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Crystals 101: Crystals for Every Situation

Culture
Illustrated by Liz Riccardi

for when you’re between a rock and a hard place.

Your Instagram is filled with ethereal snaps of your sweeping, Stevie Nicks-inspired outfits, your #covengoals are on point, your Samhain ritual soirée last month was a smash hit, and don’t even get us started on how flawlessly you pull off a black lip. In short, you’re killing the power-witch game, one spell at a time. But what’s a rare, magically inclined bird such as yourself to do when your energy—either within yourself or your physical space—feels out of whack? Sticky situations such as these call for something shiny and—dare we say—sparkly, like natural crystals and minerals. Whether you’re a seasoned rock hound who’s well-versed in the basics of harnessing the healing power of crystals, a complete novice, or even a skeptic, here are some of the best crystals, gems, and minerals to add to your collection—and decor—for every situation.

Cleansing + Charging Crystals

First things first: Crystals and minerals, like all objects employed in energy work, tend to pick up outside energy. Before your crystal was yours, it was touched by many hands and likely came into contact with some unsavory energies you wouldn’t necessarily invite into your home or space. Similar to a new gadget, crystals and stones need to be calibrated and aligned with your own personal brand of energy, and require intermittent “tuneups” approximately once a month or after encountering negative or intense energies (think: breakups or moving into a new home).

Brush the cosmic dust off your new crystal with a sea-salt bath. Simply immerse your stones into water mixed with sea salt (with a one tablespoon to one cup of water ratio) for 24 hours. Next, you’ll want to charge them, either with the lunar phases or solar energy. Bathing crystals in moonlight during full or waxing moon phases is commonly known to be the most powerful method, but you can get just as strong an energy surge from sunlight, too. New moons, lunar phases when the moon is dark and can’t be seen, are also excellent for charging crystals used for protection and banishment.

Alternatively, smoke from sage smudging can be used to cleanse stagnant energies, and is especially handy for soluble stones like selenite, which will disintegrate over time with moisture. You can also use plain, dry sea salt; just fill a bowl with run-of-the-mill sea salt and immerse your crystals for 24 hours.

Clear Quartz

One of the most common—and cheapest—minerals on the planet, clear quartz is an essential for any crystal collection. Ranging in color from super-crystaline to milky or opaque, quartz is beloved for its powerful properties in amplifying positive energy while filtering out negative energies. Snag a clear quartz crystal point or cluster to accompany your other crystals, place on top of your tarot deck when it’s not in use, or really, for anywhere in your home that could use jazzing up.

Pro tip: Nestle crystal points and clusters in the soil around your potted house plants, succulents, and cacti for maximum otherworldly nesting.  

Smoky Quartz

This beautiful gem can be found in grayish, transparent hues, smokey browns, and near-black opaque colors. Corresponding to the base or root chakra, smoky quartz has powerful grounding properties, and is said to be especially helpful in enhancing primal survival instincts and accomplishing personal and professional goals, as well as banishing jealousy, fear, and negativity. Like its colorless cousin, smoky quartz is easy to find and typically inexpensive, and makes for an excellent addition to any collection, but is especially powerful when placed in your workspace or office.

Carnelian

A bold stone found in a spectrum of fiery, sunset hues and red-browns, carnelian embodies warmth, leadership, and courage, and stimulates the second or “sacral” chakra associated with creativity and sexuality. This mineral is said to sharpen analytical skills, and protects against fear, anger, and envy. Carnelian is a popular gem in jewelry, but also can be found as smooth, tumbled stones. Wear this stone or keep it handy for an edge in important professional challenges or for upping your confidence during an interview or first date.

Citrine

A cult favorite, this bright, sunny stone gets its namesake from its gorgeous range of citrus-like hues, from lemony yellows to burnt-amber shades and topaz-like golden browns. Citrine stimulates mental focus and intellectual agility, making it brilliant choice for students and anyone in a creative field. An optimistic gem, citrine corresponds to the solar plexus chakra and promotes inner happiness and wild creativity. This stone is said to never need cleansing, as it doesn’t hold onto negative vibes, but rather dissipates and transmutes bad energy so that it works itself out subtly. Pair it with a chunk of clear quartz and add it to your desk decor, or to any room that needs brightening.

Aventurine

Though found in a spectrum of hues, the most common color of aventurine is a serpentine green. This gem is aligned with the heart chakra, and is a known aid in mending broken hearts and heartsickness, as well as protecting the heart from energy vampires (read: exes). Its green hues also correspond to wealth and prosperity, making this a top choice for drumming up financial opportunities and stuffing your piggy bank.

Rose Quartz

One of the loveliest stones out there, rose quartz ranges in color from milky, soft rose tones to golden-white, opaque shades, and emits cool, calm energies that remove negativity and establish gentle self-love. Rose quartz is associated with the heart chakra, and can be used to bring peace to relationships, opening yourself to love energy, and healing emotional wounds. Another relative of clear and smoky quartz, rose quartz is unbelievably easy to find and is affordable in its many forms.

