Ancient sources, critical light – beauty, rarity and naturalness influence the specificity and value of gemstones – in conversation with Patrick-Noël Herold-Gregor, MBA, The Natural Gem GmbH, Vienna in Austria
Folk traditions, the emergence of various writings and inexplicable natural phenomena, as well as the spread of knowledge through the printing of books, allow us to look at the magical use of fossils and minerals. In the 18th century, the medicine cabinets of pharmacies contained a considerable number of remedies whose healing effects were based on their successive radiations. Examples include defense against lightning, plague, or enchantment. Fossils and minerals were part of folk medicine as defensive spells. They enjoyed a special reputation for the spiritual balance of their owners. The use of stone amulets for healing purposes is not an issue nowadays, but with regard to rocks and minerals, which are supposed to have a direct effect on the human body due to their chemical properties, it is worth taking a look at history.
Were the ancient scholars wrong about the effects of healing stones?
In her time, the famous abbess Hildegard von Bingen (1098 – 1179) attributed a healing effect to certain stones. Or was it the belief in healing powers that activated man’s self-healing powers? Scientific progress and studies prove that not all minerals and fossils were and are beneficial to the human body and health, such as arsenic or the mercury-containing cinnabar.
The times of ghosts, devils and witches riding on broomsticks or animals are long gone. If today we still speak of demons, they wear other masks, as in the fifth season, the carnival, the Fasnacht. One wish connects the past with the present: in the general unrest, people at that time longed for balance and harmony, as is the case today. Meditation stones and minerals were supposed to help people achieve their goals even in the days of Hildegard von Bingen. The approach of holistic health, not only in the face of emerging diseases, but also in the face of the unstoppable increase in the diseases of civilization, rekindles confidence in conventional medicine coupled with the traditions of folk medicine. „It is noticeable that healing stones are experiencing a renaissance„, explains Patrick-Noël Herold-Gregor, MBA, The Natural Gem GmbH, Vienna in Austria.
Gemstones: rare, hard and natural from the womb of Mother Nature
Gemstones as a symbol of power, specialness and wealth. „Gemstones filled treasuries of great rulers, nobles, church leaders and were the insignia of power for chiefs and tribal lords in numerous cultures. No less than 96 precious stones (rubies, sapphires, emeralds and spinels), for example, adorn the Bohemian crown of Wenceslas. Throughout their history, precious stones have served not only as a non-monetary means of payment, and are thus considered a sign of new beginnings in difficult times,“ explains Patrick-Noël Herold-Gregor. But what is a gemstone, and when is a stone a gemstone? The definition of the German Gemological Society, which, by the way, coincides with the other gemological societies, states:
First, a stone is a gemstone when it has a hardness grade of 8 according to Mohs‘ scale of hardness or higher – 9, 10. „This gives a very short count of the number of genuine gemstones,“ says Patrick-Noël Herold-Gregor. Based on hardness, these are, starting from the bottom: 8th Mohs hardness scale: spinel, topaz, emerald, between 8 and 9 it is alexandrite, on the 9 it is sapphire and ruby, and on the 10 it is diamond.
Second, the stone must be rare. „There is no fixed definition for this, but simply results from the amount found on earth,“ says the gem expert.
Third, a natural product. „So no synthesis, no products specially created by humans, such as zirconia or like the moissanite, although with the hardness grade of 9.5, but created by humans. This is automatically not a gemstone,“ explains Patrick-Noël Herold-Gregor.
Desired and beautiful, sought after by many people
„That the stone must be sought after, meaning rare, is a very broadly defined field,“ explains Dr. Thomas Schröck, gemologist and founder of The Natural Gem GmbH, a company based in Vienna. This formulation is replaced by some gemological laboratories with the point: „The stone must be beautiful„. At the same time, the definitions differ. Desired and beautiful, sought after and admired by people, then we have a gemstone. Or we turn the definition around. All those stones that do not have hardness grade 8 and higher are grouped under the title of „gemstones“. This includes, for example, tourmaline, quartz and garnet types, which can be beautiful but are not gemstones – officially – because they do not have hardness grade 8. They can become extremely expensive, however, explains the gemstone expert from Vienna.
Result: Reality and fascination of precious stones – Faith can move mountains
Stones as a massage remedy, with headaches helps a stone pavement or the rose quartz to heal emotional and mental wounds, homesickness and nightmares to relieve or with the massage of the stone to improve the complexion. Science and innovative technologies help to create facts in modern stone science, based on knowledge, research, investigations and not on myths and fairy tales. Minerals are invaluable for research and are among the most special objects. For scientists, the fascination comes from the history of their formation through geochemical and geological processes, this has developed naturally over numerous centuries. Thanks to the work of numerous researchers in past and present times, such as the star of the Middle Ages, Hildegard von Bingen, who used the healing stones as a means to an end: the belief in the supernatural effect mobilized the self-healing powers – faith moves mountains!
Student & Blogger
About the author:
Student Amelie Hauger is currently completing a dual study program in Stuttgart. Since her childhood, her enthusiasm for technology grew, which is why the field of mechanical engineering production technology in mobility exactly reflects her interests. The alternation between theory and practice makes the dual study program interesting. Special interest lies in the mobility of the future, autonomous driving and driverless transport.
About The Natural Gem GmbH:
Dr. Thomas Schröck has been a gemstone expert for more than 30 years and is the managing partner of The Natural Gem GmbH, a company based in Vienna, Austria. He authored the work „Gemstones as an Investment: The GEWINN Guidebook,“ Dr. Georg Wailand (editor), authored by Dr. Thomas Schröck.
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