Published January 2015  •  Updated August 2022  •  Read Time: 7 minutes
Cradle of Humankind is a rare and fantastic addition to any crystal collection! It is a Gray Chalcedony that is mined as part of archaeological digs at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in South Africa. These remarkable caves have produced some of the oldest and best hominid fossils in the world.  Anyone who is interested in who we are, where we came from and the family of humanity will delight in this special stone.  Energetically, Cradle of Humankind is sweet and grounding.  It reminds us that there is no need for war or strife, or the divisions of Us vs Them.  There is only a Greater Us.  We are family.

Cradle Of Humankind gray agate meaning

Cradle of Humankind Meaning

Spiritual Healing Properties

Cradle of Humankind reveals to our conscious mind what our spiritual heart has always known – that we are all family and that there is no need for division and strife among the people of this earth. This stone helps us to see the commonalities between ourselves and others, no matter how different we may appear on the surface. Cradle of Humankind is also a remarkable tool for past-life work, connecting with loved ones who have gone beyond the veil, and for embracing our own original perfection.

Metaphysical Properties Gray Agate
Chakra Root and Crown
Element Earth
Numerology 1 and 7
Zodiac Gemini

Emotional Healing Properties

Cradle of Humankind has an exceptionally sweet and grounding energy that can help us find emotional resolution to the events in our past. It leads us towards forgiveness, acceptance, and even gratitude for lessons learned and opportunities for personal growth. Cradle of Humankind helps to soothe away emotional pain, guilt, and shame about the past, and to move forward into a brighter future. Cradle of Humankind also reminds us that sometimes emotional healing takes time and that time cannot be hurried. This stone asks us to be more patient with ourselves, our process, our emotions, and our experiences. From this place of self-patience, we can then be truly patient with others, recognizing we are all humans just doing our best to make our way through the world.

Mental Healing Properties

Cradle of Humankind sharpens the memory and intellect so we can explore and understand our own past, our role in the present, and our possible futures. It gently helps us to set aside our emotions and beliefs so that we can think critically and without any attachment to outcomes. Cradle of Humankind reveals the truth as we currently know it, and reminds us to adjust our thinking whenever new information becomes available. This stone makes a particularly lovely crystal talisman for archaeologists, historians, biologists, as well as anyone who is interesting in the origins of life and our species.

Physical Healing Properties

Cradle of Humankind is recommended for alternative healers interested in exploring ancient medicines.  It helps us to study the medicine with an open mind and a practical heart.  It reminds us that the first rule of medicine is always, “first do no harm.”  Cradle of Humankind is also a comforting crystal when we are dealing with any kind of genetic disorder, both common and rare.  Its energy is particularly soothing for parents who are worried that their children might inherit some of the less desirable genes from the family tree.

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Cradle of Humankind Mineralogy

Where does Cradle of Humankind come from?

Cradle of Humankind are grey agates mined during archaeological digs at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.

Mining and Treatments

Chalcedony is a common mineral that is not valuable enough to be the primary focus of any large-scale mining operation.  It is however commonly mined in tandem with other precious metals and minerals.  It is typically mined from primary deposits which still have their original relationship with the host rock, usually in small-scale artisanal mining environments.  Cradle of Humankind is a grey or white Chalcedony that is mined at its primary deposit.  Uniquely, it is a byproduct of an archaeological dig, rather than a traditional mine.

South Africa Placeholder
South Africa

Mineral Family

Cradle of Humankind is a Chalcedony, which is a type of Quartz and a Silicate mineral.  Silicates are minerals which contain the elements Silicon (a light gray shiny metal) and Oxygen (a colorless gas). There are six main groups of Silicate minerals, and these main groups are further subdivided into secondary subdivisions, such as Quartz and Feldspar. Quartz is divided into two main groups, macrocrystalline and microcrystalline.  Macrocrystalline quartz has well-formed crystals that are large enough to be seen by the naked eye, for example, Amethyst or Clear Quartz.  Microcrystalline quartz has crystals so small they can only be seen through a microscope.  These are typically grouped together under the name Chalcedony, or it’s subcategories Agate and Jasper.  Microcrystalline quartz can be colorless or appear in every shade of the rainbow.  Agates are often translucent and sometimes banded, while Jaspers are opaque and often spotted.  Cradle of Humankind is sometimes described as a Chalcedony and sometimes as an Agate.

