Are crystals rocks? Or are rocks crystals? In the glittering world of gemstones, some terms bleed into each other and create confusion. We’re here to make sense of it all.
We'll take a stroll through the fascinating world of crystals to find out what’s what. Discover what words tend to be used in a broader sense and what they really mean. Bookmark this page and you’ll have a guide to come back to whenever you're in doubt about something.
The five main terms we’re going to focus on are mineral, rock, crystal, stone, and gemstone.
When it comes to the definitions, the short and sweet is this:
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid inorganic substance
A rock is a solid form composed of one or more than one mineral
A crystal is a mineral that has a crystalline structure with atoms that form a repeating pattern
A stone is a non-metallic mineral or rock
A gemstone is a thing of beauty, healing energy, and grace
We’ll also talk about:
What Are Minerals?
Minerals are made of naturally occurring inorganic substances that form a solid mass.
It’s one of the main differences between minerals and crystals or rocks, since these latter ones can also include organic material or organic compounds. Minerals have an inorganic, definite chemical composition. There are metallic minerals (these minerals form ores) and non-metallic minerals.
Crystalline minerals have a crystalline structure based on inorganic chemical composition. Minerals occurring in the natural world have a stable chemical composition. Their organized internal structure is based on a repeating pattern. Peach Feldspar is a mineral with an orthoclase pattern, meaning it has a right angle of good cleavage, and is more popularly known as Moonstone.
Not all minerals have crystalline structures though. When they’re not based on a uniform crystalline structure, these other minerals are aggregate or polycrystalline structures (Agate, for instance).
When materials are not based on crystal systems at all, they’re amorphous (Amber, Glass, Ivory, Jet, Moldavite, Opal). As a result of volcanic activity, volcanic glass doesn’t fall in the mineral category, for instance, but in the category of rocks.
There are many different minerals in the world, and new minerals are discovered all the time.
What Are Rocks?
A rock can be formed of a single mineral or when two or more minerals bond together. Since there are various minerals and new ones are discovered every day, there are numerous combinations of minerals so there are many rocks in the natural world.
When rocks are formed of only one mineral, they’re called monomineralic rocks. A good example of that is Quartzite. When they’re formed of two or more minerals, they’re polymineralic rocks.
Rocks can include metallic or non-metallic elements. Non-metallic mineral deposits, also called ores, form rocks. The specific chemical composition differs based on the molecules of the minerals bound together.
Based on the different geological processes of the earth’s crust involved in their creation and what elements they include, there are three rock types:
Sedimentary rocks – formed by sediments layering and getting compressed by the oceans over long intervals
Igneous rocks – these rocks form when volcanoes erupt and lava cools into molten rock
Metamorphic rocks – formed as a result of rocks being exposed to one or a combination of extreme conditions such as temperature, pressure, and humidity
Rocks start out as igneous, but with time and changes in the environment, they are altered and can become metamorphic rocks. There’s an element of transformation from one type of rock to another. For instance, igneous rock or sedimentary rock that is subjected over time to extreme conditions becomes a metamorphic rock.
This metamorphism can cause a breakdown in the existing minerals and lead to the rock forming new minerals or combining with other minerals too.
Are all rocks crystals?
Not all rocks are crystals. Some of them have an amorphous structure (Amber, Glass, Ivory, Jet, Moldavite, Opal) which makes them stones rather than crystals.
What types of rocks are crystals?
Some rocks include a crystal inside, and they’re called geodes. They marry the two sides, crystal and rock, resulting in beautiful specimens you’ll love to have in your crystal or mineral collection.
Geodes amplify the natural powers of the crystals they contain by connecting them with the earth element of the rock containing them. So aside from looking great, they have a powerful positive impact on your life.
You can see examples of Amethyst geodes in the Anti-Anxiety Stones Set and the Natural Energy Lamp.
What Are Crystals?
Crystals are solid-state molecular structures that have crystalline structure. That means they have an atomic structure that consists of repeating patterns. The notion of crystal connects more to the crystalline structure of the microscopic crystals rather than the chemical elements involved. A non-crystalline structure is going to mean that the solid is not a crystal.
When you think of crystals, you might think about semi-precious gemstones by default, but we have many crystalline structures in our everyday lives. Sugar, salt, frozen water (ice and snowflakes), and even sand – are all crystal structures due to their molecular structure.
There are seven forms of crystal structure: monoclinic, tetragonal, cubic, hexagonal, rhombohedral, and orthorhombic. While being composed of the same chemical structure, if the atoms are arranged in a different crystal system, then the resulting crystals are different from one another.
