The use of crystals, gemstones, and metals in metaphysical practice goes back thousands of years. Many people continue to use a variety of these items today. However, when you acquire a stone or metal object, there's a chance it may have absorbed a variety of energies. Some of these will be vibrations from previous owners or handlers, so it's important to cleanse your crystal, gemstone or metal before you use it yourself. Once you've cleansed it, you can charge it for ritual use.
How to Cleanse and Charge Gems, Stones and Metals
There are several ways to cleanse a crystal or gemstone. The cleansing is not so much a physical cleaning as it is a way to remove negative vibrations from the object. The most popular way of cleansing a crystal or gem is to place it in salt water. Salt has long been known to have purification properties, so many crystals can be left in a mixture of sea salt and water. Fill a glass bowl halfway with salt water, and leave your crystals fully submerged overnight. If the crystal or gem needs a more thorough cleansing, you may even wish to leave it for up to a week in the salt water. After you've soaked your crystals, rinse them thoroughly in cool running water to remove any excess salt. Don't re-use the salt water; it will have absorbed the negative vibrations, and should be flushed away.
Dry salt is another good method of cleansing. Fill your bowl with sea salt or cooking salt, and place your crystals in it. You can either bury them completely, or just leave them sitting on the surface. Either way, leave them there for at least 24 hours. Once you remove them, go ahead and rinse them to remove any trace amounts of salt. Be sure to properly dispose of the salt so it won't get used again.
Although salt is one of the best ways to cleanse a crystal, some crystals and gems shouldn't be placed in salt water at all. It can change their appearance or magical properties, and can have an adverse effect. Porous crystals, or stones that have a metal or water content, shouldn’t be soaked in salt water. Stones such as opal, hematite, lapis lazuli and pyrite should all be kept away from salt water.
If you're not crazy about using salt on your crystals and gemstones, smudging is a very popular method. This can be done either by burning a smudge stick, available at most metaphysical/New Age stores, or using incense. Once you've lit the smudge stick or incense, hold the crystal or stone in the smoke to cleanse the stone of any stored energies. Sage, sweet grass, or sandalwood are particularly desirable for this process, because they release elements into the air that remove negative energy. Smudging only needs to be done for a short time, from 30 seconds to a minute for each crystal.