Common Crystal Questions

How do I cleanse my crystals?
There are a multitude of different ways to cleanse your new crystal companions, so it's important to trial a few different methods to find which is the best fit for you. There are also some crystals that can't go through certain cleansing methods - which I will elaborate on further.
Smoke cleansing is most commonly done by using sage. Popularly, this would be with white sage - but we do not encourage the use of white sage due to its background in appropriating Native American culture, and its ever-increasing endangerment, due to white sage being over-harvested. This is the same reason as to why we do not encourage the use of palo santo wood for smoke cleansing either.
There is a myriad of types of sage that can be used as an alternative, and you can even grow common sage in your back garden to create your own smoke cleansing bundles! 
When using sage, it'll clear the whole space of all energy, giving you an entirely clean slate. If you wish to only banish negative energy - using incense or other herbs (such as rosemary or lavender etc.) for smoke cleansing - is your better choice.
To cleanse your crystals under the moonlight - place them on a windowsill or outside under the new moon. The new moon symbolises cleansing energies and rebirth. This is a great alternative for cleansing crystals that are photosensitive and therefore cannot be cleansed in the sunlight without the risk of it fading their colour.
You can also leave your crystals out under sunlight as the sun is a natural and powerful cleanser. I would only encourage that you do this with crystals higher on 5 on the mohs scale (as sometime sunlight can crack fragile crystals), or with clear/uncoloured stones that don't risk having their colour faded by the light.
Selenite & Blue Kyanite:
Both selenite (satin spar in its most common form) and blue kyanite are powerful cleansing crystals in which they themselves do not need to be cleansed. You can wave a wand of either stone around your crystals while channeling your intent to cleanse them. You can also place crystals onto a plate of selenite to cleanse them.
Some stones you can run under water or place them into a container of water to cleanse them. However, there are a bunch of crystals that are sensitive in water. Lots of them you can still run under water, however I'd avoid it just to always be on the safe side.
There is a common rule of thumb that most crystals with a name ending in '-ite' shouldn't come into contact with water. Just like most rules, there are PLENTY of exceptions to it, however for your more common '-ite' crystals, it's a good rule to follow. 
Some stones, such as malachite and tigers eye, contain small amounts of toxic substances such as copper and asbestos. These have a chance of being released when they come into contact with water. This is more likely to happen with raw crystals, while polished crystals tend to be much safer. And while they are likely to only release trace amounts, it's always better to be safe than sorry.
Other crystals, such as labradorite, will lose their labradorescence or chatoyancy when kept in water for too long. You don't have to worry about running them under water, but don't keep them in it or repeatedly expose them.
Certain vibrations or frequencies can cleanse your crystals of unwanted energy. Some popular tools are singing bowls and bells, however these can be pricey at times. A much easier option is to search for cleansing sounds on youtube and find one that suits you. Or hey, our voice is a powerful tool, so why not sing to (or scream at...) your crystals!
You can place crystals on a bed of salt to cleanse them also, the salt draws the congested energy out of the crystals - so it's recommended you replace the salt every so often. Not all crystals should be placed in salt, as a general rule don't place any crystal lower than 5 on the mohs scale in the salt.
How do I charge my crystals?
The full moon is a time for recharging and re-energising. This is why many people choose to leave their crystals out under one, as it will boost their energy and re-charge them.
You can connect with and charge your crystals through the power of visualisation. Take a quiet moment with your crystals to get into a clear and calm headspace, then visualise a white glowing light around them that infuses them with energy.
Selenite is a truly one of a kind crystal, because depending on the intention you set for it, it can cleanse or charge your crystals. Use the same method described under cleansing above, however set your intentions with the selenite to charge the crystals/items you place it by.
How often should I cleanse/charge my crystals?
