8 Tips on How to Identify Stones and Crystals
Formed deep in the heart of the earth, crystals have evolved over millions and millions of years thanks to chemical reactions between minerals within earth’s molten core. In fact, the mineral kingdom holds the chemical building blocks to everything on the planet, including plants, animals, rocks, and yours truly. The planet is always changing and recycling itself as heat from the core pushes molten minerals upward. The earth’s crust is constantly evolving, which is why new crystals are being discovered every day.
Whether you’re a crystal enthusiast or you're just looking to expand your knowledge about the power of crystals, there is always more to learn when it comes to crystal identification.
We’re here to walk you through 8 ways for you to know how to identify crystals and expand your knowledge on the powerful properties and their connection to you as an individual.
How to Identify Crystals by Shape
What makes each crystal unique and special is its dynamic composition, which is made up of highly structured patterns of molecules called lattices. As their pattern repeats itself over and over again, shapes and facets with particular types of symmetry are created. In stone identification, crystals are categorized into several types of shapes, which influence their aesthetic and energetic properties.
Crystals such as Pyrite, Diamonds, and Fluorite are cubic lattices created from three equal axes formed into a cube. The balanced structure gives these types of stones a naturally harmonious energy that magnifies everything around it. Crystals can also be hexagonal, like Emerald and Aquamarine, which are shaped in four axes of six-sided symmetry.
Other crystals such as Apophyllite and Zircon are tetragonal, a shape that resembles two four-side pyramids joined at the base. Some crystals aren’t as highly uniformed. In the mineral kingdom, orthorhombic crystals have three unequal axes that form an elongated spear, like Peridot and Topaz. The most asymmetrical of crystal shapes are the triclinic kind like Labradorite and Turquoise while trigonal crystals have an elongated lozenge shape.
Understand Crystalline Structure
Crystals come in different colors, shapes, and crystalline structures. Crystalline structures are the unique properties or qualities of crystals that are created by atoms working together to create the unique properties of your favorite gemstones. Some crystalline structures are natural and others are cut a certain way to be used as a tool or source of energy.
Here are the four structures you’ll want to know for gemstone identification:
Raw Crystals – Untouched and in the purest form. It’s not hard to know how to identify crystals when they are in their natural state. You’ll notice a rough texture like they were pulled from the earth and handed to you. When crystals are in their natural form, you can connect with them at a deeper level.
Clusters or Geodes – Unique and unusual beauty and powerful frequencies. Geodes or clusters are in a hollow formation filled with delicate crystals. It can be hard to conduct crystal identification by color with a geode since the beauty usually lives within. These crystals are used for their calming and purifying effect on a room.
Slices – Thinly cut and polished. For stone identification for slices, you’ll want to look for marbled bands and a polished look. Slices are decorative pieces that can add calming energy to any room you decide to place them in.
Points or Wands– Known for their unique shape and powerful energy. Points and wands are often used as healing tools and energy transmitters. These are easy for crystal identification since the look usually has an unnatural curvature and unique shape.
Identify your Crystal by Color
After you understand the differences in crystalline structure, you’ll want to know how to identify crystals by color. Colors are a common crystal identification method. In fact, many gemstone experts classify crystals according to color because of its link with specific healing properties. The color blue, for instance, has a gentle and soothing quality while red is associated with passion and desire. In the gemstone world, colors are also linked with certain types of crystals and how they are used for specific chakras, which are designated energy centers in the body.
Crystal identification by color can be challenging for some crystals like Calcite, Fluorite, and Tourmaline, among others, since they come in different colors. In that case, you should refer to a crystal book or directory that categorizes by color and includes a photo of the specimen. Here is a list of the most widely available crystals to point you in the right direction.
Black – Associated with power, protection, and mystery, commonly available black gemstones include Black Obsidian, Black Tourmaline, Hematite, Jet, and Onyx.
