This News About Crystals Might Shock You

If you’re into wellness, it seems there is no avoiding crystals these days. They’re as ubiquitous as #selfcare, and it’s not hard to see why. Crystals are pretty, look great on Instagram, and from home décor to spirituality, people like using them to boost their focus in all kinds of different ways. If you use crystals and are also working on being compassionate, empathetic, and mindful about how you live, you should definitely check twice to confirm where they came from.

The Sad Side Effects of Mass Marketing 

The Guardian recently reported on the many issues surrounding the harvest of crystals, noting that child labor is a major problem in the industry. There are also major issues with Islamic extremists using crystals to fund terrorist projects.  Crystals have to be mined from the earth, and the truth is, mining practices harm our planet.

While many people who use crystals do so as a spiritual practice, the truth is that mining crystals is now a multibillion dollar industry, per the The New Republic. As demand grows, so does exploitation, so that prices can stay low and profits high. 

One of the few crystal sellers willing to talk about mining in the Guardian article, Stephen Wells notes that the effects of mining and exploitation are bound to resonate within the stones. So if your lifestyle involves crystals, you might want to make sure they’re coming ethical sources.

Perpetuity Means Forever

Wells warns that “If something is cheap and available in huge quantities, the odds are it’s the result of a huge commercial enterprise.”

In fact, most crystals are found during mining operations for other more precious metals and gems. Crystals found only at Chino Copper Mine, the two largest copper mines in New Mexico, “will generate an estimated 2 billion gallons of acid and metals contaminated seepage every year, requiring water treatment in perpetuity.” 

“Luckily,” that mine is subject to regulations thanks to its location in the USA. Thousands of other mines around the world are not, which means that the people living in those areas are likely being exposed to incredibly toxic substances to supply our demand.

The Next Blood Diamonds?

Some environmental and social groups are warning that the issue with crystals is approaching a similar level to the problem with diamonds people fought to change earlier in the century. One of the NGOs at the head of the blood diamonds campaign was Global Witness, and now, they want to help people become more aware of the issues with crystals.

“It would be a great shame,” says Sophia Pickles, campaign leader at Global Witness, “if consumers buying goods that they believe help them ‘connect with the Earth’ are, in fact, making purchases that are connected to grave human-rights abuses, environmental destruction, conflict and corruption. Unfortunately, this is a very real risk for products like crystals.”

Knowledge is Power

It seems that the news is starting to spread. People are taking steps to make sure that the good vibes they’;re seeking from their crystals aren’t destroyed by bad karma from our planet and other people. On its crystals page, Goop notes that “No amount of sage can get rid of the bad vibes that come from human exploitation and environmental destruction.”

Perhaps you feel more motivated by the social impact or environmental issues caused by unethical mining, or maybe both disturb you equally. Whether you believe in your crystals’ power to manifest change or not, the truth is, your choices can manifest great change for the people and places where the beautiful crystals are found. Please choose wisely.