If Spencer Pratt has taught us anything, it's that no matter how pretty a crystal may be, it's how you use them that counts. That's especially true when it comes to protective crystals, a wide range of stones believed to absorb negative energy and keep the user safe from bad vibes.
For the most part, they're pretty unremarkable looking: Popular varieties like shungite, tourmaline, and obsidian are usually dark in color — a far cry from the millennial pink rose quartz. But, what they lack in pizazz they make up in practicality (as much as a healing crystal can be "practical," of course).
If you're starting to expand your crystal collection, a protective stone should be among your initial picks, Devi Brown writes in Crystal Bliss. She recommends black tourmaline for its supposed ability to block bad vibes and keep you grounded, writing that it's especially effective in keeping other people's negative thoughts and feelings from influencing you. So, if you have to put up with awful customers at work or are dealing with a toxic friend, black tourmaline might be the right kind of protective crystal for you.
Shungite is another great neutralizing crystal, or one that filters out incoming negativity, while black onyx and obsidian will also keep you grounded. But there are a few key qualities that set these stones apart from black tourmaline.
According to Energy Muse, shungite is particularly well-suited for anyone who feels insecure or anxious around others. This stone will keep you focused and help you ignore the opinions of anyone who wants to drag you down.
Meanwhile, obsidian and black onyx help draw out any negativity that dwells within. "Black onyx is used for the development of emotional and physical strength and stamina, especially when support is needed during times of stress, confusion or grief," says Denecia Jones, author of How Crystals Shine. Similarly, obsidian can quiet an overactive mind and even give you clarity around difficult decisions, writes Yulia Van Doren in Crystals: The Modern Guide to Crystal Healing. In other words, if the negativity in your life usually stems from a tendency to worry or overthink problems beyond your control, these stones are best-suited to your needs.
And, for the record, you shouldn't dismiss any of these stones just because you're a beginner. Shungite, obsidian, and black onyx may be a little more intense (in looks and in function) than a clear quartz, for example, but you just need to know how to use them.
Jones recommends keeping your protective crystal close to you. That might mean storing it where you spend most of your time (your home or your desk at work) or actually keeping it on your person by carrying it in your pocket or wearing it as a pendant. She adds that you might find it helpful to set an intention around keeping yourself safe from negativity while holding your crystal.
The only hard and fast rule to working with protective crystals is that they require a pretty rigorous cleansing regimen. Jones says to sprinkle salt, burn sage, or spritz rose water over your crystal at least once week or, depending on how much you use yours, as often as every day, to clear away the negative energy that it has absorbed.
For every crystal you pick out to increase the good vibes in your life, you ought to have one that'll keep the bad vibes out — you never know when a relationship may go south or a troll might sneak into your mentions. Once you realize that, it's just a matter of finding the type of protective stone that works best for you. Besides, they actually are pretty nice to look at.