Healing Beads: The Special Meanings of Gemstones


Healing Beads

After experiencing a frustrating year of health concerns, doctors, and hospitals in 2007, I started seeing a naturopath. I'd never been to a natural healer and can't claim I welcomed Diane into my life without a big dose of skepticism. But as I have since seen results (restless legs abated! digestion quieted! back surgery cancelled! pounds lost!), I'm not going to question how or why.

In gratitude for Diane's treatment, I sat down this weekend to make her a bead-embroidered pin. I've never been too sure about the claim that gemstones have healing properties, but I'm pretty sure Diane is, so I thought I'd make the effort to use stones that she might enjoy having around her. Hawk's eye for vision; lapis lazuli for intuition; turquoise for overall good juju.

Diane's Pin 

While making the pin, I found myself truly appreciating everything she's done for me the last few months. With each stitch, I reflected on her bright face, encouraging comments, and intuitive observations. It was like she was sitting right next to me. And you know what? I found myself filled with great energy. Could it have been the right combination of gemstones? Maybe. But I know it was mostly from the beading itself. The meditative quality of beading makes it simple to evoke that feeling.

You know that the Anglo-Saxon word "bede" means prayer, right? I think it makes perfect sense, don't you? Beading allows us to get into that zone. For me, even though I might have a filled to-do list, a sassy nine-year-old, or a hive-producing liver-cleanse on my mind, as soon as I pick up the beads I get drawn back into the zone. Beading brings calm and quiet. And I tell you, when it's a gift I'm beading, the joy of "being" with the giftee is like an extra cherry on the meditation sundae.

I hope Diane likes my gift. I know I already got as much out of it as she will.

Healing Stones

There's a long history of belief in the healing qualities of gemstones. Native Americans used them for prayer and healing, and Chinese health practitioners have used them for thousands of years. I know I feel a tingly healing quality just when I run my fingers through my gemstone stash! In any case, there are long lists of properties ascribed to our little rock buddies. A quick Web search under "healing stones" will give you the big picture. To whet your appetite, here's a very brief list of the stones common to many of our "stashi" with a one-word quality:

Amazonite: prosperity
Crystal quartz: harmony
Jasper: grounding
Lapis lazuli: intuition
Onyx: balance
Pearl: purity
Peridot: health and wealth
Rhodochrosite: love
Serpentine: clarity
Sodalite: wisdom
Tourmaline: strength
Turquoise: peace


Jean Campbell writes about beading and life every Wednesday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Jean, please post them on the website. Thanks!

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Michelle M.

About Michelle M.

I was the founding editor of Beading Daily (2007-2009) and my now a freelance designer/writer/editor.  My designs have been published in Stringing, Step by Step Beads, Jewelry Gifts for the Holidays, Creative Jewelry, Beadwork, and other magazines. I enjoy stringing, bead embroidery, wirework, metal work, mixed media, beadweaving—pretty much anything that involves beads or jewelry.  I also enjoy exploring new crafts like pottery and felting.  I write a personal blog if you want to see more of my work. 16+ Free Beading Projects: A list of the free projects I created for Beading Daily. Contact Info If you have a question regarding Beading Daily, please contact customer service at beadingdaily@interweave.com or the current editor, Kristal Wick. If you'd like to contact me, you'll find my info on my website:  www.michellemach.com.  You can also follow me on Twitter at:  http://twitter.com/beadsandbooks Pictured here is a pair of earrings I made for the Spring 2010 issue of Stringing in an attempt to get over my fear of designing with the color orange!

10 thoughts on “Healing Beads: The Special Meanings of Gemstones

    I believe in healing stones, I use gemstones as the main ingredient in most of my pieces And seed-beading is also quite relaxing for me. In her pin, is that lapis around the outside? What’s in the middle? I’m so glad that you are feeling better as well. What is a hive-producing liver cleanse?

    Comment by: Gail M | May 14, 2008

    I make bracelets with healing stones for friends or coworkers who are going through cancer treatments, or other tough times.

    Usually pink and white, with pearls and rose quartz to symbolize the love of all her friends (or coworkers) who are thinking of her every day.

    Comment by: sue g | May 14, 2008

    Jean, if possible, could you PLEASE tell me what your naturopath did for your restless legs! I hate the medication I’m on for mine, and I would love to have something else to suggest or ask my naturopath about.

