Demystifying the Myth about Dangerous Gemstones

by Athena Sydney, used with permission

The purpose of this article is to get rid of all myths that surround certain stones, and deem them dangerous. There are many myths on dangerous stones and only a handful of these stories are based on actual facts. Therefore purpose of this article is to lift the veil on some of these myths.

It was once thought that Diamonds contained arsenic and therefore very poisonous, a myth conjured up by people who wished to buy up all the diamonds in the world? One of the most popular and successful ways to steal Diamonds, straight from the mine, was by swallowing the stone, and then wait a few days until the stone came out through natural 'channels'. After this myth of Diamond's toxicity had been released, many people thought twice about testing this theory. Would it be worth getting killed for a Diamond?

Pulverised Diamonds were once thought to be even more dangerous and toxic, but what people didn't know was that arsenic powder added to the pulverised Diamond. Trying this would surely cost you your life, and this kept the myth of Diamond's toxicity alive.

Also the fable of Opals bringing ill luck to their owners was conjured up by someone who thought he was very clever. A Turkish sultan loved Opals so much, he thought of a scheme to obtain all the Opals of the land at a very fair price. He fibbed and told every one that the Opal was a bad luck stone. Consequently everyone sold their stones of ill luck, unfortunately for the sultan, he got caught up in his own web of lies and didn't want to purchase any more Opals.

However this is not the only story that gave the Opal its reputation of the bad luck stone, in Sir Walter Scott's Anne of Geierstein Opals are also associated with ill luck.

Certain mines, especially in Burma, were told to be cursed. This myth was thought up by the king of Burma, all gemstones found in the country automatically became property of the crown. If you did steal a stone from the Burmese mines, you would have to pay for it with your life or a long-term prison sentence, not because the mines were cursed, but because you were robbing the king of Burma.

These so-called dangerous stones make great stories, and one could go on and tell even more, and also take them apart.

Of course there are exceptions, for what is the rule without the odd exception? Gemstones and minerals containing high levels of mercury are incredibly toxic. Cinnabar for example is one of these stones, this stone may be used in gemstone therapy, but one should be careful with this stone! Cinnabar contains enormous amounts of mercury and is therefore absolutely not suited for gemstone water and or - elixirs. Natural arsenic is known under the name Realgar in the Mineral Kingdom, and oxidised arsenic is known as Auripigment. These stones are absolutely not suited for use in elixirs.

Malachite is a stone that can be dangerous, it contains high levels of copper sulphate, and it is known that copper sulphate is toxic. However you should not despair, this stone can be worn without any problems, it is a stone that can cure ailments of the joints like rheumatism and arthritis, and also against oedema caused by an excessive amount of uric acids. But going back to the original theme, the toxicity of Malachite - tumbled Malachite may be used to produce an elixir or gemstone water, the rough specimens should not! In the past green paints were produced from pulverised Malachite and as soon as these paints became damps, toxic fumes were emitted, and many people died from inhaling these fumes, even Napoleon Bonaparte was a victim of this stone for he loved the colour green.

Of course other stones contain one of the two dangerous elements, but often these are only trace amounts that are not harmful. Just take into account there are people that regularly eat a poisonous fish and still live to tell about it. This is because the amount of poison that is ingested is so minimal it does not harm them. And remember in the past, and even today, people ingested or injected themselves with trace amounts of poison to promote immunity for certain poisons like i.e. snake poison etc.