Cradle of Humankind’s energy works well with its family – other Chalcedony and Agates minerals.  Try it in combination with Apricot Agate, Blue Chalcedony, Blue Lace Agate, Botswana Agate, Carnelian, Chrome Chalcedony, Chrysoprase, Crazy Lace Agate, Dendritic Agate, Fire Agate, Gray Agate, Moss Agate, Onyx, Pink Chalcedony, Sardonyx, Snow Quartz, and Tree Agate.

Cradle of Humankind Formation and Crystal Associates

Chalcedony and Agates are created after a volcanic explosion has transformed magma and lava into igneous rock. During the cooling down period, various gases form bubbles, which then become hollow spaces in the igneous rock.  Agates are formed long afterwards, when silica-bearing water permeates the rocks and begins to fill the hollow spaces.  Sometimes the hollow fills quickly and the resulting Agate is a solid color or has a random scattering of trace inclusions.  Depending on which inclusions are added, the mineral will take on a variety of different colors, patterns and transparency levels.  For example, both Moss Agate and Tree Agate are a quartz with manganese inclusions, Moss Agate tends to be translucent, while Tree Agate tends to be opaque.  Cradle of Humankind ranges from white to gray and has few patterns.

Cradle of Humankind’s energy works well with its “friends” – crystal associates formed in the same geological environment.  Try it in combination with Clear Quartz and Emerald.

Mineralogy Gray Agate
Chemical Formula SiO2
Cleavage None
Color White, grey
Crystal System Hexagonal/trigonal
Form/Habit Cryptocrystalline
Fracture Conchoidal
Hardness – Mohs Scale 7
Luminescence Green (long wave) / Yellowish-white (short wave)
Luster Vitreous
Mineral Family Tectosilicate
Specific Gravity 2.
Streak White
Transparency Translucent to opaque

History of Cradle of Humankind

Cradle of Humankind was only recently introduced to the commercial market and so has only just begun to reveal its powers to the larger metaphysical community. It was not included in any early lapidaries, texts that describe gemstones and their powers. Despite this, it has a fascinating and well-documented history. The stone itself is a simple Grey Agate, but unlike other Grey Agates, this stone is dug up by archaeologists rather than miners.

The stones come from the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, in South Africa. The site spans a little over 100 square miles and is dominated by a vast labyrinth of limestone caves. Inside these caves, archaeologists have found a tremendous trove of hominid fossils, including some direct ancestors of our own Homo Sapiens species. In fact, almost 40% of all known hominid fossils in the world have been found at the Cradle of Humankind! Archaeologists study these fossils with the hope of better understanding the hominid family tree and how we modern humans developed over time. In addition to being the resting place of many different ancient hominid species, the Cradle of Humankind is also the site of the earliest known use of controlled fire – dating back over 1 million years!

The region surrounding the Cradle of Humankind initially came to the attention of paleontologists in 1935 when the first “ape man” fossil was discovered. This early hominid fossil was eventually identified as Australopithecus africanus, a direct ancestor of modern humans. Since then the area has been a favorite among paleontologists and archaeologists. So much so that it has hosted the longest-running continuous archaeological dig in history. The United Nations designated the Cradle of Humankind a World Heritage Site in 1999 so that its unique cultural significance will be protected for all time; and, as such, commercial mining in or near the caves is strictly prohibited.

The most recent big find at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site was announced in September, 2015. An entirely new species of hominid has been uncovered, including at least 15 distinct individuals. The fossils were found in the Rising Star Chamber cave system, and the species named Homo naledi, or “Star People” (naledi is “star” in the local Sotho language). What is particularly fascinating about this species is that there is evidence that they may have been the earliest species to bury their dead – something which previously only our own species and our close cousins Homo neanderthalensis were thought to have done.

All of the hominid fossils have been found deep within the caves and so archaeologists are often required to dig through the limestone rock in order to extract known fossils or search for new ones. As a result, archaeologists incidentally mine a lovely opaque Grey Agate. The rough Agate is then sold to various South African mineral companies, only one of which tumbles and polishes the stones, making them commercially available for crystal healing.

These particular Cradle of Humankind stones are reported to come from the cave where “Mrs Ples” was found.  This is the most complete Australopithecus africanus skull ever found in South Africa and one of the finest examples of a pre-human skull found anywhere.  The skull is over 2 million years old, but it is unknown whether the skull actually belonged to a male or female, nor have scientists conclusively determined Mrs. Ples’ age at the time of death.   Australopithecus africanus was an early hominid species with a mixture of ape and human characteristics.  It was one of the first hominid species to walk upright.  It is currently unknown whether or not they were a direct ancestor of modern humans, or were instead ancient “cousins” in our family tree.