, I am careful to avoid excessive light exposure to my crystals since the color they are, I feel, helps their energy. Color = energy, after all.

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  3. In some – not all – cases I have found that the lighter ones have a higher vibration. Some of the amethyst and some citrine have been heat treated to darken their color.

  4. Love this article! I agree in that it wouldn’t change it’s effectiveness so much. It could be more of a personal feeling toward the crystal at a certain color and that energy that we feel toward it if it changes color. Our feelings toward it would have a different vibration if we preferred one shade over another.

  5. I agree that it doesn’t effect the quality of the crystal healing but if you are using the crystal – those babies rock! (Pun intended 😉 )The only place I can think where it would effect is in combination with colour therapy or Chakra colour resonance therapy where the emphasis is on the colour refraction.

  6. I totally agree! I LOVE your BLOG!!!
    Two stories: I have a fluorite pyramid that absorbed too much sunlight and turned pale. It still had the same effect except softer, so I put it with all the fluorite I had in a room that did not receive much sunlight, after a few years, it is now going back to its lovely colours!!! I had another fluorite pendant turn from a clear sea green to an opaque white within a month when I used it on my throat after I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, so I followed suit and put it with my other fluorite to heal… it took a year, but it is coming back to its clear sea green again!!! I LOVE Crystals and Crystal healing!!! (PS I am cancer free since 2005!!!!)

    1. I had no idea that crystals could regain their colour…..how wonderful! AND thanks for posting this! I will have to try it 🙂
      Cancer free….BRAVO!!!!! Other than using your fluorite pendant what other things did you do to help your situation? It must be such a relief for you to have it all behind you…I cannot imagine what you went through.

    2. I’ve got some celestite that I keep covered and in the dark until I’m actually using it, then when I’m done, I cover it back up. I had left it out in the sun for a couple hours and the beautiful blue color faded to grey. Now that’s it’s been covered up and protected, it’s back to it’s beautiful blue color.

  7. Wilma, Hi! and Thank YOU for the congrats!
    I turned the whole thing into a Star Trek adventure because it was Gamma Rays this and Nuclear medicine that, but found the fluorite and a wide blue lace agate wand to be my best pals and if I felt overwhelmed, hematite and smokey quartz came to my rescue to keep me grounded. I also have a huge rose quartz that sits in front of my TV emanating unconditional love 24/7… I also had a friend who does SCIO so she gave me a few treatments before and after the surgery, which I know helped lessen the procedures I had to go through. As it was I was only treated as an outpatient, did NOT require Chemo or radiation, just a miniscule sip of radioactive iodine drink every 6 months for 3 years and now see my specialist who monitors my bloodwork every 6 months…I am most grateful to the crystals and my Guides/Reiki/Shamballa and Spiritual support from all my friends who really kept my spirits up! The best advice I can give is do NOT fear the cancer, it is just a challenge / hurdle I chose to go through to realize I was not honouring my truth and the cancer was a huge wake-up call for me to step into my authentic self and speak my Truth/walk my Talk. I never wanted sympathy…dis-ease is not about that and cures will never be found until people realize it is not about OMG ain’t it awful… send LOVE and LIGHT instead!!!

    1. Kathy, Congratulations Dear One and thank you so much for sharing your courageous story with us. My father-in-law faced the cancer challenge with much the same attitude, he accepted no sympathy or “poor me” energies from friends or family. Did what he needed to do for healing and has been cancer-free for almost 3 years. You have my respect and admiration. Love & Light to you.

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  8. Thank You Bobby and Hats Off to your father for recognizing that we choose with free will the challenges we will come into this world to learn and experience to help ourselves and all we are connected to, to become stronger and evolve according to the Master Plan. I am most grateful that I have my Crystal Allies with me!!! 🙂 Love & Light Kathy

  9. Hi Hibiscus
    Please can you go back to school and relearn your particle physics!!?
    Colour science is very complex and has chemical and phsical aspects. Colour changes such as fading or photodegradation are generally due to a chemical reaction rather than a physical one and the light is breaking chemical bonds that lead to the reduction in colour. These bonds can reform over time without light in some cases, but don’t expect your jeans to go dark again!

    I feel that a faded crystal appers older and wiser having experienced changes, so would be different to use from a bright young thing! It may be slower, but have deeper effects.

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      Rosa, normally I delete a rude comment. This isn’t the worst but please keep it civil here. Thanks. The reason I didn’t just delete this is that I never back down from a scientific debate or mature convo on the subject. In fact, your statement sort of reminds me of the heated debates that occurred in my science department planning area among the teachers. 😉

      I think we can both agree that physics is just barely understood, & quite precariously at best, that the “laws” seem to breaking down, & new understandings are coming to light more and more. Yes, I agree that color science & particle physics is very complex, which is why I really over-simplified here (perhaps too much?), however I do feel that I got the gist of what occurs while leaving the heavier technicalities out. I didn’t feel it necessary to make the distinctions between chemical & physical changes here but I did want to address this frequently asked question & somewhat addressing the science is my path. I would LOVE for you to do a more detailed follow up on your blog. That would be great!