Kyanite

This ethereal stone is forms naturally in twisted, dagger-like formations in colors ranging from grey and black to brilliant cerulean and Prussian blues. Sometimes called the “meditation stone,” kyanite ushers in tranquility and blocks frustration and confusion, opening doors to psychic consciousness and compassion. And because kyanite stimulates the throat chakra, this stone also fine-tunes communication. Kyanite is said to promote lucid dreaming, and like citrine, is self-cleansing.

Amethyst

Ranging from deep, royal purples to milky, pinkish-lavender shades, amethyst is regarded as the “stone of spirituality and contentment,” bestowing peace and tranquility while stabilizing emotional and physical dysfunctions. These qualities have garnered amethyst a reputation for being especially effective for those overcoming addiction, anxiety disorders, and insomnia. The amethyst’s serene energy makes it a perfect choice for bedrooms, chill-out spots, or anywhere you want to get a little R&R.

Pro tip: Traveling with amethyst cancels out anxiety and promotes restful, calm sleep, no matter where you are. Score a couple of small crystal chunks or a killer piece of amethyst jewelry to have them on your person during your trip. You can hold onto amethyst during a bumpy flight and even set it on your bedstand to ensure a good night’s sleep in a strange bed.

Moonstone

The super-popular, ghostly luminescence of moonstone is having a moment right now, and is even a top pick for bridal and engagement jewelry. Usually found in lunar-white or grey hues, moonstone’s true claim to fame is in its opalescent “fire,” or iridescent flashes that can fall anywhere from fuchsia to teal. A member of the feldspar mineral family, its connotations are connected to true love, but the moonstone’s properties are also highly attuned to psychic development and intuition. Often called the “feeling stone,” moonstone helps its user feel out situations, further developing your intuitive sight. Available in an array of forms, moonstone makes for a striking gemstone for jewelry for on-the-fly guidance.

Labradorite

Another member of the otherworldly feldspar mineral family, labradorite is almost like an inversion of moonstone. Murky and alienesque, labradorite ranges from iridescent, mossy army green to celestial grey, all with flashes of feldspar fire that can appear golden, teal, deep purple, and royal blue. A magical stone, labradorite is poised to enhance third-eye vision, clairvoyance, intuition, and psychic abilities. Labradorite is said to also bring out the best parts of a personality, tempering the darker sides of ourselves. Equally as popular as its sister moonstone, labradorite can be found in many different forms, especially in jewelry.

Ametrine

A hybrid mix of amethyst and citrine, ametrine’s most common form is a blend of lavender purples and golden yellows, either with milky inclusions or completely translucent. When shopping for crystals, it’s easy to confuse an ametrine with an amethyst or citrine crystal. Ametrine fuses amethyst’s soothing properties with citrine’s sunny disposition and happy vibes, making this a standout gem for enhancing cozy feelings of well-being and intellectual flexibility. Ametrine is also known as the “inspiration stone,” and is said to promote swift decision-making and creative clarity. If you’re in the midst of a big decision, have ametrine on hand. Even better, include it in your workspace or on your desk.

Selenite

Brittle and opaque, selenite’s most common form is a glowing white or cream color, usually very milky and dense in appearance. Simply holding this crystal in the palm of your hand is said to clear and cleanse your aura, draining out negativity from your physical body. Selenite is a very tranquil, soothing crystal highly regarded for bringing (and maintaining) peace, especially in domestic life. Adding a larger piece—like a polished crystal selenite orb or a raw selenite tower—filters out negativity and harmful energy from the atmosphere. Because of its high salt content, selenite does not do well with moisture and will disintegrate over time with water, so keep this one away from the bathroom and kitchen.

Nail polish is for novices

Fashion label The Blonds is known for its high-intensity looks that you'd only wear if you wanted to stand out (and who doesn't?). For its runway shows, wild press-on nails are the beauty step that can't be missed. So, since the brand has partnered with CND since it was founded, we thought it best to get prepped for the show with Jan Arnold, CND's co-founder.

See why you should take your nail look from a zero to a 10, in the video above.

Credits:
Shot by Charlotte Prager
Edited by Gretta Wilson
Produced by Alexandra Hsie
Production Assistant: Polina Buchak
Featuring Jan Arnold of CND Nails and The Blonds

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Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

It would've been nice if someone said the word "fat"

Back in November, Rebel Wilson claimed to be the first plus-sized lead in a romantic comedy when she appeared on Ellen to talk about her role in Isn't It Romantic. Wilson was not only wrong, but she was—even if inadvertently—erasing the work of Black plus-size actresses like Queen Latifah and Mo'Nique, both of whom have expansive resumes that include romantic comedies.

