We feel one of the best books on the market on crystals is The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall. Because of this and other books on them we are not going to go over the use of crystals on this page. Instead we are going to talk about finding crystals. You can spend all kinds of money on crystals if you want, but most can be gotten for very little.
Getting them from the Earth. Find out what type of crystals are native to where you live. Most bookstores have a local area which will include local authors as well as books about the area you live. Look through these books and you may find what is found in your area. Also look in some of the books like Rock and Minerals of North America (or if you live outside of NA look in a book that's for your country). Once you find what you have in your area make sure you know what they look like as these will not be tumbled or cut. Some of the things you will need are shovel, screen, and something to carry the stones in. Rivers and streams are good places to look for stones. You are mostly looking for what called placer deposits. These are loose stones, so you don't need a pick or hammer. Put dirt into screen and wash out - check stones over that are left. Even when you don't' find any crystals can find some useful river rocks. I've seen some wonderful grams craved into the stones.
Now you may live someplace were this is not possible or the you have all the local stones you can find the next thing is buying. Best place to do this is a rock shop. Now there are a few kinds of rock shops. We have the museum shops. These can be found in Mall and the gift shop of Museums. You want to stay away from these, unless you have money to toss away. The stones come mounted in cases and cost anywhere from 10 to 1000 times there actual value. You are paying for the "name". Now the best type of rock shop is one where there are rocks all over the place and most of them are loose. These place will also have some mounted rocks and things made out of rocks. Usually you can get some good values here - if they have rock grab bags - it may well be worth picking up. At a rock shop at a local fleamarket I've picked up grab bags at $2 and have found amethyst Spheres inside, along with other stones. The Spheres had small chips in them, but they work well.
Another place to look is new age stores and bookstores. Sometimes you can find some nice priced stones. Beware of really high priced stones - some quartz goes for way over what its worth because of the want for it. ( and don't blame the store - they are paying the high price to who they get it from and passing it on to you) If you want tumbled stones - look around for an assortment. Many place have small bags you can fill within the $3 - $6 range. Which is a lot better than paying between $1 - $5 per stone.
Now my favorite place to get stones are "Mines". I'm not talking about place where you tunnel into the earth, these you will find in fleamarkets, Fairs, and tourist areas. They usually have a wooden flume with screen boxes and you buy dirt, usually in buckets. You use the screen to go through the dirt and pick out the stones. The most common "mines" are ruby mines. But in some you can find 20 - 30 different stones. Now these stones are natural, but they have been placed into the dirt. Besides the fun of playing in the dirt with crystals you usually get your moneys worth. Some are better than others - and if possible observe what people are finding. Usual prices will range from $10 - to several hundred a bucket. With bigger buckets with more stones and usually bigger stones. Because the stones are added the size of the bucket doesn't always tell what in the bucket. Two buckets of same size from two different mines could be completely different in content. In other words because Mine A has buckets for $10 and Mine B has the same size bucket for $15 doesn't mean the Mine A has the best deal. Inside that $10 bucket you may find $10 worth of stones retail and inside the $15 you may find $30 or more. (How would this be possible - these places buy large amounts of loose rock - to the point that they are paying by the pound. In rock shops you usually pay by the piece or by the gram - which makes what you get in the buckets so much better.
Most stones you can find if you look at a reasonable price. It just sometimes takes time to find a good source for your stones. When traveling check for the "Mines" - if nothing else they are fun. Check flea markets....
Always check prices before "feeling" the stones. you don't want a stone calling to you that you can't afford. If the price is right feel away and you will find stones that will "call" to you. Now some stones you will want for certain things and these don't need to call to you as you will be charging them and making them do what you want them to. Again I'm not going into the charging of the stones - too many books out on the subject and you need to be reading more than what's on the net.
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