VoiceOver

Will Wearing Rock Crystal Jewelry Make You Feel Better?

I hate to be the Gus Portokalos (yes, the patriarch of My Big Fat Greek Wedding) of the jewelry world, but the word “crystal” does come from the Greek word “crystalos,” meaning ice. And the ancient Greeks believed the stone known as rock crystal, or clear quartz, was water that had been frozen for eternity. There is something comforting about the strength that implies, isn’t there?

The Greeks were not the first to use the stone in jewelry—although there is an impressive set of rock crystal and gold bangles on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that proves they did use it, and well—and they were also not the only ones to attribute great power and meaning to the materials.

“The Greeks believed rock crystal was straight from Mt. Olympus—eternal water.”

“The Greeks believed rock crystal was straight from Mt. Olympus—eternal water that had flowed down the mountain. But since ancient times and across ancient civilizations, rock crystal has been held to have protective and healing powers, to enlighten, to balance and to expand one’s energy,” explains Fred Leighton Creative Director Rebecca Selva.

“The Egyptians carved rock crystal into beads, rings, and amulets. In Ancient India, rock crystal was used for its healing powers to cleanse, shift, and balance energy.”

There are examples of the use of rock crystal in jewelry in archaeological findings as far back as the Sumerian and Mesopotamian civilizations. The allure of clear quartz has held strong throughout the centuries (see Victorian intaglios in particular) but the use of it in the Art Deco period (a creative flourishing of bold, streamlined design free of flourishes between the wars) is probably the most known and celebrated.

Jewelers like Cartier and Van Cleef and Boivin and Belperron made rock crystal part of Art Deco’s signature palette, alongside black onyx and platinum and diamonds. Gloria Swanson’s famous Cartier Deco cuffs are a strong example, as is that Belperron for Boivin rock crystal and hematite bracelet that was sold a few months ago at Christies. (If you follow me on Instagram you know the one. It was the object of my obsession for months including another Cartier rock crystal cuff that sold in the same sale).

The material’s grip on jewelers’ imaginations remains strong. “I am obsessed with rock quartz,” says Hanut Singh. “My home is dotted with them, as totems, as objets and it is such joy to use them in my jewelry designs as well. I feel truly elated working with them.”

Is the inclination towards this stone aesthetic or spiritual? “We all know how spiritually they have been used in healing for millennia,” says Singh. “The clear rock quartz, that helps us attune to our high selves, that aids intuition and focus and that soothes and heals, also in our Hindu culture has been used to make Idols. Our mightiest deities, of which we have many are made in crystal and dotted with gems. Our prayer beads, which we use to do ‘jap,’ or pray and meditate with, are also made in crystal. The immensity of its uses is varied and talismanic. But the joy of seeing them as bijoux is electric. The glamour of it all. The sheer clarity and drama of it all! The major houses in the 20’s onwards were using it as objet d’art and jewels. Cartier really excelled at it. Even until the late 1950’s Belperron was doing her magic with crystal. Fluting, frosting, swirling, stacking…all sorts of shapes and sizes and designs were wrought from this magical quartz.”

19K Rock Crystal Elephant Pendant

19K Rock Crystal Elephant Pendant

Elizabeth Locke
neimanmarcus.com

$4,825.00

Gold Rock Crystal Mother-of-Pearl Petite Locket Necklace

Gold Rock Crystal Mother-of-Pearl Petite Locket Necklace

Monica Rich Kosann
neimanmarcus.com

$2,450.00

Classic Rock Crystal, Diamond & 18K Yellow Gold Teardrop Amulet Earrings

Classic Rock Crystal, Diamond & 18K Yellow Gold Teardrop Amulet Earrings

Temple St. Clair
saksfifthavenue.com

$3,200.00

Rock Crystal Quartz & Diamond Cocktail Ring

Rock Crystal Quartz & Diamond Cocktail Ring

David Webb
therealreal.com

$8,150.00

Singh—whose work makes his quartz obsession clear— is not alone. Monica Rich Kosann also uses the stone frequently and designed an entire cobblestone patterned bracelet around it. The transparency of the material offers a designer infinite possibilities, but Kosann notes “rock crystal also wards off negativity.”

And so, as Gus Portokalos would say: “There you go.”