    Comment by: Michele B | May 14, 2008

    Wow! What a wonderful and informative newsletter todays was! I read the whole thing without missing a word. I’ll definitely file this one for reference when I am buying gemstones. I always wondered why the Native Americans used so much stone, turquoise seems to be the one most used, perhaps because they longed for peace more than anyone. Thanks for your insight. Mae in Costa Rica

    Comment by: Mae W | May 14, 2008

    Wow, I have many of the same ailments and would like to get off all of these meds. Where does one find a naturopath? I’m in NJ. Thanks, Doris

    Comment by: Doris C | May 14, 2008

    This was a lovely post. It is always good for us to be reminded of the value and the meaning of the earth’s gifts of stones. Thank you!

    Comment by: Esther C | May 15, 2008

    Wow girl, you are in about the same shape that I am. My Grandmother on my Dad’s side was a Cherokee Midwife and Healer. She taught me at a young age the healing/soothing properties of crystals and gemstones.

    I carry a pocket full of rawstones and have several jewelry pieces that I wear that include lapis, hematite, sodalite, amethyst, shells and a raven’s talon. I also wear about 5 lbs. of copper to help ease movement of the wrists and hands. I even made wire-wrapped copper rings to fit my thumbs. It takes a bit of getting used to, but that is well worth the results.

    I am not new to beadwork, but it is a hobby that I let go of at about 14-15 or so when I started working and dating. At 45 and in bad physical condition, I have taken it back up just to keep my hands busy. If I don’t use them, they get all stiff and I can’t use them.

    Your pin is beautiful. I love the mixture of colors and stone properties. You should wear it proudly.

    By the way, are you going to submit the pattern for that pin or do you want to keep it as a one of a kind dealio? I would love to make one with lapis and moonstone and use it as a pendant.

    Comment by: Alastar D | May 15, 2008

  2. Wow I’m glad to hear about the properties of healing stones. I have studied theem for a long time and as an R.N. I can testify that they work. To be most effective, they should be combined with prayer or meditation or both. Beadbug

  3. I was a skeptic too, until I starting feeling the vibrations of the stones. It is so exciting to see how the various stones and I react. The best advice is Keep it Simple. The adage, too much of a good thing, can cause some not so positive effects.

  4. Hmmm, healing stones… is that why I sometimes feel more like a bead collector than a jewelry maker? Often I just want to comb my fingers through my stash like a pirate with her treasure rather than make things that will inevitably go to a new owner. And the glazed look that comes on shopping in a bead store while I’m tossing my budget to the wind. Gotta have that labradorite when it winks at me. Healing stones… or my obsession? Fine line for me and I’m usually such a balanced taurus. ;>}

  5. Hello Jean,
    I loved reading your article, so many lovely things about it including your gratitude and your wanting to give a beautiful gift to your healer.
    I’m a naturopathic herbalist and graduate gemmologist and have combined my knowledge and experience in both fields to correlate the nutritional properties of the minerals that make up each crystal with the very long historical healing use of crystals. I have had the most fascinating 2 years where I have culminated these findings into a book I hope will be in print by the end of January. The book is called “The Magic of Minerals in Crystal Healing”. I also make gemstone jewellery with the aim of bringing health benefits as well as beauty to whoever wears the jewellery.
    You can see some of my jewellery at http://www.jameliadesigns.etsy.com or email me at themagicofminerals@gmail.com
    I love your articles, thankyou for sharing.
    Kind regards

  6. Many of us have collected stones since we were kids. Stone beads just make it easier for us to take our collections with us – in the form of jewelry – rather than in a pouch or a box!

    If you do not yet believe in the healing “resonance” of stones, consider that many of our watches keep proper time because of quartz crystals… If one stone has that ability, why not others?

    So, use beautiful stones because you like them in jewelry, and perhaps “heal” yourself in the process!

    Sue Schw

  7. I suffer from RLS myself, and am having limited success with my meds. I was wondering if anyone might suggest some stones to use in an ankle bracelet that might lend some healing and/or calming to my legs? Or any other suggestion you may have on the subject!

  8. To DebbieC: You and I are two peas from the same pod!!!! Seems I spend more time organizing and adding to my sash, admiring the beauty, than creating a piece! I keep two design type notebooks handy, one at my bedside and one at my work table so when I get an idea, I can quickly sketch it out adding comments on which beads, color, etc. to use. This way, when I am stuck for something new, I have my own reference books! To all of you, take note that the power of stones is greatest when worn directly against the skin. Perhaps this is why you see so few pins/brooches constructed with semi-precious stones and pearls. I have been a 35 year advocate on these healing and calming benefits beginning with simple quartz crystals which were readily available and inexpensive back in the late 70’s. I am not stating that the use of stones/pearls/natural elements should by any means take place of professional care but used merely as an adjunct to standardized medicine. Best of health to all! Catwren >^^<