Buddha established a new religion which changed many societies. Already around 300 BC Buddhism gained political influence. Indian emperor Ashoka the Great established a Buddhist kingdom and based his reign on the Buddhists precepts.
Life of the Buddha - Tibetan Thangka Painting
Buddhism spread eastwards and forever changed China, Korea, and Japan. Buddhism wisely explained the human condition and offered consolation other religions did not give. It also introduced a culture of compassion into societies where survival depended on social status and where poverty was cruelly abundant.
But the new religion did not only impacted the society as such. It also changed the political constellations in these countries. And while other strong religions competed for political influence in Chine or Japan, countries such as Thailand, Tibet, or Burma became Buddhist kingdoms.
The entire south East Asia was changed by Buddhism - its philosophy and aesthetics. A monastic cult…
Howlite is a calcium boron-silicate hydroxide that usually occurs in sedimentary rock formations. This mineral was named after a Canadian mineralogist Henry How who first discovered it a Nova Scotia gypsum quarry in 1868.
Tumbled white howlite healing crystals
The gem has a rather dull, porcelain-like white or ivory color with pronounced grayish veins that make it look like an albino turquoise. This fact is sometimes exploited by dishonest gem dealers who dye it and sell it as the more expensive turquoise.
Howlite is a rather soft mineral with a hardness 3.5 on the 1-10 Mohs scale. It dissolves in a hydrochloric acid solution.
It forms nodules that can be quite large and look like cauliflowers. Crystals are rare and sometimes form spiky aggregations. They are translucent or transparent, creamy white or light brown.
The largest deposits of howlite were found in Canada, mostly in Nova Scotia, but this mineral is also mined in the USA, especially in California, and in South Africa.
Carnelian, also known as cornelian, is a translucent, micro-crystalline chalcedony quartz. It is closely related to sard and sardonite which only slightly differ in color and hardness. Its color ranges from orange and pale red to dark brown and comes from iron oxide (hematite) colloidally dispersed in the trigonal crystalline structure.
Carnelian is a rather prevalent mineral. It occurs in the cavities of many rock formations, but most often it develops silica-rich rocks that solidified at low temperatures but it is also found in volcanic rocks. Carnelian typically forms nodules and cone-shaped masses. Considerable amounts of Carnelian have been found in India, with some of the oldest known deposits in Bengal. Carnelian is also mined in Brazil, Uruguay, USA (mostly in Texas, Colorado, and North Carolina), Botswana, Madagascar, and South Africa.
In the Middle Ages carnelian was called carneolus. This name derived from the Latin word carneus which meant fleshy, made of flesh. The Frenc…
Gems and crystals fascinated people since the beginnings of humanity. Their beauty was only one aspect that attracted attention of our ancestors. Most importantly, they discovered their magical powers and learned how to apply their healing properties. Over the ages gems became a vital element of the holistic approach to health.
Gems were used for healing in many cultures. We find them in the Stone Age cultures, in ancient Egypt, China and India. We read about them in Old Testament and in works of Aristotle and find prescriptions in Middle Ages.
The modern crystal therapy is based mostly on the work of the Medieval abbess Hildegard of Bingen who systematized crystals and their properties and incorporated gems into a holistic health concept. She used gems and crystals both, externally and internally: the healing stones were either placed on the body or used in preparation of elixirs that were to be ingested by the patients.
To make a gem elixir simply place cleansed gems - raw or t…
Smoky quartz is a macro-crystalline variety of quartz. Like other quartz crystals smoky quartz is a silicon dioxide mineral. It usually forms transparent hexagonal, rhombohedral crystals. Macroscopic crystals commonly occur as horizontally striated hexagonal prisms terminated by a combination of positive and negative rhombohedrons forming six sided pyramids.
The name smoky quartz derives from the smoky color that ranges from grayish-brown to dark brown and even black. The smoky color results from natural exposure to radiation. It forms from free silicon that was released from silicon dioxide during the formation of crystals. Smoky quartz is a rather prevalent mineral that is mostly mined in Colorado, USA, in Brazil, Australia, Madagascar, Switzerland, and Scotland where it is considered to be a national gemstone.
Since ancient times smoky quartz was used in many cultures because it was rather easy to cut it to gems and ornaments. This beautiful crystal was considered s…
Apophyllite is a potassium-calcium fluoride-silicate mineral from the family of phyllosilicates. It is structurally related to the zeolite family of minerals and commonly found with zeolites in basalt, granite, and gneiss formations. Like the zeolites, apophyllite has high water content and therefore, good energy conducting properties.
Apophyllite forms cubic or pyramidal crystals that can either be transparent or opaque. The color ranges from white, green, yellow to peach. There are also colorless forms. The name apophyllite is derived from the Greek word apophylliso which means "it flakes off". When heated, apophyllite loses its water and begins to flake.
Apophyllite is a fairly prevalent mineral. It can be found in abundance near Trentino in Italy, near Belfast in Northern Ireland, on Faroe Islands, near Kimberley in South Africa, and in Guananjuato in Mexico. Considerable amounts are also found in the Harz Mountains in Germany, on Mont St. Hillaire in Canada,…
Aquamarine is a variety of beryl. It is a relatively common mineral that mostly occurs in pegmatite rocks and is often found together with the ordinary beryl. The biggest deposits were found in Brazil, Colombia, United States, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, Russia, India and Pakistan.
Aquamarine with Muscovite
Aquamarine forms pyramidal crystals that can be quite large. Its color ranges from pale blue and transparent turquoise to bluish-green and depends on the concentration of the iron particles within the hexagonal crystalline structure of beryl. Heat is often applied to improve the color of aquamarine crystals. The bluish-greenish hue is responsible for the stone's name which comes from the Latin "aqua marina" or sea water.
The stone was well known and valued in Antiquity. It was regarded as a symbol of peace and tranquility. Aquamarine jewelry was highly prized not only for its beauty, but also for its protective value especially for sailors and those …
Phenacite, also known as phenakite, is a rare beryllium silicate mineral that has been traditionally used as a gemstone. Phenacite has been mined together with emerald and chrysoberyl from the mines near Yekaterinburg in the Urals region of Russia where it was usually found in form of large crystals embedded in mica formations. Phenacite is also found in granite formations of Urals Mountains, Russia and Pikes Peak region of Colorado, USA. Considerable amounts of phenacite are also found in Madagascar, Myanmar, Norway, and Zimbabwe. Probably the most beautiful phenacite comes from the Minas Gerais near San Miguel de Piricicaba, Brazil. The stones excavated from these mines are famous for their rare beauty and exceptional clarity.
Phenacite occurs as very well formed free trigonal (rhombohedral) crystals, large prisms, or relatively small prismatic wands. It may also form a small clusters. Phenacite is either transparent or milky and comes in different colors. Very often it i…