Stellene Volandes
Editor In Chief
Editor-in-Chief Stellene Volandes is a jewelery expert, and the author of Jeweler: Masters and Mavericks of Modern Design (Rizzoli).

Will Wearing Rock Crystal Jewelry Make You Feel Better?

I hate to be the Gus Portokalos (yes, the patriarch of My Big Fat Greek Wedding) of the jewelry world, but the word “crystal” does come from the Greek word “crystalos,” meaning ice. And the ancient Greeks believed the stone known as rock crystal, or clear quartz, was water that had been frozen for eternity. There is something comforting about the strength that implies, isn’t there? The Greeks were not the first to use the stone in jewelry—although there is an impressive set of rock crystal and gold bangles on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that proves they did use it, and well—and they were also not the only ones to attribute great power and meaning to the materials. “The Greeks believed rock crystal was straight from Mt. Olympus—eternal water.” “The Greeks believed rock crystal was straight from Mt. Olympus—eternal water that had flowed down the mountain. But since ancient times and across ancient civilizations, rock crystal has been held to have protective and healing powers, to enlighten, to balance and to expand one’s energy,” explains Fred Leighton Creative Director Rebecca Selva. “The Egyptians carved rock crystal into beads, rings, and amulets. In Ancient India, rock crystal was used for its healing powers to cleanse, shift, and balance energy.” There are examples of the use of rock crystal in jewelry in archaeological findings as far back as the Sumerian and Mesopotamian civilizations. The allure of clear quartz has held strong throughout the centuries (see Victorian intaglios in particular) but the use of it in the Art Deco period (a creative flourishing of bold, streamlined design free of flourishes between the wars) is probably the most known and celebrated. Jewelers like Cartier and Van Cleef and Boivin and Belperron made rock crystal part of Art Deco’s signature palette, alongside black onyx and platinum and diamonds. Gloria Swanson’s famous Cartier Deco cuffs are a strong example, as is that Belperron for Boivin rock crystal and hematite bracelet that was sold a few months ago at Christies. (If you follow me on Instagram you know the one. It was the object of my obsession for months including another Cartier rock crystal cuff that sold in the same sale). The material’s grip on jewelers’ imaginations remains strong. “I am obsessed with rock quartz,” says Hanut Singh. “My home is dotted with them, as totems, as objets and it is such joy to use them in my jewelry designs as well. I feel truly elated working with them.” Is the inclination towards this stone aesthetic or spiritual? “We all know how spiritually they have been used in healing for millennia,” says Singh. “The clear rock quartz, that helps us attune to our high selves, that aids intuition and focus and that soothes and heals, also in our Hindu culture has been used to make Idols. Our mightiest deities, of which we have many are made in crystal and dotted with gems. Our prayer beads, which we use to do ‘jap,’ or pray and meditate with, are also made in crystal. The immensity of its uses is varied and talismanic. But the joy of seeing them as bijoux is electric. The glamour of it all. The sheer clarity and drama of it all! The major houses in the 20’s onwards were using it as objet d’art and jewels. Cartier really excelled at it. Even until the late 1950’s Belperron was doing her magic with crystal. Fluting, frosting, swirling, stacking…all sorts of shapes and sizes and designs were wrought from this magical quartz.” 19K Rock Crystal Elephant Pendant Elizabeth Locke neimanmarcus.com $4,825.00 Gold Rock Crystal Mother-of-Pearl Petite Locket Necklace Monica Rich Kosann neimanmarcus.com $2,450.00 Classic Rock Crystal, Diamond & 18K Yellow Gold Teardrop Amulet Earrings Temple St. Clair saksfifthavenue.com $3,200.00 Rock Crystal Quartz & Diamond Cocktail Ring David Webb therealreal.com $8,150.00 Singh—whose work makes his quartz obsession clear— is not alone. Monica Rich Kosann also uses the stone frequently and designed an entire cobblestone patterned bracelet around it. The transparency of the material offers a designer infinite possibilities, but Kosann notes “rock crystal also wards off negativity.” And so, as Gus Portokalos would say: “There you go.” Stellene Volandes Editor In Chief Editor-in-Chief Stellene Volandes is a jewelery expert, and the author of Jeweler: Masters and Mavericks of Modern Design (Rizzoli).