What to Look for When Shopping for Crystals

Elizabeth Pash
Photo credit: Elizabeth Pash
Photo credit: Elizabeth Pash

From House Beautiful

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

Elizabeth Pash, designer and owner of Elizabeth Pash Interiors & Antiques, shares one item you should be on the lookout for when shopping for antiques. This week, it's crystals of all shapes and sizes. We are aware that many are currently practicing social distancing, but we will continue to publish vintage shopping content (and ideas for online sources) in anticipation of the day we are all able to return to our favorite markets!

I love looking for interesting crystal fragments in my travels as they are wonderful decorative accessories. Besides being unique and beautiful, they reflect the current movement towards natural and sustainable design. But, while crystals might be having a serious moment right now, they're far from a new trend: They have been around for centuries—and will last a lifetime.

Photo credit: Elizabeth Pash
Photo credit: Elizabeth Pash


People have been fascinated with crystals for thousands of years, whether it be for the healing properties, religious symbolism, or simply for their natural beauty. The first historical reference to crystals was by the ancient Sumerians. The Sumerians used crystals for jewelry, which they wore for protection and health purposes.

The ancient Greeks also used crystals for health and wellness purposes—a lot of the names we use for crystals today are of Greek origin. For example, the word amethyst means "not drunken" in Greek and reflects the use of stone as a charm believed to prevent drunkenness and hangovers! In China and South America, jade was recognized as a precious stone that healed one’s kidney. Crystals are so significant to so many people and cultures around the world that it is no wonder that these beautiful stones are no stranger to home decor. And if they really do have healing properties, well, so much the better!

Apart from their rumored healing properties, many people believe that crystals promote peace and harmony and bring people positive energy. Since your home should be a place of peace and comfort, what better addition than a beautiful crystal to enhance positive energy, harmony and balance in your life? And is there ever a time when we have been more in need of these very qualities?


One of the most unique characteristics of crystals is the way that they catch light. Because no two crystals are alike, each makes a unique contribution to a room, often changing its tone or color over the course of a day as the sun moves through the sky. The illumination of a crystal adds such a subtle beauty to any room, traditional or contemporary, and because they are generally small and unobtrusive, crystals can fit anywhere! They can complement the most substantial antique piece or the sleekest modern table.

One of the most recognizable crystals is the amethyst, which can be found in varying shades of violet:

Photo credit: Elizabeth Pash
Photo credit: Elizabeth Pash

Quartz is a bit more subtle, but every bit as striking. I love placing a quartz crystal on a beautiful piece of antique furniture—the contrast of the dark wood and the light crystal is sublime!

Photo credit: Elizabeth Pash
Photo credit: Elizabeth Pash

Celestite is more blue in tone, and would seem fitting for a home at the beach:

Photo credit: H. Zell
Photo credit: H. Zell

A lesser known crystal is the Desert Rose, which is found in more dry, arid environments, such as the southwestern United States and the Arabian Peninsula. Its name comes from the clusters that are formed in these crystals which resemble rose blossoms. The sand particles that encrust the crystals give these pieces wonderful texture. A great way to bring nature and the outdoors inside!

Photo credit: Elizabeth Pash
Photo credit: Elizabeth Pash

Whether you believe in the healing or religious properties of a crystal or not, one thing we can all agree on is that they are a lovely aesthetic addition to any home.

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