This is more of a personal or intuitive decision depending on the energy (or lack thereof) you feel from your crystals. If you feel like they're holding too much energy or a mix of energies and not working how they should be, give them a cleanse. If you feel like they're lacking energy then a charge may be best. Or you may feel like giving them both a cleanse and charge when you get them in order to rid them of stale energy and align them with your space.
If you're a beginner who doesn't feel in touch with your intuition yet, I recommend cleansing them when you first get them, then doing both a cleanse and charge at least once a month.
Do I need to "activate" my crystals?
This is another personal choice that depends on your and your beliefs. Usually, the term 'activate' when it comes to crystals, means that you are unlocking the crystals powers in a way, or you need to activate their powers before you can use them. In my personal opinion, I don't feel that this is necessary. Crystals, unlike other magickal tools, come with their power already in them, rather than the power flowing through you. 
Perhaps it would be better to use the term 'activate' as connecting to your crystals, as in taking time to meditate and bond with them.
Will my crystals lose their powers?
Some people grow concerned that if they don't use, cleanse or charge their crystals for a while then they will lose their powers. While they may need a charge after so long, remember that crystals have held their powers while buried in the Earth for millions of years, they will never lose their energy.
A crystal I have makes me feel uneasy/disconnected - what might this mean?
Not everyone is going to feel connected to every crystal. There are thousands of types and just as you will have ones you connect with more or own more of, there will always be some that you may not be drawn to, or may even in fact affect you in a negative way. My example is that carnelian or hematite give me headaches and make me feel uneasy whenever I'm around them.
Although I've come to realise that sometimes there's a difference, where in fact some crystals I'm originally put off by, are needed. Many people believe that when you feel offset by a crystals' energy, it is in fact telling you that it needs to be a part of your life. Spirituality is not always comfortable, and sometimes it can flip your life around entirely (I'm looking at you, moldavite), so the uncomfortability you feel when you hold a crystal may mean that those energies need to be brought into your life.
I would try to intuitively distinguish between crystals that are wrong for me and crystals that FEEL wrong for me, but if you're not comfortable in your intuition yet then it's best to stray from 'off' crystals for now, and revisit them later. 
My crystal broke, does this have a meaning?
Many people have different beliefs on what the breaking of a crystal means.
To some, however many pieces it breaks into (2, 3 and so on...) indicates thet amount of people it needs to be given to. As in you would keep one piece and pass the others onto someone else or a few people. This would be because the crystal is needed elsewhere too.
Others say that a crystal breaking symbolises that it has done what it needed to do for you, its purpose has been served and now it is done.
And hey, you don't have to believe there's anything more behind it than the cat knocking things off your shelf again (I definitely know the struggle of this one!) - personally I've spent too much on some of my crystals to think there's a reason when they get broken!
How do I spot a "fake" crystal?
This is a very big question as there are many different types of fake crystals and ways in which they are faked. I go into a lot more detail on this topic in a series I created over on my TikTok account - @constellationcrystals - however there are a few simplified ways I can explain here too.
For quartz crystals (clear, rose, smoky etc...) these are higher on the mohs scale than glass. If you have a rough piece of crystal or a point, you can scratch it on some glass - if it leaves a mark then the quartz is genuine. 
Another technique, used mostly for clear quartz, is the magnification technique. If you place a clear quartz over writing and it magnifies the words, then it is fake and glass rather than quartz. HOWEVER - this technique is overruled if your quartz is curved in any way (like a tumblestone or sphere) as the concave shape of the crystal will magnify the writing even if it is genuine. 
If you have a stone that's full of air bubbles, this will be glass, as natural quartz does not contain air bubbles. Do not mistake natural fractures, cracks or mineral inclusions in the stone as air bubbles however, as things like this are actually a good indicator that your crystal is genuine.
For crystals you suspect are dyed, you can rub some acetone over the top of the stone on a cotton pad or cloth etc. and if it is dyed the dye will come off on the cloth. This works very well for enhanced lapis lazuli and 'turquoise' which is usually dyed howlite. However, for dyed agates and quartz's this is unlikely to work as the dye has seeped into the crystal rather than stayed on the surface. As a general rule of thumb, any brightly coloured agate or quartz, will be dyed.
