This post originally ran awhile ago. While I clean some things up and move them around a bit, please enjoy a guide to complicated words about rocks.
Hit up Etsy, eBay, or a gem and mineral show, and you're likely to see a lot of crystals with some interesting descriptors (and higher price tags) tacked onto them. Some people report experiencing different feelings or physical sensations when handling or using these crystals, but it isn't always clear how the stones' descriptions relate to their characteristics. For example, what's a Lemurian crystal? What can an Elestial quartz do? And should the average witch, healer, lightworker, or other practitioner even care?
To help clear this up a little bit, here's a rundown of some adjectives that commonly get applied to crystals:
Aura, including "Aqua aura," "Flame aura," etc. "Aura" quartz refers to quartz crystals that have a layer of metal coating the crystal. These crystals do not occur in nature, and, while they are beautiful, often use lower-quality crystals in their creation. The process of coating the crystal is called "vapor deposition," and involves heating the crystal in a vacuum chamber to which metal vapor is added. As a result of this, some aura crystals are not as durable as their non-treated brethren.
Listings of these crystals for sale can sometimes be misleading, so practitioners that prefer natural materials should be aware that their color is derived from a man-made process.
Cathedral. "Cathedral" describes crystals consisting of a large central point surrounded by smaller, parallel points, akin to the spires of a cathedral. Though this term refers to the formation of the crystal itself, rather than any metaphysical properties it may have, cathedral quartz is often used for group meditations.
Devic or Deva. "Devic" crystals are those that appear to show images of spirits inside of them. These spirits are referred to as devas, a New Age term taken from concepts in Hinduism and Buddhism. In Hinduism, "deva" is a term for a deity, while Buddhist devas are powerful, supernatural beings that are not worshipped. In the context of devic crystals, the devas in question are pretty much synonymous with nature spirits.
Elestial. "Elestial" is derived from the word "celestial," referring to the stone's purported ability to connect the user to angels.
From a practical standpoint, elestial crystals are quartz specimens that are made up of several individual crystals growing in a step-like arrangement. This gives them an etched appearance, akin to crocodile skin (hence one of their other names, crocodile quartz).
Enhydro. "Enhydro" crystal is crystal that contains water inclusions. These specimens may have visible liquid droplets encased in hollows within the crystal, or trapped gas bubbles that flow and move through the liquid inclusions themselves.
Faden. "Faden" quartz crystals are crystals with white lines called Faden lines running through them. These lines are present in areas where the crystal once broke and self-healed over time, so many healing practitioners enjoy using them as healing crystals.
Lemurian. "Lemurian" relates to Lemuria, a hypothetical lost land akin to Atlantis. Theories about Lemuria's existence originated in the 19th century, but have largely been discredited by modern knowledge of plate tectonics and continental drift. Helena Blavatsky caused the idea of Lemuria to pop up on New Age radar, and this has since evolved into the idea of a super advanced, wise civilization that occupied the lost land of Lemuria and left the ability to access their vast knowledge encased in certain quartz specimens. While Elestial quartz is supposed to allow the user to connect to angelic wisdom, these crystals are supposed to allow the user to connect to Lemurian knowledge.
They come in a wide range of colors (many have a red, golden, or reddish-orange cast owing to a coating of iron oxide), and are best known for the peculiar, ladderlike striations on one or more of their sides.
Phantom. "Phantom" is similar to "enhydro" in that it describes a crystal with inclusions. Unlike enhydro crystals, phantom crystals contain solid inclusions of other complete crystals. After one crystal point forms, another can eventually grow over and around it. This leaves the original crystal present as an outline, or phantom, inside the larger one.
Do these crystals have characteristics that elevate them above regular crystals? Is a Lemurian crystal "better" than a plain quartz point? It's hard to say. There's nothing chemically or structurally that would incline me to believe that these crystals are more unique, special, or powerful than any others, but giving them fancy names and higher price tags can certainly make it seem so.
As with any other stone, the best advice I can give about these guys is to educate yourself on what these different terms mean (and who came up with them) and see if holding or working with one of these stones elicits any particular feelings for you. If a crystal's shape or physical characteristics are particularly beautiful to you (hey, those cathedrals make for some stunning specimens), go wild. Otherwise, don't let yourself be talked into overpaying for your tools and definitely don't let anyone make you feel lesser for not having a fancily-named stone in your collection.