To write this piece about decorating with crystals -- yes, I said crystals -- I have to go public with just one facet of my kookiness. For many years, I have collected and enjoyed the meditative and healing powers, as well as the beauty, of crystals. If you’re among those who may react by hearing in your head the strains of the theme from “The Twilight Zone,” you are safe if you regard crystals just as beautiful, translucent minerals from the good earth.
My fascination with crystals began as high in the sky as I’ll ever be, other than in an airplane, and that was at the famous Windows on the World restaurant atop Tower One of the World Trade Center. It’s sad to think about it, now that such a special place has been taken from us, but I was among the first guests invited there by the restaurateur who created it. I was his friend because I worked at the time at The Culinary Institute of America and had placed some of our graduates with him, both in the kitchen and in the front of the house.
Between the elevators and the reception area of the restaurant, there was a long hallway which was lined with several massive crystal formations, one in clear quartz, another in amethyst and another in rose quartz.
I was so intrigued by and drawn to their beauty that I touched them and, almost unable to draw my hands away, I realized that I was experiencing an energy flow from each one. I didn’t know how it was happening and I wondered if everyone who touched them experienced the same feeling. I was fascinated but didn’t say anything about it at the time. Maybe I was afraid of being considered odd, which was something I’d avoid at all cost when I was younger. Today, I welcome opportunities to appear odd.
However, I did take action with my second experience with crystals, some 10 years later. I was in a shopping mall that featured some kind of vendors’ fair and found that one of the booths displayed an assortment of different crystals. Again, I was drawn to them, and to one in particular, a perfectly shaped cluster of clear quartz. When I picked it up, it felt as though it belonged in my hand, and again I felt that energy flow. I had to have it.
At the same booth was a paperback book which described the qualities of different crystal types and how they could be used for meditation, which I had just begun studying. That first innocent purchase was the beginning of an interest of obsessive proportion that resulted over the years in my purchasing hundreds, perhaps even thousands of crystals if I include all the strands of crystals I bought, thinking that my wife might wear them (she never did). I wanted them not only for their metaphysical qualities, but also for their sheer beauty, especially those that are opaque or translucent (after all, didn’t we grow up hearing “stare into my crystal ball?”), meditating on one of the many colors and combined hues they offer.
As my collection grew, there was the question of how to display them, and I think I’ve been quite creative about that. Wherever I could, I enhanced their display by placing them either on mirror trays or table tops and shelves that were back-lighted. The major repository for my collection was a second guest room that was rarely used. There, I placed special cabinets, used for retail display, lighted from both the back and below, as well as tabletops with opaque Plexiglas, lighted from below. Eventually, just by walking into that room produced an altered, calming state in me, while to others, it must have appeared to be a satellite operation of the Museum of Natural History.
I became so attuned to crystals and their daily use that I even had a jeweler concoct a tie clasp for me where I could change the crystals in it, depending on my mood, and I would never board a plane without a protective hematite stone in my pocket. I got to the point of being energized all day long surrounded by crystals strategically placed in my home and office.
I knew that maybe I had gone too far into my obsession when a relative who visited for the weekend was assigned the “crystal” room as her bedroom, but when she walked into it, she bolted back as though repelled by a flame and refused to enter. It seems that she believed that crystals were the work of the devil, used for sorcery and witchcraft, and I suppose that is one of their uses. For me, it’s all about the positive enjoyment of one of the earth’s truly beautiful creations.
But all things that seem too hot to cool down eventually do exactly that. There came a time when I wanted to return to normalcy in my relationship with crystals and decided to pare down my collection before I established a new category for hoarding in the home. The deciding factor was our cleaning lady saying that they became too difficult to keep clean.
I then became very generous with my collection and would give pieces to anyone who admired them. There was a fundraising event for a charity where I gave a major portion of my collection and they sold well. Those that I simply could not give away, my personal favorites, I have used creatively to enhance my home’s décor.
The core of my remaining collection is displayed on just two shelves in my upstairs study but I do employ my most beautiful pieces in several ways around the house.
I displayed all of the smaller pieces on a former light table used for viewing slides (does anybody view slides anymore, ever?). Some pieces are displayed individually as crystal sculptures on tables that are near to windows so that they catch the light in different ways as the earth moves. And, I use other larger formations as bookends. A chunk of aquamarine, which I call “my” stone (it’s my birthstone actually) is used as a paper weight. And, my collection of fluorite octahedrons (eight sided crystals) is piled into a candy dish in my living room.
And once in a while, just to be mischievous, I place an interesting crystal among other collections my wife and I enjoy and display. And then I wait for the expected, “how did this get here?” from my wife discovering something where she might feel it doesn’t belong.
And, finally, in my private study, I keep my favored meditation crystals which should not be displayed actually, but kept private and hidden. However, since I am usually the only person in my study, I don’t feel that I’m compromising the energies of these particular crystals.
Since I’m in the real estate business, I have noticed more and more that other people express who they are in their choice of decorative crystals that are displayed in their homes. Usually they are found in entrance halls or bedrooms. I read someplace that tucking rose quartz crystals under your bed pillows can make you a better lover, but the one time I tried it, my wife did not appreciate the resulting bumpiness to her rest.
My most fascinating experience with crystals involved a very large piece of clear quartz rutilated with needle-like golden mineral formations embedded in it. I always considered it my crystal for drawing prosperity to me and kept it prominently displayed on my mahogany desk in my office. It was so admired by a young woman who visited me, looking for employment, that I gave it to her. Maybe it was that I felt guilty in not hiring her because I knew she was having a hard time of it, but she really was not qualified for the job I had available. The next week, she called me to say that she had just won $2.1 million in the New State Lottery. That’s one crystal I’m really glad I gave away. It was just looking for its rightful owner to do its work.
When I started my collection at the height of interest in the New Age, crystals were easy to source in all those head shops that proliferated in most towns at that time. But now, it’s difficult to find any such shops even in New York City. Today, crystals are usually incorporated into antiques and gift shops.
Another source is jewelry and mineral trade shows. And, while the Internet offers a plethora of sources, I wouldn’t buy mine there. If a crystal is to serve its dual function of providing color and beauty to your home, as well as a conduit of energy flow, it’s important to see it and hold it in your hands to know if you can love it before purchase.
For the non-believers, give crystals a try. Who knows what new planes of consciousness await you while you enjoy a new source of visual interest, shape and color for the home?
Bill Primavera is both a realtor and public relations practitioner who combines both careers by writing as The Home Guru. For more Home Guru stories, visit his website or call him directly for more information at 914-522-2076.