      1. Yes I faded my amethyst crystals leaving them in the window. I am glad you understand the science of it as there is so much hokey advice out here. I wondering can I leave quartz on the window sill? Is direct sun too much for anything for a long time? I have a large transom I was displaying them on. I need basic advice. These crystals ok. Those no. Or never any for long periods. I left confused.

  10. This was great!! I love when you get Geo-Geek!! I have had some great conversations with a friend about Crystals and I was smacking the Physics and Science in the email and signed it, “Sheldon” ( from the Big Bang Theory sit com!) LOL! She is totally wanting to take your classes now. Apparently, I didn’t geek freak her out. I wish I had known about the natural amethyst fading… 🙁 I had a dark geode and always had in the window.. It has lightened up but it still ROCKS!!
    Great blog!!

  11. Agree!!! my Thou I look longingly at stones when I sit them in the sun, wondering how much color is gone forever this time, they have never changed their power, and as I use all elements regularly to keep their energies vibrant and abundant I could never trade keeping some color for the power generated by the sun charging.
    Thou I do feel they are often mor specifically purposed after wards, asthou the charging hones it in on certain abilities, eg: if you took a crystal & split it in half, charged one in the sun and one in the moon & then presented them to an unknowing person and asked if there were a different energy and/or what each piece should be used for or which would be better for a specific intention, I am sure they would reflect different potency

    =)

  12. Pingback: Ten Crystal Blog Posts ~ Hidden Gems - Hibiscus Moon Crystal Academy | Crystal Healing | Crystal Healer | Crystal Therapy | Certified Crystal Healer | Crystal Grids | Crystal Healing Course

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  14. I have two amethyst clusters at home, both intensely colored, one that can fade in sunlight and another that no matter how long you leave it in the sun, doesn’t fade. The one that fades is from Brazil and the one that doesn’t fade is from North Carolina. Have I read somewhere that there is a difference between an “alpha” amethyst and a “beta” amethyst?

  15. It’s easy to look up samples of crystals that fade in sunlight, and it’s often said that not all do. But I haven’t found any source to tell me which crystals DO NOT fade in sunlight! Does anyone know? I have a glass bowl and I wanted to fill it with sun-catching healing crystals to put on the windowsill! Thanks!

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  18. Great article, I agree that the stones probably still function largely the same. However, I’m not sure that all stones like it. Your example, amethyst, may not like being left out in the sun…

    In Amethyst, the purple comes from tetravalent iron (Fe4+) impurities in the Silicone Dioxide crystals. These iron ions are unstable and degrade into trivalent iron (Fe3+).

    So, you are changing the crystal. Listen to your crystals and see if they like being left in the light or not. It may be uncomfortable to have unstable impurities in your matrix, so maybe your crystal is tired of this situation and wants to be in the light.

    The crystal is still largely the same — just one less electron! It should still work mostly the same, but quantum effects are subtle and weird so who knows!

    Also, colour charge is a property of quarks and gluons. I’m not sure if I follow your explanation, but these ideas often don’t survive translation to metaphor. This answer helped me to understand: http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/48569/what-is-color-charge

    Source:
    http://earthscience.stackexchange.com/questions/345/why-does-the-colour-of-amethyst-fade-if-exposed-to-too-much-light

  19. Can crystals also fade from sitting close to a light source such as a salt lamp or in my case a candle wax burner lamp? If so how close would it have to be to it and how long do you think it would have to be sitting there to begin to fade? My wax burner lamp burns very quickly and is very bright and I just realized my amethyst has been sitting pretty close to it for almost 20 mins!

  20. I don’t think Rosa was being rude. She is perfectly entitled to say what she said regarding the science behind the stones in question. You can delete this if you like.

    Peace
    Val

  21. Wait you said it will still do its amethyst thing right? Does it mean that a fully faded amethyst will still have its power? Example: negativity sucked in, no nightmares, stress etc. Does it have the same power but just slower or more gentle?

  22. Its just that im kind of worried if i brang my amethyst with me everywhere. Like if my hand heats up the amethyst and it slowly fades.

  23. I have been getting your blogs and newsletters for a couple of years and enjoy them thoroughly. I looked for an answer as to why my amethysts are fading, and this helped some. However, mine are not exposed to direct sunlight or UV light, and ones that are as much as 20 years old just faded this year. They are in a glass, mirror cabinet and have been for a while. The light is only what comes in through the window and it is not bright. I will read all your friends’ comments and see if something else could be the cause. Thanks for being here and helping and educating us.

  24. I’ve heard that if a rose quartz fades to clear, it simply becomes a clear quartz and is no longer a rose quartz. Is this true? I have a bowl of small rose quartz tumble stones that have become quite pale😕

    1. I would love an answer to this question as well! I currently have the same issue and cannot find any helpful information.

  25. I’m annoyed with myself for leaving the crystals in the sun, one was a real blue teal and the other a deep amethyst, both faded to grey! It was their colours that attracted me? X

  26. I have 2 Gorgeous Amethyst spheres that have faded with only a led light 8 feet above them over a 9 month span. I still love them. I have moved them away from all light

  27. I just bought an amethyst lamp that has about 20 -3 inch amethyst chunks sitting above a regular light bulb, 25 watt. Will this over time change the energy of the amethyst even if it doesn’t fade? Thanks!

