Stones and crystals in caves with different forms.
Source: Institut Néel-CNRS

Crystals: Objects of beauty and source of riches

From the earliest times, humans have been aware of rocks/stones emanating from the centre of the earth of an incredible variety of shapes and sizes. Multifaceted crystals, in particular, inspired wonderment. They were called "stars from the centre of the earth".

© Natural History Museum of Grenoble
These "stones" came in a multitude of shapes, sizes and and colours. They sometimes took the form of unusual "angular stones", with flat, smooth sides, as if manufactured. Some of these became known as "Crystal". Their fascinating colours, shapes and sizes naturally attracted mysticism: crystals were talismans of supernatural power supposed to offer healing and protection ... . The colour, transparency, rarity and stability of certain stones made them precious objects used in jewels and gems. They became symbols of power and wealth.

Calcite - Isère (top left); calcite - St Marcellin Isère (bottom left)
© Natural History Museum of Grenoble

© Natural History Museum of Grenoble