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?)
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 “little energy packet” — no physical matter, just energy.
Now, it’s that actual teeny-tiny packet 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 can happen:
- 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 same one that got booted 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.
- If a photon strikes a color-neutral atom, it’s gonna either get bounced off (reflected) or get absorbed as heat. And you won’t see that guy because photons are considered grey or colorless.
Some color fading of naturally natural irradiated crystals will fade over time as the photons become stable. Nothing we can do about that. By the way, artificially irradiated crystals and gemstones seem to fade even more rapidly. If you want to find out more about my precautions about artificial irradiation of minerals go here and scroll to the bottom or read more here.
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 and mutate our 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.
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 LEDs …they do have those) …so, nope they should not fade your crystals. 🙂
Does it Affect 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.
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.
So many Crystal Blessings,
P.S. What do you think about this? I’d love to hear if you agree or even if you disagree. 😀