Are Healing Crystals The New Blood Diamonds?
An increasing number of people are realizing the myriad of metaphysical healing benefits that may be offered from semi-precious stones, orgonite, jade rollers and healing crystals. It’s time to start asking, have they been ethically mined or are they the new blood diamonds?
What are healing crystals?
Crystal healing is a pseudoscientific alternative medicine technique that uses semi-precious stones and crystals such as quartz, amethyst, jade or opals. Adherents of the technique claim that these semi-precious stones have healing powers, although there is no scientific basis for this claim.
The reality behind this booming wellness craze is brutal and not being talked about enough, if at all. The demand for healing crystals is soaring, but many are mined in deadly conditions in some of the world’s poorest countries. Healing crystals, jade rollers and jewellery all exploit the same mining conditions, and there is little evidence that this billion-dollar industry is cleaning up its act.
How are these crystals mined?
In the US, the demand for overseas crystals and gemstones have more than doubled over the past three years. (Those numbers capture raw stone, but not the crystals imported under many other categories like jewellery, home goods and decorations.) Daniel Trinchillo, owner of Fine Minerals International, says that his business makes between $30m and $40m in sales each year. Despite the plethora of money the minerals fetch on the international market – some $31 billion in 2014 – just like the diamond industry, most profit goes into the pockets of corporations.
In Myanmar, the excavation of jade has become a humanitarian crisis nearly on par with blood diamond conflicts in Africa. Did you know 90% of the world’s Jade comes from Myanmar and its sale helps fund the ongoing genocide and persecution of the Rohingya? Locals risk their lives daily to find small specimens of gems, and they are left in the wake of the large mining operations. Caught in the middle of a geopolitical struggle and dangerous environmental conditions, these gems are essentially the country’s only resource, and the primary source of all jade in the world.
Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world, more than 80% of their crystals are mined “artisanally”. This means they’re mined by small groups and families, without regulation, who are paid rock-bottom prices. Anjoma Ramartina is a good place to begin if your looking to find the source of your rose quartz decorations. Most homes in Anjoma Ramartina have no electricity, no running water, no phone or network connections. Malnutrition is common. According to the World Bank, around 80% of those outside Madagascar’s cities live below the $1.90-a-day poverty line.
How are healing crystals used?
What are they using these healing crystals and cosmetic rollers for and are there really any benefits? Crystal healing therapy involves placing gemstones on the body to draw out negative energy. As an alternative medical technique, crystals and other stones are used to cure ailments and protect against disease. Despite the fact that crystal healing has seen an upsurge in popularity in recent years, this alternative treatment is not popular with most medical doctors and scientists. Many of whom would rather refer to crystal healing as a pseudoscience.
The idea behind jade rollers are fairly simple: Jade is relatively cool to the touch, and can stay cool even when it comes in contact with your skin. This cooling effect claims to helps with brightening your complexion, reducing puffiness, stimulating lymphatic drainage, and promoting blood circulation, but there is no scientific studies to back these claims up.
So, do crystal and jade rollers actually work?
Jade itself does not have any special properties for skin. Sabina Wizemann says; “There are currently no clinical studies that prove jade rolling or gua sha massage have any beneficial effects for skin, so more research is needed to prove their results.”
Paula’s Choice blog states that; “Regardless of the type of rock used, the companies selling jade rollers claim that they’ll treat everything, from puffiness and dark circles to fine lines and wrinkles. Some make “face-slimming” claims; others claim that jade rollers help detoxify skin, which isn’t physiologically possible. The cooling effect from a jade roller may feel refreshing, and is a harmless add on to your skin routine if used properly, but there are very few if any proven benefits to jade rolling.
Last, but not least, you may have heard that jade rollers can help “push” ingredients into your skin so they absorb better. The truth? There’s nothing about a jade roller that can help your skin care products penetrate any better than applying them with your fingers. Absorption is all about the molecular size of the ingredients in the products you’re using. A well-formulated product contains some ingredients that remain on the surface and some that penetrate deeply; no special application method is needed.
Best-case scenario; the most likely benefit you can expect from a jade roller is a reduction in under-eye puffiness… that is if the puffiness results from fluid retention rather than from other common causes.”
Will you continue to support the exploitation?
We want people asking questions of spas, aestheticians, beauty brands, gemologists and jewellery makers who are exploiting this “wellness craze”. We are hoping to become more knowledgeable on where and how these crystals are mined, and we’d like you to join us. The next time you go in for a facial and they’re offering a face roller, think about these questions;
- “How do I know the jade/quartz/stone in this roller was not mined by a child?”
- “What is the source of this stone?”
- “How do you know it’s not a conflict crystal?”
Just like how “ethically sourced” and “fair-trade” coffee is a big deal now, we want spa’s and beauty consumers to question whether or not the “good energy” is worth the cost. People need to realize that some, if not all of their healing crystals, jade rollers, jewellery and more has come at the expense and exploitation of the poorest and most vulnerable people.
Sometimes all we need is some information to help us make better choices for ourselves, for our environment and for others. We hope this article didn’t upset you in any way and if it did, we hope it upset you for all the right reasons.