Blue – A tranquil and relaxing color, blue crystals are excellent for emotional and physical balancing. Commonly found crystals in this category are Angelite, Aquamarine, Celestite, and Lapis Lazuli. Blue crystals also include Blue Lace Agate, Apatite, Azurite, Blue Chalcedony, and Chrysocolla.
Brown – Associated with the earth and the trees, brown stones help to absorb negative energy. Harness the earthy healing vibes of brown gemstones with Smoky Quartz, Brown Jasper, Bronzite, Petrified Wood, and Tiger’s Eye.
Yellow and Gold – The color of the sun at full midday strength, yellow and gold colored stones represent optimism and joy. Bring a little sunshine into your life with Golden Topaz, Citrine, Amber, Yellow Tiger’s Eye, and Yellow Jasper. Gold stones are also a symbol of wealth and power such as Pyrite and Gold.
Green – Activate and clear your heart chakra with green stones, which have a healing and balancing effect on the emotions. Bring good fortune and prosperity into your life with Emerald, Aventurine, Green Fluorite, Jade, and Malachite, the lucky charms of the mineral kingdom.
Orange – A power color, orange stones awaken the passion within the spirit. Capture the spirit of the sun with Orange Calcite, Aragonite, Carnelian, Sunstone, and Copper.
Pink – The color of love and compassion, pink stones like Rose Quartz and Rhodochrosite are big-time heart energizers and openers. Other pink stones include Lepidolite, Pink Tourmaline, and Pink Sapphire.
Grey – The color of moonlight, gray or silver stones reflect the expansiveness of the universe, which gives them protective warrior-like qualities. Gray stones like Hematite and Moonstone have a silvery finish that evokes a starry night sky, a subtle yet powerful influx of light that helps to cleanse the spirit.
Purple – The color of enlightenment and intuition, purple stones like Amethyst and Charoite have a magical luster. They also help balance the emotions with relaxing and soothing vibes. The crystalline structure of purple stones makes them powerful energy amplifiers, especially when combined with other heart chakra stones.
Red – The color of passion and life force energy, red stones like Garnet, Ruby, and Red Tiger’s Eye have a warming and grounding energy that helps support the root chakra.
White – Representing purity and transformation, white stones like Selenite and Clear Quartz make excellent healing tools, especially when incorporated into healing layouts.
Search for a Stone by Chakra
Gemstones are also associated with chakras, which are specific energy centers in the body. There are seven chakras and each one is linked with certain emotions, which is why crystals are effective in clearing and activating these energetic pathways.
Crown Chakra – Located at the top of the head, the crown chakra is where enlightenment and transcendence occurs. For those crowning, life-affirming moments, purple stones like Amethyst are excellent spiritual companions. Also supportive of the crown chakra are white stones such as Selenite and Clear Quartz.
Third Eye – Situated in the center of the eyebrows, the third eye is associated with intuition and the wisdom of the higher self. Indigo colored gemstones like Lapis Lazuli, Sodalite, and Fluorite help to reawaken creative inspiration by opening the door of inner wisdom.
Throat Chakra – The energy center of the throat supports clear and effective communication, which makes it a popular stone for using in necklaces. When blue stones like Lapis Lazuli and Aquamarine touch the skin, it helps to balance the throat chakra by enhancing self-expression, the language of the soul. Other stones like Angelite, Sodalite, and Blue Apatite are also associated with the throat chakra, giving you the support and energy you need to speak the truth with loving communication.
Heart Chakra – When this energy center is activated and cleansed, the energetic body will begin to radiate love of all kinds. This positive, light-filled energy will attract positive influences into your life and strengthen the relationships you already have. For heart chakra healing, inspire feelings of love and compassion with Rose Quartz, Aventurine, and Rhodonite.
Solar Plexus Chakra –Yellow gemstones are excellent for balancing the solar plexus chakra thanks to bright and cheerful colors that encourage optimism and motivation. Be focused and confident because with Citrine, Yellow Jasper, Rutilated Quartz, and Pyrite by your side, you can be successful at whatever you set out to do.