The Quartz family of crystals is the perfect example of that. Quartz is modified by the addition of different chemical elements, impurities, or treatments that involve various temperatures. If you compare Amethyst, Citrine, and Clear Quartz, you realize just how different the results can get.
Unlike minerals, crystals, as well as rocks, can include both inorganic substances and organic material that forms an aggregated solid. Crystal and rock can include naturally occurring solid matter or some artificially modified matter as well.
Are crystals rocks or minerals?
When it comes to the question: “Are crystals minerals or rocks?”, the answer is neither.
Crystals have minerals in their composition, but there are crystals that aren’t minerals. So you can’t say that all crystals are minerals in nature. There’s one very sweet example of a non-mineral crystal: sugar, which has a crystal structure but is organic and therefore not mineral.
Are crystals rocks?
Technically speaking, the answer to the question "Are crystals rocks?" is that crystals are not rocks. Though they can both be made of minerals, the nature of their structure makes them differ from one another.
Some crystals are artificially modified, meaning they’re not entirely naturally occurring. That means some of them can’t go under the all-natural label of rocks.
Sometimes, something commonly called a crystal is actually a rock. One such example is Lapis Lazuli, for instance.
Lapis Lazuli has been revered as a spiritually powerful crystal ever since ancient times. You can read more about it in our crystal guide focusing on the Lapis Lazuli stone meanings and uses.
Lapis Lazuli is usually described as a gemstone or as a stone. You might find it being referred to as a crystal, in broader terms. But it’s actually a metamorphic rock.
What Is A Stone?
Stones are minerals or rocks that are non-metallic. Stones include both rocks and minerals categories.
What Are Gemstones?
Gemstones, gems, or stones are terms that usually refer to semi-precious crystals/rocks that have been cut, polished, and set in jewelry or home decor pieces. Sometimes, gemstones are crystals and sometimes they’re not quite crystalline in nature.
Take Petrified Wood, for instance. Petrified Wood is not really a crystal or a stone, but a fossil. Another such example is Amber, which is fossilized tree resin. Both of these fossils start out as organic material and minerals.
When the term gemstone or stone is used, more often than not the focus is not to define its geological traits. The focus falls more on the role that gemstone or stone can play in your life. Gemstones serve two main purposes: aesthetic and energetic.
In terms of aesthetics, gemstones are gorgeous. Whether they’re more natural-looking and earthy or with ethereal effects like the play of light or chatoyancy, gemstones are fascinating to look at.
If you’ve ever seen a Labradorite gemstone cut en cabochon to display its amazing beauty, it will attest to that. If you haven’t seen it, feast your eyes on the Mind-Expanding Stone.
The energetic aspect goes hand in hand with the esthetic one. That’s to say gorgeous gemstones also have amazing crystal healing powers. The Quartz crystal family is a powerful example of that. Many amazing crystal healers use various Quartz crystals, from Clear Quartz, Rose Quartz, Amethyst, and Citrine, to Dream Quartz, Spirit Quartz, and anything in between.
You might say that Quartz crystals are the superstar squad of the crystal healing world, but what does crystal healing actually mean?
Crystals And The New Age
As part of the New Age Movement, the term crystal extended from its geological definition. The truth of the matter is that focusing on what they’re made of is barely scratching the surface of their amazing powers.
New Age practitioners appreciate more than just the beauty of crystals. From this new perspective, crystals and stones tend to be very similar if not the same thing. What defines a crystal or a stone from the spiritual perspective is not the elements it’s made of or how they’re structured, but rather what effect it has on the crystal user.
The theory is that a crystal vibrates at a higher frequency than other types of matter. That very fact gives it metaphysical properties. You can consider them magical properties too, in a Wiccan understanding of the word magic.
Through mindful and intentional exposure to that higher vibration, you raise your own vibration. That’s the basis of how to use healing crystals. They influence you and your life with their good vibrations.
Take Obsidian, for instance. Sure, technically speaking, it’s naturally occurring volcanic glass formed from rapidly cooled-down lava. But from a spiritual point of view, Obsidian is an incredibly powerful energetic cleanser and protector. It helps you ground your energy and connect to the nurturing energy of the Earth and Mother Gaia. Wear the Purity Pendant to experience the true power of Obsidian for yourself.
While learning about your crystal or stone is important, there’s an even more important thing: to experience the many blessings they can bring into your life.
