Crystals are among the most beautiful gifts that Mother Earth and metals have given us in their various forms can also delight the senses.
However, just like Mother Earth herself, some crystals can be just as dangerous as they are beautiful. Many of these stones are perfectly safe to handle or wear as jewelry, but may present a danger when they are used to create anything that will be consumed.
No matter what you are intending to do with your crystals, you should always be aware of base minerals they contain as a very good chunk of them can contain poisonous elements, such as lead, and arsenic.
Some minerals like copper and zinc are healthful in small amounts but toxic in larger doses. While these toxic elements generally stay safely within a crystal and cause no problems with casual and even intensive use, it is a good idea to be aware of potential toxicities.
Some minerals can release toxins into the skin when acted upon by natural oils or sweat and magic-users in particular can run into problems with toxicity when consuming gem elixirs, massaging the skin with crystal-infused oils, or cutting or engraving stones to make talismans, which can release dust which, in turn, can easily be inhaled. (Of course, dust in the eyes, lungs and sinuses is never good, regardless of toxicity.)
As is true with many insects and animals, it is often the brightest and most beautiful crystals that are the most dangerous.
Generally, almost all blue and green stones, especially brightly colored ones, contain copper/or arsenic, but be sure to research each stone individually.
Some Safety Precautions
To play it safe, always make sure you wash your hands before and after working with your crystals. This will help keep you safe and your crystals clean, both physically and energetically.
Use a mask, gloves, eye protection and good ventilation when you are engraving, polishing or sanding stones for jewelry. Wetting them before you begin will cut down on the dust.
Tumbled stones are less likely to leak toxins and dangerous materials, rough stones are more likely to dissolve or break off and leak these toxins.
A List of Potentially Toxic Minerals
Some minerals are more toxic than others and there are many different types of toxicity. This list is just an overview of minerals that contain potentially harmful components, but you must research whatever mineral you are thinking of using on an individual basis to ensure your own safety.
This is NOT a comprehensive list of all toxic minerals.
Please be safe, and do extensive research on your crystals before using them, especially if you are making a gem elixir and the crystal will be ingested.
- Adamite- Zinc arsenate, may also contain iron or copper
- Actinolite – a fibrous form of asbestos
- Ajoite – contains aluminum and copper
- Alexandrite – contains aluminum
- Aluminum – Aluminum toxicity can impair growth, cause bone deformities and weakness, confusion, speech problems and seizures. Especially dangerous for people with impaired kidney function.
- Amazonite – The color is from copper or lead, but it is considered stable.
- Angelite or Anhydrate – Calcium sulfate, may also contain lead
- Antimony – Ingesting or inhaling antimony results in poisoning similar to arsenic
- Aragonite – a type of calcium carbonate (aka chalk). It is reactive to certain other minerals releases toxic chemicals if burned. Irritating to eyes and mucous membranes.
- Arsenic – A particularly potent poison popular with assassins during the 15th and 16th centuries. It was once also a popular pesticide and can still be found in treated lumber, the surrounding soil and water.
- Aspestos – causes respiratory irritation. A well-documented cancer-causing agent.
- Atacamite – contains copper
- Aurichalcite – a carbonate mineral containing zinc and copper
- Azurite – contains copper
- Barium – Affects the nervous system… explosive.
- Beryl Group – beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate. Beryllium is a carcinogen
- Boji-stones These are trademarked. Who knows what’s in them. Rumored to contain sulfur.
- Brochantite – A copper sulfate
- Cavansite – calcium vanadium silicate, All vanadium compounds should be considered toxic.
- Celestite – strontium sulfate
- Cerussite – lead carbonate aka white lead ore
- Chalcanthite – contains copper and sulfur and is water soluble
- Chalcopyrite (Peacock Stone, Peacock Ore) – a copper iron sulfide mineral Chrysocolla – a copper silicate
- Cinnabar – this is where mercury comes from
- Conichalcite – contains both copper and arsenic
- Copper – Has been linked to cirrhosis of the liver and Alzheimer’s Disease, among other things
- Covellite – a copper sulfide mineral
- Cuprite – copper
- Dioptase – a copper cyclosilicate mineral
- Eilat Stone – copper
- Emerald – a type of beryl
- Eudialyte – Mildly radioactive, soluble in an acid solution
- Flourite – corrosive, may irritate skin or eyes.
- Gem Silica – copper
- Galena – lead sulfide
- Garnierite (Genthite) – nickel ore
- Iolite aka Cordierite – a magnesium iron aluminium cyclosilicate
- Iron – While iron is necessary to body function, excess iron intake through ingestion or inhalation can lead to intestinal distress and liver failure.
- Kansas Pop Rocks – concretions of iron sulfide
- Kyanite – contains aluminum
- Labradorite – contains aluminum
- Lapis Lazuli – contains sulfur.
- Lead – Lead interferes with many body processes and is particularly dangerous to children
- Marcasite – an iron sulfide
- Magnetite (Lodestone) – an iron oxide
- Malachite – a copper carbonate hydroxide mineral
- Meteorite – These come from space. There’s no end to the possibilities.
- Mohawkite – contains copper and arsenic
- Moldavite – this naturally occurring glass may contain a variety of minerals
- Moonstone – a sodium-potassium aluminum silicate
- Nickel – Builds up in the body, a carcinogen, causes an allergic response in some
- Orpiment – an arsenic sulfide mineral
- Psilomelane – contains barium
- Pyrite (Fool’s Gold, Inca Gold) – iron sulfide
- Realgar – also known as ruby of arsenic. Also contains sulfur. Was once used to poison rats and for fireworks.
- Ruby -aluminum oxide
- Sapphire – aluminum oxide
- Sodalite – contains aluminum
- Spinel – contains aluminum
- Stibnite – an antimony sulfide
- Strontium – exists in both stable and radioactive forms. Stable forms can cause poor bone growth in children if inhaled or ingested in large quantities
- Smithsonite (Galmei, Zinc spar)- zinc carbonate
- Sulfur – Extremely irritant if inhaled. Dangerous to mucous membranes. Ingestion causes vomiting & diarrhea
- Topaz – contains aluminum and fluorine
- Tourmaline – a crystal boron silicate that may contain aluminum, iron or other minerals
- Turquoise – an hydrous phosphate of copper and aluminum
- Uranium – radioactive mineral
- Vanadinite – Vanadium ore, also a source of lead
- Vanadium – Toxic in high levels, however, it is not easily absorbed through ingestion
- Variscite – aluminum
- Wulfenite – a lead molybdate mineral
- Zinc – Although some zinc is necessary to body function, excess zinc can interfere with the absorption of other nutrients.