Wilson's comment isn't the first example of white women taking up a little too much space in the fat acceptance ethos. It's actually quite common. But there is a reason why women like Wilson—women who are blonde, pretty, successful, and white—get put front and center in calls for body positivity. In the same way that feminism—the movement from which body positivity was born—has often failed to address how gender intersects with other identities like race and class; so, too, has body positivity been championed as a cause for otherwise privileged women. And that's why it's no surprise that Isn't It Romantic, which aspires to be both a spot-on mockery of rom-coms and a celebration of body positivity, is actually a perfect example of how very white both the movie genre and the body positivity movement tend to be.

In the film, Wilson plays Natalie, an architect based in New York, who is single and plus-sized—the archetypal rom-com underdog. Very early on in the movie, she endures the double humiliation of both being hit by a runaway food cart and then accosted by its owner for not stopping it with her "cement truck"-like body. At work, Natalie is similarly disrespected: The office manager hands off troubleshooting tasks to Natalie; another colleague always tasks Natalie to throw out his trash; her assistant Whitney (Betty Gilpin) won't stop watching movies (rom-coms, naturally) while in the office; and Natalie is so afraid to present her ideas for more innovative parking garage designs that she isn't even widely known in the firm as an architect, and is treated like an intern.

But is Natalie just a doormat? Or is it that she isn't asking for what she wants? And isn't very nice about not getting it? If Natalie's life is any example, the bar on suffering is set pretty low for white women. In her personal life, Natalie lives alone with her dog, and seems to be pretty well-off, financially; her best friend is actually her slacker assistant, Whitney, and she's close with another coworker, Josh (Adam Devine), who gives Natalie constant emotional support. She's decidedly anti-romantic, having been told by her mother from a young age that there's no such thing as real-life fairy tales; she's level-headed and practical. But also, she's filled with self-loathing. This leads her to be crass, sarcastic, and disconnected from people. And it was this last part that was hard for me. As a fat Black woman who grew up broke, does not have an assistant, and would get fired if I didn't do my job well, it was hard, if not impossible, to root for her.

For Natalie, though, everything changes when she bangs her head while fighting off a mugger. Her mundane life is tinted through rosy rom-com glasses. Suddenly, all the things that sucked about her life are gone, and everything is beautiful and perfect. But was her life so bad before? It didn't really seem to be.

And yet, looking around the theater at the mostly white, female audience, I accepted that my feelings didn't seem to be shared. But that almost seems to be by design; this feels like a movie for a white, female audience. There is only one person of color in the movie who even has a name: It's Isabelle (Priyanka Chopra), who shows up about halfway through the film—after everything has been rom-com filtered—as a yoga ambassador and swimsuit model. But a name is all Isabella has. A supporting character at best, she doesn't have any connection to anyone other than her white boyfriend, and is sketchily drawn. We learn nothing of her familial or ethnic background, and, even when she is shown at her wedding, there is nobody from her family celebrating with her. This huge oversight is particularly bizarre, given that Natalie has already bemoaned the lack of diversity in romantic films.

Another huge oversight? The presence of the word "fat." I don't think I heard it used a single time. Natalie only references her weight indirectly, by commenting on the appearance of straight-sized women; when talking about her own body, the word "fat" is replaced with "girl like me." But by ignoring this aspect of herself, and refusing to address it head-on, Natalie is succumbing to the same fatphobia that shapes her world, whether she identifies it as being a problem or not.

Before her life becomes a rom-com, Natalie feels invisible at work and in the world. Some of this is certainly her fault, but fatphobia is also at play. Fatphobia chips away at the humanity of fat people from different angles. It means that Natalie gets used to being dehumanized; she doesn't expect others to have empathy for her when she's physically hurt, because they don't value her body. And it's no coincidence that Natalie's fantasy world includes a magically bigger apartment with unlimited clothing options, because discrimination against fat people isn't just a matter aesthetics and preferences—it affects everything from our ability to dress ourselves to our ability to make and save money, since there's a price to pay for being fat, even if it's just having to pay more to travel. Just as much as gender and race intersect with fat bodies, so, too, do economics and class.

I knew I could count on a plus-sized white comedian to take down a genre of films that prioritized thin women. But I ventured to see if Wilson could go further than that, and challenge what it means to be white and well-off and fat in the process; it isn't just about taking down rom-coms but about doing so in a way that isn't just a mouthpiece for white feminist values. But, in the end, that isn't what happened. Isn't It Romantic is fine, but it needed to do more than target an audience of girls who are 10 to 30 pounds overweight and still too jolted by the word "fat" to ever apply it to themselves, so they go for acceptable alternatives, like curvy, plus-sized—or thicc, if they're hip. But I'm not afraid to say I'm fat, I'm just disappointed I will be waiting even longer to see a realistic reflection of that experience onscreen.

Isn't It Romantic is in theaters now.