A FAVOURITE of trendy celebs, “healing crystals” are said to boost your sex life, cure addictions and even make you rich.
The semi-precious stones, once confined to new age hippie shops, now form the bedrock of a multi-billion-pound global trade.
10 Children are sent to work hunting for crystals in BangladeshCredit: Getty – Contributor
10 ‘Healing crystals’ such as rose quartz have become fashionable among celebsCredit: Getty – Contributor
But it is a market with a dark and deadly side, campaigners warn.
In war-torn and poverty-stricken countries, children as young as seven are sent down unregulated mines in dangerous and toxic conditions to hunt for crystals. And their sale goes on to fund terrorists and violent militias, who control the market.
Here in the West though, A-list pop stars and models buy into their supposed magical properties and can not get enough of them.
Adele says her crystals have helped with crippling stage fright and blamed losing them for a “disastrous” Grammys performance.
Victoria Beckham will not travel without hers, while Katy Perry believes rose quartz helps her to attract men.
Kim Kardashian was grateful to be given crystals when she was recovering after being robbed at gunpoint in Paris in 2016.
Jennifer Lawrence regretted tearing them out of her new home after it then went on to flood.
Model Miranda Kerr keeps a crystal wand in her handbag and rose quartz in her bra.
And Hollywood actress Kate Hudson keeps her moisturisers beside crystals to “add a little extra energy”.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop website gushes about their so-called powers.
In 2017, the site claimed that jade eggs had the “power to cleanse and clear” and that putting one in the vagina can boost your sex life. The following year the company was fined £115,000 for making unsubstantiated marketing claims.
Today’s crystals were formed millions of years ago by liquid rock cooling and hardening. They can be found in every continent and are mined everywhere from Britain to Argentina.
Afghanistan is a rich source of the deep blue lapis, associated with purity. But a report by human rights campaign group Global Witness describes it as a “conflict material” as mines there provide £16million a year to armed groups, including the Taliban.
In troubled Myanmar — formerly Burma — where the military holds sway despite elections, the pursuit of the beautiful green jade — which some believe protects the wearer from harm — has become a billion-pound, black market business.
Association with human rights abuses, environmental damage and corruption are a real risk for crystalsAlice Harle, Global Witness
The £25billion trade in crystals is said to be fuelling corruption, smuggling and heroin use among miners.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo there has been a push to extract more tourmaline as the price of the crystal increases.
A report by independent research institute IPIS in 2015 claimed there was “forced labour” and “illegal taxation” of crystal miners, who earn as little as 50p a day.
In the UK, healing crystals have now moved into more mainstream shops, such as Urban Outfitters and Accessorize. And there is a risk vulnerable consumers are being taken in by false claims.
Some sellers are risking lives by claiming they can help overcome depression and even reduce cancer growth. The Rainbow Spirit Crystal Shop, based in Cornwall, makes such a claim for its Cancer Support Crystal Set. It also offers Rheumatoid Arthritis Crystal Support and a Crystal Set For Back Pain.
The owner, who did not wish to give her name, said: “This is based on the knowledge, the books one has read and experience one has had in the clinic.”
Urban Outfitters sells a chakra crystal collection for £25. It includes quartz, amethyst, sodalite, citrine, amazonite, orange calcite and black tourmaline.
Accessorize offers a healing stone quartz bracelet for £15. Harvey Nichols’ jewellery range includes a positivity amulet for £120. And the upmarket Net-A-Porter website sells multi-stone necklaces for more than £1,000.NO EVIDENCE OF HEALING PROPERTIES
With many of these crystals considered a by-product of mining for more precious copper, cobalt and gold, no register is kept of their sale.
As a result it is hard for consumers to know whether they have come from ethical sources.
Alice Harle, from Global Witness, told The Sun: “Association with human rights abuses, environmental damage and corruption are a real risk for crystals that are sourced from copper, cobalt or gold mines.” Retailers must provide evidence of their efforts to source responsibly.”
When The Sun contacted a selection of UK stores selling healing crystals, none was able to provide solid information about the source.
Harvey Nichols did say, however, it would remove any brand that was “unable to provide the appropriate documentation” and Net-A-Porter said its suppliers had to meet worker welfare standards.
Alice added: “Companies within the supply chain itself, including retailers, should be able to respond to questions on what the supply chain looks like for the products they are trading. This should include information on steps taken to assess and address risk in their supply chain.”
The trendy BeWater firm, which sells water bottles containing crystals, has signed up to an annual audit by the Ethical Trading Initiative. And campaigners argue crystals should be covered by the same regulations that apply to diamonds.
So-called crystal healing is sheer quackery that takes advantage of sick, vulnerable peopleThe Sun’s Dr Carol Cooper
The illicit sale of diamonds in the Eighties and Nineties, which funded conflicts across Africa resulting in an estimated 3.7million deaths, was tackled by a certification scheme introduced in 2002.
By seeking to remove militias or terrorists from the trade, it has helped reduce the number of the so-called blood diamonds on the market. But even if the crystals are mined ethically in future, questions will remain about their benefits.
Despite all the health claims, there is zero medical evidence they have any healing properties.
In 2001, an experiment saw 40 volunteers given real quartz and another 40 handed fake quartz that they were told was genuine. All but six of them believed they had experienced positive effects — suggesting it is all in the mind.
Dr Christopher French, who carried out the study, told the British Psychological Society: “The fact that the same effects were found with both genuine and fake crystals undermines any claims that crystals have the mysterious powers which they are claimed to have.”
Other medical experts have also found no evidence that these natural minerals can help cure people.
The Institute of Cancer Research has described crystal healing as “nothing more than bunk pseudo-science that does not stand up to scientific inquiry or peer review”. And an NHS spokesman said: “There is absolutely no scientific evidence to suggest healing crystals have any clinical benefit for cancer.”
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When the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology looked into complementary and alternative medicine in 2000, it decided crystal therapy should not be state-funded.
The Sun’s Dr Carol Cooper said: “I’m not one to scoff at things because I don’t understand them, but the truth is that so-called crystal healing is sheer quackery that takes advantage of sick, vulnerable people.
“There isn’t a shred of proper evidence for any claims that crystals can heal disease, let alone combat potentially lethal conditions like cancer.”
10 Miners are sent down dark and dangerous tunnels in search for crystals in the CongoCredit: Getty – Contributor
10 Men sift through buckets of mud to find crystals in the CongoCredit: Getty Images – Getty
10 Miners pull up a bag of cobalt that their colleague has dug out undergroundCredit: Corbis – Getty
10 Adele blamed her flop Grammy performance on losing her crystalsCredit: Getty – Contributor
10 Kim Kardashian used their ‘healing powers’ to recover from a robberyCredit: face to face
10 Katy Perry says using rose quartz helps her attract menCredit: Getty Images – Getty
10 Miranda Kerr has confessed to having a crystal wand in her handbag and rose quartz in her braCredit: Rex Features
10 Gwyneth Paltrow believes putting jade eggs ‘downstairs’ boosts your sex lifeCredit: Getty – Contributor
Spencer channels his anger into a healing crystal on MTV’s The Hills