Use of Crystals In Ancient Greece


The word crystal has its origin from the Greek word ‘krustallos’, meaning ice. The use of crystals started many centuries ago and was used in almost all ancient civilisations. The crystals were mainly used as healing stones and slowly got incorporated into numerous spiritual cultures. The crystals are of numerous varieties with equally different colours and shapes. Often crystals were woven into necklaces and amulets and worn by people both as an adornment as well as a protective device. Some of the widely used crystals are quartz, lapis, lazuli, turquoise, et cetera.

However, the crystals were first used by the ancient Sumerians in Mesopotamian civilisation, somewhere around 4000 BCE. These people used softer varieties of the crystals, like gypsum and haematite and made cylinders with them where they would inscribe images and different events. Since they believed that these crystals had protective properties, they would preserve them inside religious places and would use them during holy ceremonies.


Greece is often considered as the birthplace of Western civilisation and paved a way of life that was admired and coveted by other people. The ancient Greeks attributed a number of mystical properties to the crystals and the names by which we know them today, were given by the Greeks. These gems and crystals were so important in the ancient Greek civilisation, that they were even imported from every location along the great Silk Road, Asia Minor, Indian Subcontinent, Sri Lanka, and the far east. Exotic materials including emerald, ruby and sapphire were also imported.

Each type of crystals had their own unique uses and properties. For example, amethyst, a purple coloured crystal, means ‘not drunken’ in Greek and was worn as an amulet to prevent drunkenness, intoxications and hangovers. Even today, amethyst is considered as a stabilizing force to overcome addiction.

Haematite originated from the word blood because of its red colour. Haematite is essentially an iron ore and in ancient Greece, iron was associated with Aries, the war god. Greek soldiers would often rub haematite over their body to make themselves invulnerable. Various other amulets and crystals were worn by the soldiers to protect themselves in the sea while travelling.

Sapphires, a bright blue coloured crystal, was considered as a symbol of wisdom and purity. It was worn by priests and kings in the Greek civilisation. Garnet is another extremely popular crystal which became a gift exchanged between separated lovers. In ancient Greek and Roman mythology, Hades gave pomegranate seeds to his lover Persephone, as a token of safety, while she left the underworld to join her mother in the human world. From then onwards, the garnet became a symbol of love. Jasper stone was often tied to a woman’s thigh, to ease the pain of childbirth.

There were numerous other stones used for varied purposes. These uses have not ceased, instead they have spread to the other parts of the world. Still, these crystals and stones are coveted for their mystical properties and are often used as a device to heal and protect.

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