Potentially harmful stones for gem elixirs
I've been asked many times about whether a certain stone is safe for making conventional gem elixirs, gem waters, massage oils, or other internal uses or absorbent uses. While any stone can be potentially harmful for fumes, or dust, here is some information on stones that are especially known to be toxic. Please be aware that this is an partial list, as I don't know all the possible toxicity information. Before using any stone or crystal for elixirs or waters, you should personally make sure that it's safe by consulting a mineralogist or other professional.
Types of stones that are toxic to ingest are minerals/ metals containing copper, lead, arsenic, cadmium, aluminium, barium, mercury, zinc, and other poisonous substances. These substances are often what gives a stone its characteristic colouring or shape. Great to look at, great to hold, but not great to put in the body. Where I have information on it, I've noted the toxic material in the stone.
Adamite - zinc, copper
Amazonite - copper
Amber - toxic dust, fumes, possible ingestive toxicity
Angelite - lead, sulphur
Atacamite - copper
Auricalcite - zinc and copper
Azurite - copper
Boji-stones (may contain sulphur)
Bronchantite - copper
Cerrusite - sulphur, molybdenum
Chalcantite - copper
Chalcopyrite (Peacock Stone, Peacock Ore) - copper and sulphur
Chrysacolla (Chrysocolla) - copper
Cinnabar - mercury
Cobaltocalcite (Pink Cobalt Calcite) - cobalt
Conicalcite - copper
Copper - copper
Coral - organic, may contain bacteria as well as pollutants from toxic materials in the water it forms in
Cuprite - copper
Diopside - copper
Dioptase - copper
Eliat Stone - copper
Emerald - aluminium
Garnet - aluminium
Gem Silica - copper
Galena/ Galenite - lead
Garnierite (Genthite, Falcondoite) - nickel
Hiddenite - aluminium
Iolite - aluminium
Kansas Pop Rocks - may contain sulphur
Kunzite - aluminium
Kyanite - aluminium
Labradorite - aluminium
Lapis Lazuli - may contain copper, sulphur
Marcasite (Markasite) - sulphur
Magnetite (Lodestone) - iron in large quantities
Malachite - copper
Meteorite - may contain many toxic substances
Mohawkite - copper, arsenic
Moldavite - aluminium
Molybdenum - molybdenum
Moonstone - may contain aluminium or other toxic substances
Mother of Pearl - organic, may contain bacteria or as pollutants from toxic materials in the water it forms in
Opal - toxic dust for inhalation at least
Pearl - organic, may contain bacteria as well as pollutants from toxic materials in the water it forms in
Psiomelane - barium
Pyrite (Fool's Gold, Inca Gold) - sulphur
Quartz (all types) - toxic dust for inhalation
Realgar - sulphur, arsenic
Rhodocrosite (Rhodochrosite) - lead
Ruby - aluminium
Sapphire - aluminium
Sodalite - aluminium
Spinel - may contain aluminium, zinc
Stibnite - lead, antimony
Smithsonite (Galmei, Zinc spar)- zinc, may contain copper
Sulphur - sulphur
Tourmaline, Watermelon - aluminium
Turquoise - copper
Uranium - radioactive mineral
Vanadanite - lead
Variscite - aluminium
Wulfenite - lead, molybdenum
Avoid and do not make conventional gem elixirs, gem waters, massage oils, or other consumables with these stones. The general rules below can help you stay safe.
1. Do not make conventional gemstone elixirs, gem waters, massage oils of any stone containing metal (lead, copper, etc.) Use an indirect method instead.
2. FYI: Polished stones are less likely to allow elixirs, etc. to leach any potentially hazardous materials. Rough stones are most likely.
3. In general, almost all blue and green stones, especially brightly coloured ones, contain copper and/or arsenic and are unsafe to use for conventional gem elixirs, etc.
4. Shiny, metallic stones should be avoided.
5. Don't handle stones containing arsenic, such as realgar, or mercury, such as cinnabar without protective gloves. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling them. These stones are extremely toxic.
6. Do not eat, drink, or smoke while handling potentially toxic stones.
7. Keep all potentially harmful stones (including small, bite-sized stones that aren't necessarily toxic but can cause choking hazards!) out of reach of children for safety.
You may find contradictory information elsewhere as to the potential hazards of these stones, as I am not a mineralogist nor a health care practitioner. I recommend being cautious, though, and using unconventional indirect methods for making elixirs and other consumables unless you're certain of what you're doing. To be on the safe side, consider these stones, and any stones you don't know for sure about, to be poisonous to eat, drink, or otherwise consume.