Sacral Chakra – An unbalanced sacral chakra can make you feel depressed or lethargic. Alternatively, if this energy center is overactive, you could be overemotional. Bring it all into balance with Carnelian, Orange Calcite, Tiger’s Eye, and Sunstone, the gemstones of inspiration, excitement, and motivation.
Root Chakra – Always feel grounded and anchored to the earth with root chakra stones like Red Garnet, Red Jasper, Smoky Quartz, Black Onyx, and Hematite. Wear it on the skin as jewelry or keep it throughout home and you’ll begin to notice a renewed sense of confidence.
Search for a Gemstone Based on Astrology
When you combine astrology with crystals, it has the potential to take your inner wisdom to a whole new energetic level. As Socrates put it, “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom,” and the beaming diamonds in the sky can give you insight into your deep inner workings, especially in combination with certain crystals. In the ultimate energy cocktail, try out these crystals for your astrological sign and let it guide you on your epic journey.
Aries – Complement the fiery and passionate nature of the Aries with Carnelian, a bright orange sun stone that boosts creativity and blocks negative vibes. Citrine enhances the creative and ambitious Aries with its ability to increase clarity of thought and purpose.
Pisces – A water sign like Pisces should try pairing up with Aquamarine, which stimulates the heart chakra. For the sensitive Pisces, Chrysocolla rocks at soothing heartache because it encourages the expression of emotions. Amethyst also helps rejuvenate the spirit.
Aquarius – A sociable air sign, Aquarians should rock out with Aquamarine, a stone that boosts the community spirit by encouraging clear and effective communication. The stubborn nature of the Aquarius can also benefit from Yellow Jasper, which helps heal old emotional wounds that are blocking the heart chakra.
Capricorn – This ambitious and determined sign needs energy that boosts the life force, like Garnet, a red stone that invigorates the root chakra. The ethereal quality of Azurite also helps balance the sometimes overly practical and conservative nature of Capricorns.
Sagittarius – The curious mind of the Sagittarian could use a little Bronzite in their lives, especially for its energizing energy that encourages spiritual transformations. The grounding and stabilizing energy of Citrine helps the on the go Sagittarius signs to reconnect with their roots.
Scorpio – The most moody and unpredictable sign in the zodiac, Scorpios need calming stones like Amethyst to balance emotions. Malachite also helps speed up emotional healing while Citrine brings a boost of joy and light into the heart chakra.
Libra – Lapis Lazuli helps with decision making, which helps Libra signs stay focused when pulled in many directions. Libras strive for piece and harmony, which is why Citrine is beneficial—it adds a ray of sunshine and optimism to the spirit. Labradorite also helps protect the sensitive Libra from energy vampires and dream killers.
Virgo – The intelligent and detail-oriented Virgo gets a boost of confidence and determination from Red Jasper, which has a strong stabilizing and grounding effect on the root chakra. They also have a tendency to be overly critical, either of themselves or people in their lives, and Kyanite helps balance these negative impulses. The good luck charm of gemstones, Jade brings abundance and prosperity, which enhances Virgos and their go-getter attitude towards life.
Leo –The proud lion loves to be in the spotlight, which is why Garnet is an excellent stone. It ignites the fiery passion within the heart of the ambitious Leo. Tiger’s Eye manifests feelings of confidence and inner strength while Carnelian boosts creativity and personal power.
Cancer –The dreamy and magical Moonstone helps to bring out the sensitive and intuitive nature of the Cancer sign. Red Jasper also supports the emotional and sensitive Cancer by boosting endurance and stamina. Abalone Shell reconnects the loving and nurturing Cancer with the tides of the ocean.
Gemini –The properties of Rutilated Quartz help keep the dynamic personality of the Gemini in balance by connecting them to their higher selves. A powerful creativity booster, Carnelian supports the fun-loving nature of the Gemini and their need for personal expression. A heart chakra stone, Jade brings harmony to the mind and emotions, which have the tendency to quickly go from serious to happy-go-lucky.
