‘The New Stone Age’ Makes the Spiritual Properties of Crystals, Gems Seem Incredibly Chic

If you think the spiritual and healing properties of agate to reduce feelings of restlessness, or malachite to boost confidence, or garnet to minimize anxiety are the domains of a tattered Phish concert jewelry vendeuse or your favorite vendor at the Pueblo Gem & Mineral Show in Tucson, get ready: Gem and mineral alchemy is arriving on the trend scene in full makeup and Prada.

A new book on the subject, The New Stone Age: Ideas & Inspiration for Living with Crystals by Carol Woolton, succeeds in elevating the practice of using crystals to establish boundaries and fight against self-doubt, burnout, dependency, and indecisiveness.

Woolton, noted jewelry historian, the author of several jewelry books and contributing jewelry director for British Vogue, has given us 256 gloriously photographed, well-researched pages of practical examples that touch on upscale interiors, luxury beauty, desktop accessories, and, of course, in the selecting and wearing of jewelry.

The author has selected 15 stones, organized by color, to address the ailments of our modern age. (Spoiler: Black tourmaline is the one for social media stress.) Through in-depth historical research and a wide array of interviews with experts and crystal devotees such as Melinda Gates and Gwyneth Paltrow, Woolton explains how a simple crystal worn around your neck, tossed in your purse, or sitting next to your computer can help inspire you to make positive changes in your life.

And perhaps more importantly, she sheds light on how these gems and crystals can provide comfort and guidance in uncertain and turbulent times.

Fans of jewelry designer Robert Procop will delight in seeing his magnificent selenite fireplace on page 189 (and below).

New Stone Age selenite fireplace
Selenite fireplace in jewelry designer Robert Procop’s Los Angeles living room (photo: Jon Day © 2020)

In addition to this cameo,  Woolton has included jewelry by Andrew Grima, Pomellato, Fabio Salini, Harris Zhu, Glenn Spiro, Pippa Small, Pebble London, Julia Muggenburg, and Lisa Eisner in her discussion.

New Stone Age Andrew Grima necklace
Torque necklace of elongated citrines and other gemstones by Andrew Grima (photo: Jon Day © 2020)
New Stone Age ruby and garnet necklaces
Assorted natural ruby necklaces, tumbled garnet necklaces with agate borders, and rough garnet and ruby necklaces (photo: Jon Day © 2020)

But honestly, with so many of us working from home, the use of gems and minerals—big ones—in a domestic setting may prove the most interesting and appealing.

New Stone Age labradorite specimen
Display-worthy labradorite specimen (photo: Jon Day © 2020)
New Stone Age smoky quartz
A cathedral point smoky quartz with a much smaller pyrite specimen at bottom right (photo: Luke Garwood © 2020)

I don’t think a cathedral geode is the answer for me (if I lived somewhere else, maybe…), but I sure could use some healing vibes, maybe in the form of a carved agate or rose quartz dish filled with a few carefully chosen chunks or tumbled specimens of this and that, carefully placed in proximity to my workspace. You too?

I’m telling you, this book may make you a believer (and a voracious collector).


Top: The cover of The New Stone Age: Ideas & Inspiration for Living with Crystals by Carol Woolton ($32.50, Ten Speed Press), which was published earlier this month (photo: Luke Garwood © 2020)


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Amy Elliott

JCK Contributing Editor

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