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red agateJust perfect for your Halloween creations -- these Red Agate Evil Eye beads are of stone that was formed from layers of silica from volcanic cavities. Agate is named after the Achates River (now known as the Dirillo River) on the island of Sicily, Italy, whose upper waters were an ancient source of this gemstone. Each strand offered here has 16 round faceted beads, with colors ranging from red to amber, as shown. Each bead is approx. 10 mm. with an approx. 2 mm. hole. Each strand is $10, but for a limited time, take 10% off with the code HALLOWEEN at checkout.


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quartz crystals in agateEnough about plain homely stones for a while!  As I meander through future potential chapters of my book, 'Stoned: My Addiction to Gems, Crystals, and Just Plain Homely Rocks', I feel I should spend a little time on crystals, so today's the day.

The word "crystal" comes from the Greek word κρύσταλλος, "ice"; the ancients believed quartz (just one type of crystal) to be water ice, permanently frozen after great lengths of time. In fact, crystals start as an event; all the necessary conditions (temperature, pressure, and chemical elements) combine in a specific way, at a specific time, to allow for them to begin and grow. In the example shown in the image, you see an incredible specimen of agate quartz.  The Agate formed in

cavities left by gas bubbles in lava that was once liquid but has cooled and become solid.  Silica-rich groundwater then built layers of crystals on the cavity walls. In its own way, then, the crystal has a story to tell – of something that occurred. It holds the record of some of our most ancient history. This is likely one reason many believe crystals have a particular "energy", not to mention that in the case of quartz crystal, it has been proven to receive, transmit, and store energy. Quartz is used in watches because they oscilate at an absolutely perfect rate. And this is natural energy—not man-made or manipulated, as in a light bulb or a nuclear power plant.

Not surprisingly, the ancients also called quartz crystals "the ice of the gods", and used them for healing or magical purposes. Today, those who believe in crystal healing recommend them for wearing, keeping near the body or in living spaces, use during meditation, as a key ingredient for gem essences, and for cleansing/clearing of auras and chakras. Some believe crystals are the very source of pure energy, and that they hold the true vibration of the planet. It is theorized that modern life has robbed us of our ability to experience that vibration – but that crystals can help us remember our ancient and innate wisdom. I find these ideas to be lovely, and even if they act as only a placebo to cause us to be more mindful, wise and healthy in our daily lives, they deserve consideration. Just the act of wearing a crystal is a sort of meditation, if we use it to remind ourselves of our higher callings, of our 'best side'. And beyond this, I find it is calming and healing to gaze upon such beauty. The clarity of crystals, whether in brilliant color or clear, is something for us to emulate – in a world that is often clouded by pollutants – whether they be physical or psychological.

If you enjoyed this blog post, you might also enjoy the post 'March Birthstone - Aquamarine'.

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