'Aura' quartz is always unnatural - it will never occur in nature. It is formed in two different ways. One way in which clear quartz is loosely bonded to dyes (usually teflon) to make it a vivid bright aura colour. This way is a super cheap process and the most common. The aura will most likely scratch off very easily on these types of crystal and the whole stone isn't usually covered.
The other way aura quartz is created is by bonding clear quartz to precious metals such as palladium and titanium, in a high heat and high pressure chamber. This will permanently bond the metals to the quartz and create a less vividly coloured gemstone where the aura coating won't scratch off as easily.
It can be quite hard for the untrained eye to spot the difference between the two, and price is unfortunately no indicator, as many sellers will sell the cheaper aura quartz as 'genuine' expensive aura. To my knowledge at the time of writing this, ALL 'hybrid' aura is the cheaper version.
Another general rule of thumb is that when you're holding a crystal, it should be cold and stay relatively cold for a period of time. If it warms up easily it is more likely to be glass or resin.
A crystal that is widely 'faked' (to the point where the 'fake' is far more abundant than the natural version of the crystal) is citrine. 'Fake' citrine isn't man made, however it is amethyst that has gone through heat treatment in a lab to make it into a vivid orange citrine. It is up to you whether you wish to call this 'heat treated amethyst' or 'heat treated citrine' - I personally go with the latter as it is my belief that the crystalline structure has still undergone changes during the heating process to now make it into an orange stone which I would no longer associate with the properties of amethyst - but this is a totally personal decision.
ALL heat treated citrine is a bright orange/yellow colour - which will not occur in natural citrine. It can also have a white rock base which also does not occur in natural citrine. Natural citrine clusters look nothing like common amethyst clusters, so if you have a 'citrine' cluster that looks similar to an amethyst one but with a bright orange top and white on the bottom - this is heat treated citrine. This distinction isn't made often by sellers and you will more than likely be told this type of citrine is completely natural. Be sure to check thoroughly with sellers who do not disclose this information before purchasing.
There are many 'crystals' that are made by man in a lab. Some examples of these are opalite, goldstones/sandstones, cherry or smelt quartz and most bismuth on the market too.
Generally, it is polished crystals (points, spheres, tumblestones etc.) that are faked as it is much easier to create these shapes in a lab. It is very uncommon to find man made raw crystals such as clusters or chunks.
How do I use my crystals?
One of the main ways you can use crystals on a daily basis is by carrying them with you. Many people choose to wear crystal jewellery in order to do so, however some jobs don't allow for it and some people just don't get along with jewellery either! 
My favourite way of carrying crystals on me is by placing crystals with the energies I need for that day (citrine for motivation, sodalite for relaxation etc.) in my bra, in a pocket or in a bag.
When you're at home or in your spiritual space, place crystals in areas that correspond to their properties. For example, keep amethyst or sodalite by your bed or meditation space. Or keep apatite nearby if you're trying to tap into intuitive or prophetic dreams. Keep citrine, fluorite and tigers eye by your work space in order to boost motivation and focus.
Do I have to be a witch/wiccan to use crystals for healing?
Absolutely not at all! Crystals are used (and have been used for many years) by people of multiple beliefs and backgrounds. Some Christians may use crystals to connect with their guardian angels or in prayer. Lapis Lazuli was used by ancient Greeks for psychic abilities and intuition. Plus a bunch of witchcraft is rooted in science, and it is fact that crystalline structures give off different vibrations - for example the quartz being used in your phone. There are absolutely no religious restrictions surrounding the use of crystals. 
Is it disrespectful to buy crystals for aesthetic purposes?
You can purchase/use crystals in absolutely any way your heart desires. You don't have to hold any belief in their powers if you don't want to - and it's perfectly valid to keep them around for how pretty they look.