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

Hibiscus Moon Crystals, geology, science 32 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 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 term “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!

[caption id="attachment_17337" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Cabochon of cinnabar in milky quartz matrix.[/caption]

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 in certain quantities 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. It’s all a magical balancing act. Just use your own good judgment.

GEO-GEEK FACTOID: Well, what about Tiger’s Eye? It’s often used in jewelry yet it contains asbestos. Is that safe? Actually, according to the editor of Rock and Gem magazine, Bob Jones, yes, it is safe to wear. Reason is that the asbestos fibers that were originally in Tiger’s Eye have actually been replaced by silica (quartz)… just the same as what happens with petrified wood! So the invading quartz ends up taking on the form of the fibrous asbestos; is what gives Tiger’s Eye that gorgeous silky luster we call “chatoyancy” (from French for “cat’s eye,”). But the asbestos is no longer actually there. In geology, we call this process pseudo-morphing.

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

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!