Taurus – Pyrite brings abundance and prosperity, which complements the practical side of the Taurus sign. They are also ambitious and sensual, which makes the Carnelian an excellent stone for its confidence-boosting properties. A stone of personal power, Peridot helps Taurus go after their heart’s desire.
Find a Stone Based on Intention
According to a Buddhist proverb, “We are what we think,” which is why having an intention is the real game-changer in crystal healing. Take your energetic vibrations to the next level when you search for stones based on what you need in your life from moment to moment. Crystal jewelry is an effortless way to have constant access to the balancing and grounding properties of minerals.
If you’re seeking wealth and success in your life, look for bracelets or necklaces made with Citrine and other yellow gemstones, the color of optimism and fresh, light-filled energy. Green stones like Jade and Aventurine make excellent good luck charms as necklaces or single pieces included in your gem collection.
For a life filled with passion and creativity, Carnelian makes a wonderful spiritual companion on any creative journey. A favorite stone of Cleopatra, Lapis Lazuli is a protective crystal that guards the heart from bad energy. Blue Lace Agate is also beneficial to creative types because it enhances your ability to openly express the thoughts of your mind and heart.
For unconditional love of all kinds, pink gemstones like Rose Quartz and Rhodochrosite give you the power to see your relationships with compassion and understanding.
Knowing stone identification by intention will allow you to grow a deeper connection to the crystal meaning. Ultimately guiding you towards your deepest desires and helping you set your intentions.
Check Out Crystal Books
For straightforward stone identification, keep several crystal books in your library, which can be especially useful when you come across a rare and mysterious specimen. In “Crystal Muse: Everyday Rituals to Tune into the Real You,” Energy Muse co-founders Heather Askinosie and Timmi Jandro give detailed descriptions of crystals and their healing properties.
They also explain how to incorporate gemstones into your daily life with everyday rituals they’ve developed over 25 years of practicing crystal healing arts. Learn about gemstones you already own and how they can work for you as helpful tools on your spiritual journey. When you begin your crystal identification, this book will show you what stones are best for attracting love, relieving anxiety, or attracting wealth and prosperity into your life.
Ask at Your Local Crystal Shop
If you come across a stone that is rare and difficult to recognize, consult an expert at a crystal shop for their well-informed opinion. Certain crystals come in different colors and varieties, which makes it a challenge to identify with a photo from a book or website.
Ask the Experts at a Gem Show
Exhibiting some of the most popular and sought-after gemstones in the world, a gem show is an excellent place to get expert advice on stone identification. Gather your hard-to-identify crystals and get ready to rock at crystal identification when you call on the experience of top gem collectors.
Find the Right Crystal for Your Needs
In crystal healing, it is often said that the stone finds you and not the other way around. Sometimes the easiest way to find the best crystal for your needs in this moment is by following your intuition. If your eyes are drawn to a particular crystal, you might be surprised to discover that its healing properties are just what you need in your life.
As you start to look for a crystal that fits your needs, always pay attention to the crystals you gravitate towards and their meaning.
Building a relationship with gemstones and utilizing their energies in your home can help you feel a stronger connection to the crystals and help you identify crystals easier.
Remember: crystals can tell us what we are lacking in our lives and help guide us towards the best version of ourselves. To truly learn how to identify crystals, you’ll want to make an effort to be more mindful of the crystals you use and their healing properties.
At Energy Muse, our reference page lists gemstones from Abalone Shell to Turquoise and includes a detailed description with a photo. Next time you come across a stone and wonder, “Which crystal is this?” take a moment to compare its structure and color to the picture. The description also includes the healing properties of each stone, including the meaning of its color and composition. Using our reference page as a guide can help you learn how to identify crystals and discover more insightful knowledge about your favorite stones. We hope this can be a resource for you to grow your skill set and master stone identification.
- Black Tourmaline
- Tiger's Eye