Minerals always grow with other minerals, sometimes they form distinct shapes while at other times the fuse together into an opaque rock. In the late 20th century, some of the stones that were fused together began to be polished and sold on the market. First came the combination stones with simple names like Ruby Zoisite and Sunstone Iolite. Then came the combination stones with more flashy names like Atlantistite and Sunset Sodalite.
There is bitter tension between scientifically-mined mineralogists and the marketers of the metaphysical industry. Scientists tend to be exasperated by names like “Atlantisite” preferring to call it “Stichtite in Serpentine.” But, marketers recognize the psychological value of creating a more interesting name. The real problem occurs when a marketing name is trademarked and then used to inflate the price of the stone. This typically happens at the lapidary or wholeseller level, rather than at the mine itself. Usually there is a great deal of fuss about how “rare” and “powerful” this healing crystal is, despite the fact that it might just be a pretty rock with an interesting energy.
The most positive aspect of combination stones is that they gives miners another market so that there is less waste. It rarely makes economic sense to mine for a combination stone. But if a mine only focuses on pure minerals and doesn’t have a use for combination stones, then theyare heaped up in dump piles. If a market can be found, then the mining is more efficient and can potentially be viewed as more ethical. It’s similar to eating “nose to tail,” using the entire animal, rather than just the parts that are palatable to a western diet.
Julie Abouzelof is the owner of Moonrise Crystals and an advocate for responsibly sourced gems and minerals. Her first career was in education teaching history, geology and anthropology, as well as working with special-needs students. She is now a heart-centered entrepreneur who encourages mindfulness and positive action to heal ourselves and the world. Julie lives in Hawaii with her lover and a little parrot named Darwin. She is rarely on social media, but enjoys connecting via email.