The staple of a New Age person's esoteric diet is the humble crystal; pretty rocks that come in all colours, shapes and sizes and each have their own unique (and generic) attributes that make them insanely useful for physical and spiritual healing. But all that comes with a price...

Witching Hour on Female First

Witching Hour on Female First

No, we're not talking actual price - although the vast crystal collections that spiritualists and witches alike often have, largely because of the (let's be honest) visual appeal, are not easy on the bank balance - but rather a humanitarian price. As much as many of us like to close our eyes and ears to the prospect of giving up crystals for the sake of the planet and the people who mine them, the true cost of doing so is far greater than you might realise.

The crystals that you buy from New Age stores have changed hands so often that you'll find it almost impossible to find out their sources, no matter what the seller tries to tell you. Currently there are no regulations for tracking where they have come from. A lot of crystals tend to be by-products of larger gold, copper and cobalt mines - and we don't need to tell you that many of these are in countries that have very poor labour laws and even worse environmental regulations. And when we say by-product, crystal mining is still a multi-billion dollar industry so imagine the positive environmental impact we'd have if we just left them in the Earth.

Even in the US, where you'd think labour and environmental regulations would be as strict as possible, the industrial scale copper mines from which crystals are often taken have serious problems when it comes to water pollution. Acid and metal seepage contaminates ground and surface water with the implications being damage to wildlife and entire ecosystems, not to mention public health.

And even if crystal sellers know the specific mines their crystals came from, they're not likely to reveal them to you for fear of risking business. In those cases, you can't possibly find out for yourself if these mines are ethical. The only way you can truly be sure is by collecting them yourself at small family-owned mines that charge an entrance fee, but still run a carbon neutral operation and have limits in place.

Crystals are so useful for their healing and magical properties, and those who work with them regularly will know that they have to be spiritually cleansed on a regular basis to get rid of any negative energies attached to them. But honestly, it would take more than sage and salt water to erase the history of violence, abuse, pollution and carbon emissions that may have brought this crystal into your possession.

Just how effective can a healing crystal be if people and wildlife had to suffer so you could have it?

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