    ~Nicole

  28. Hi all,

    Physics major here. Just want to correct some (easily addressed) misconceptions from this article. I just think scientific literacy is very important, and, even though I find it hard to believe that crystals have any health benefits, I think it’s still my responsibility to explain how simple physical properties emerge.

    The central issue with the explanation for photo-degradation in this article is a misunderstanding of what “color” in physics means. This is understandable. Physical color theory (quantum chromodynamics) has nothing to do with what we see as color. A quark with a “red color charge” is not actually red. It’s just a place-holder term for a fundamental property of the particle. Like, how electrons are negatively charged. Physicists are known to do this: different particles have different “flavors,” others have different “spins.” These have nothing to do with how the particles taste, or how the particle spins like a top. Physicists here have stolen common language to name properties of particles that come from the math of physics. “Colors” could just as easily be replaced by letters or hieroglyphics or fruit. There just happen to be three “color charges,” and so “red”, “green”, and “blue” worked well, and then it sorta stuck. Leading to years of confusion.

    So, what is happening when you see the color blue? Well, light has different frequencies. It’s like a wave. Imagine a ripple in a pool. If the ripples are closer together, the frequency is higher (or faster). If the ripples are further apart, the frequency is lower (or slower). Just imagine a detector on the edge of the pool that can detect the “frequency” of high points on the ripple. More ripples per second, higher frequency.

    Light is the same way. Every photon (or “particle” of light—imagine a packet with a little wiggling string inside. Not a great visualization, but it will work for our purposes) has a certain “ripple per second” number, or frequency. And, when these packets of light strike an object, the object absorbs the light, and is energized by it (the energy of the photon needs to go somewhere). Sometimes the object, or the atom, releases this energy. But it can only shoot out photons of certain frequencies.

    This is getting into quantum mechanics, and is a little challenging to explain more rigorously than this. A great, but outdated and terribly inaccurate, model of the atom provides some intuition. Basically, you can think of electrons as orbiting the center of the atom, and every time an electron is struck by a photon, it jumps up to a larger orbit. This makes the atom energized. This is where the energy went to, pushing the electron further out. But, the electron can only exist in orbits of certain sizes. When the electron jumps back down (meaning that the energy is released), the energy of the released photon has to correspond to the scale of that jump. And, since the electron can only fall down to particular orbits, of particular energies, the released photons can only have certain energies. Or, more precisely, certain _frequencies_ (the energy of the photon is related to the frequency. You need to put more energy into the pool to generate more ripples). So, that means that blue objects are blue because they’re made of atoms and molecules that, when energized, reemit light with a higher frequency. Light with a lower frequency is red. Green is somewhere in the middle.

    And, even these color names, they’re shorthand for how our eyes process the absorption of light. We have different cells in our eyes that get “excited” when they are hit by light. Depending on the type of cell, they’ll give more of a reaction if they absorb higher frequency light. Our brains then do a lot of really complicated math to say that if this more red-sensitive cell was energized 50%, and this more green-sensitive cell was energized 27%, the color is probably orange-ish. I really recommend, if you are up to it, reading about fourier analysis. It’s very beautiful. It’s very math heavy, but it’s essentially what our brains and eyes are doing when we see a mess of light, of weird frequencies. Or sound too, for that matter.

    Physics is really gorgeous. And, I’ve only really scraped the surface of all this. I hope you read through all of it. There’s a lot more to study, though. Light as an electromagnetic wave through an abstract mathematical field that permeates all of space. How the equations that described the propagation of light through medium-less space naturally gave rose to Special Relativity, and then General Relativity, with all its weirdness and time travel and stretching and squeezing of space. Or how, looking at how light was emitted and absorbed by objects, we realized that everything in nature is stepped, or “quantized.” That, there are only certain possible energy values, and position values, and time values, everything is discrete if you zoom in close enough, nothing is continuous. And, that led to particle physics and quantum electrodynamics, and dirac’s equations, and antimatter, and quantum field theory, and all the other buzz words in modern physics.

    The author of this article wrote that “I think we can… agree that physics is just barely understood, & quite precariously at best, that the ‘laws’ seem to breaking down, & new understandings are coming to light more and more.” And, I completely agree with her. But, that’s precisely the point! It’s all very exciting that we don’t know anything! And, more to the point, just because we _could_ be wrong doesn’t mean we should mindlessly speculate on inaccurate interpretations of the physical world. We’ve been working on this physics thing for 400+ years, and millions of people have dedicated their lives to the endeavor. And, just because we have only scratched the surface does not mean that these aren’t the best ideas that us humans have ever had. It’s entirely within everyone’s ability to contribute to these ideas, but it’s _hard_. It takes years of dedication, and those new ideas still need to be double and triple and quadruple checked by thousands of other people who have also spent their lives dedicated to contributing ideas.

    Anywho, hope that this was intriguing to some of you,
    Felix

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