Gemstones have been attributed with a variety of mystical healing, protective, and self-improvement properties. But I was trained as a gemologist, learning all the “hard facts” about gemstones. However, I often want to use the mystical, magical, legendary properties of gemstones in my Birthstone Romances. For that background, I usually turn to two places.
First, is a trip to my bookshelves and George Frederick Kunz’s The Curious Lore of Precious Stones. Kunz was the gemologist (or the equivalent in his day) at Tiffany & Co., and also worked for the US Geological Survey. So he was no slouch when it came to “just the facts.” (Eventually, the pink variety of the mineral spodumene was named Kunzite in his honor.) But he was intrigued by all the other things that made gemstones so fascinating: the lore, the legend, the history, and the myth. And after gathering up so much esoteric stuff, he did us all a favor and put it into a book. So George is my first stop.
Second stop, (no big surprise here) is the Internet, that great repository of all things accurate and inaccurate. But when I want to get a concise view of the current thinking about the mystical or helpful properties of gemstones, I usually go to the website Charms of Light, run by Caryl Haxworth. It’s clean, simple, and free of hyperbole.
Do I believe gemstones can affect us? Let’s just quote Tucker Hayes, a character in The Listening Heart: “I don’t disbelieve it.” There are too many strange things in the world that we don’t understand. I have talked to people who, like Kunz, know their beans about gemstones, and they have had unusual experiences with stones. Was it the stone? Was it something else? (She shrugs, hands out.) Don’t know.
Of course, some gemstones are actually used in healing. I’m talking about the focusing medium in solid-state lasers, which can be some kind of synthetic gem material, that are used for a variety of medical purposes.
Anyway, primarily I think the information about the lore of gemstones makes them more interesting, makes them a bit more than a chunk of pretty rock that was dug from the ground, often at a great human price. It can even lead to great story ideas.