Your interest is piqued and now you want to buy a couple of crystals and see for yourself. There are many options to buy stones and crystals.
1. Visit your local mineral or new age shop and pick a stone that appeals to you. Hold it in your hand and see if it feels right. Some people like to use a pendulum to "dowse" a stone. Make sure the owner is knowledgeable about stones and buys from reputable sources. I am fortunate that in my area I have several quality shops to choose from. This is my preferred method of purchase.
2. Local gem and mineral shows sponsored by your local gemology society. A listing can be found at www.amfed.org. Even the major events allow the public to attend. Three listing sites are www.intergem.com, www.tgms.org, and www.mineralfest.com.
3. Online sites. There are many to choose from. The one I buy from is www.HealingCrystals.com. They also have a monthly newsletter and many archived articles on crystals and their healing properties.
Like anything, Buyer Beware. Many stones are similar in appearance and can be innocently mistaken or intentional misled by a retailer. In many cases, only a certified gemologist with thousands of dollars of equipment can truly tell the difference. Examples include: Jade (expensive) and Serpentine (inexpensive), Amber (expensive) and Copal (inexpensive) and yellow plastic (yes, it happens), and Turquoise (expensive) and dyed Howelite ot Magnesite Inexpensive).
Members of the American Gem Trade Association must identify all stones for sale with all that applies from the following list:
1. N - Natural. Stones are not treated in any manner.
2. B - Bleaching. To lighten or remove unwanted gem color.
3. C - Coating. To improve the appearance or add special effects.
4. D - Dyeing. To make it look like another stone or to intensify its natural color.
5. F - Filling. Solidified Borax is a by product of heating and it fills in any cracks.
6. G - Gamma Radiation. Used to alter color.
7. H - Heating. Used to alter color.
8. I - Impregnating. Intentionally filling in cracks with glass, plastic, or ceramic.
9. IMIT or MM. Uses manmade products such as glass, plastic, or ceramic to resemble a natural stone.
10. O - Oiling. Fills in cracks with oil or wax to improve appearance.
11. R - Radiation. Used to alter color.
12. S - Stabilized. Uses a bonding agent to improve durability and appearance.
13. SYN- Synthetic. Uses manmade materials to replicate the optical, physical, and chemical properties of its counterpart.
14. U - Diffusion. Uses chemicals and/or high heat to create star like inclusions in the stone.
15. W - Waxing. Uses wax or paraffin to improve appearance.
As I make therapeutic jewerly for both pets and people, its important to me that I buy my gemstones beads from a member of AGTA. I look at it like an ingredient list on a shampoo bottle. I can make an informed decision on whether or not I want that particular stone.
So, now that you have bought a couple of pocket stones, how do you care for them. That will be the topic of an upcoming blog.