Spiritual crystal collections
Gem collecting is not a new practice. There have been gem, mineral, and rock collectors before the New Age movement came along, but this movement introduced the element of spiritual perception of crystals and stones.
Spiritual crystal collections might be organized by principles that could seem entirely confusing to a geologist. For instance, they might be organized by color based on the chakra system: white or transparent for the crown chakra, purple for the third eye chakra, blue for the throat chakra, green for the heart chakra, yellow for the solar plexus chakra, orange for the sacral chakra, and red, brown, or black for the root chakra.
You’re likely to see crystal sets that are based on that very same principle. Take the Power Chakra Tassels, for instance. There’s a specific crystal that corresponds to each chakra: Red Jasper (root), Calcite (sacral), Tiger's eye (solar plexus), Green Aventurine (heart), Lapis Lazuli (throat), Amethyst (third eye), and Quartz (crown).
A spiritual collection of crystals is likely to be organized by those seven main colors. They might also be organized by the shape of the crystals themselves and how they are cut: pyramids, en cabochon, points, rough or raw-looking crystals, geodes…
How To Use Crystals And Stones In A Spiritual Way
There are several ways to use crystals and stones in a spiritual way. Whether you’re looking to heal and overcome physical, mental, emotional, or even spiritual issues, there are a few things you can try out.
You can use crystals on their own or combine them with herbs, oils, or incense. If you’ve ever used essential oils before and you’re looking to include crystals in your practice, the Crystal Energies - Essential Oil Roller Bottle Set makes for a very interesting journey of exploration.
The first step in this process is how to choose your crystals, the tools, and the methods you’ll try out.
Whether you’re a beginner or more of an experienced user, it’s all about intuition. Follow your gut feeling. If you see a crystal and it calls to you, your intuition is telling you there’s work to be done together with that crystal. Read more about it in our crystal guide for beginners.
Choosing is an important part of the entire spiritual process. It will come up when you choose the healing tools you’ll use as well.
Spirituality is all about flexibility, like the most important things in life. The first step towards true growth is to not get stuck in your ways.
Take this chance to explore crystals and their healing powers as if you were a kid exploring a toy store. Look around, enjoy everything you see, pick your favorites, and have a good time with them.
If you’re dealing with some confidence issues, they might come up at this point. It’s the perfect time to start experimenting with something like the Courage Bracelet. This beautiful Malachite bracelet is going to keep you in the vibe of joy. You’ll be more confident about following your intuition. The protection granted by Malachite is also going to help you navigate this process and enjoy every step of the way.
Don’t get decision paralysis when you’re considering all your options. There’s no right or wrong way to go about this process. It’s a journey of exploration of yourself and of your path.
In fact, we recommend you start out by getting a few basics. Things like the Self-Care Lamp which is going to introduce the high vibes of self-love and self-care into your life. You can’t go wrong with that, no matter what your goal is for your crystal healing journey.
The uplifting and healing effect of Rose Quartz coupled with the power of the light will improve all of your emotional connections and help you heal any emotional wounds. You’ll find inner peace and harmony with more ease. Then, you’ll find that any process becomes smoother.
Enjoy the ride
At this point, it’s all about focusing on the quality of your spiritual experience. And a quality spiritual experience is one that makes you feel fulfilled, enlightened, and truly happy.
You can attract more positive vibes with the help of Apatite. The Apatite Heart of Positivity brings high vibes of positive thinking into your experience. You’ll be surrounded by soothing and kind energy as you focus on achieving your goals.
By this point, you’re ready to take the reins of your journey. Maximize your success by adding in the element of manifesting your desired outcome. Find out more about manifesting if you’re just starting out.
Wear the Law of Attraction Bracelet and you’ll achieve your goals with more ease. You’ll experience a boost of determination, willpower, and focus to make your vision come to life.
Whether you’re looking to try out yoga, meditation, prayer, spells, or any other spiritual ritual or practice, you can include crystals to improve the experience and the results. It’s all about you enjoying the whole experience and growing as a natural part of the process.
Get Your Beautiful Crystals Today!
Are you just starting out on your journey through the wonderful world of crystals? Then check out our crystals and stones to see what catches your eye.
There’s so much more to crystals and stones than what they’re made of or how they’re defined. Even though the facts behind them are fascinating, there’s even greater beauty in how they can make you feel. The healing properties of crystals make them truly amazing and some might say even miraculous.
If a particular crystal or stone calls out to you, follow your intuition. Find out more about it from our crystal guides. Get the crystal jewelry pieces or home decor pieces that speak to you. Allow their high vibes to improve your life and lift your spirits.