This is a gorgeous -- full color! -- book and should be on the shelf of every single person interested in crystals. I'm tempted to stop there, but you probably want to know whey I think that. So let me tell you.

Let's start by looking at how comprehensive it is. He looks at 200 stones, each chosen for its healing qualities. Although Pearson notes that there is an  "unimaginable assortment" of stones, I would say that there are many derivatives. Having a solid source for information about as many as 200 will likely give you most of the information you will ever need. And for each of those stones, Pearson goes over the chemical formula for each stone, its hardness based on Mohs scale, what type of system it falls under (cubic, tetragonal, orthrhombic, hexagonal, monoclinic, or triclinic), its formation process (igeous, sedimentary, or metamorphic), what chakra it is associated with, and its physical, psychological, and spiritual healing properties.

If a lot of that jargon-filled description seems daunting, one of the brilliant aspects of Crystal Basics is that it all gets explained. Just as if the author truly thought about an audience full of people wanting to know, but not even knowing what to ask, or where to get started. The reader is shown why knowing a stone's hardness (or crystal pattern, or formation process) matters to knowing its  metaphysical properties. Which also means that the reader can look at stones not covered in the book and make educated guesses about their properties as well.

The science is not the only aspect. Pearson does a brilliant job of placing each stones' characteristics within a framework of metaphysical knowledge. Everything from transference to information storage is explained, along with color properties, and energy fields.

Pearson makes good recommendations for how to start a stone collection -- including a very useful section on techniques unscrupulous sellers use to make a crap stone seem valuable. Other excellent sections cover working with stones that make you uncomfortable, storing your stones, cleaning them (physically and energetically), programming, and activating the stones. There is an entire chapter on crystal meditations, a series of practices centered on getting to know your stones as beings, and learning from them in a meditative state. Another discusses all aspects of making gem waters and crystal elixirs, along with several recipes. Of course he also spends a chapter on crystal grids and layouts for healing.

I particularly appreciated his chapter on spiritual hygiene with its proactive measures for handling challenging energetic situations, both for yourself and when working with others.

A truly fantastic addition to your library!

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author: Nicholas Pearson
Destiny Books, 2020
pp. 416, $29.99