Staying grounded this year wasn’t always an easy task. So like many Americans, I occasionally turned to healing crystals for help.

Ancient civilizations have been preaching the sacred powers of crystals for centuries, but as Americans continue ditching religion for a more personalized sense of spirituality, crystals have gone mainstream. Not only can you buy them as loose stones, now you can roll them directly onto your face or wear crystal-infused makeup.

While different crystals are assumed to have different metaphysical properties (clear quartz for clarity and jade for good luck), all of the stones are meant to connect you with the earth. But as you’re supposedly benefitting from the earth’s implied energies, what kind of energy are you putting back into it?

The truth is that many of the healing crystals on the market right now are actually byproducts of industrial copper, cobalt, and gold mining. Those same mining practices can have significant negative environmental impacts. Often, international mining efforts still benefit from child labor.

The mining industry is not very transparent by design, and it’s extraordinarily difficult to know the origins of a specific crystal. So how are consumers without an extensive geology education supposed to ethically source their stones?

Jezebel spoke to Julie Abouzelof, the owner of Moonrise Crystals, and Clare Church at the International Institute for Sustainable Development to learn more about the real cost of healing crystals and how people can help push the industry toward a more transparent supply chain and genuine spirituality.

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