In chemistry, post-transition metals are the metallic elements in the periodic table located between the transition metals (to their left) and the metalloids (to their right). Usually included in this category are gallium, indium and thallium;tin and lead; and bismuth. Which elements are counted as post-transition metals depends, in periodic table terms, on where the transition metals are taken to end and where the metalloids or non-metals are taken to start.
Physically, post-transition metals are soft (or brittle), have poor mechanical strength, and melting points lower than those of the transition metals; most also have boiling points lower than those of the transition metals. Being close to the metal-nonmetal border, their crystalline structures tend to showcovalent or directional bonding effects, having generally greater complexity or fewer nearest neighbours than other metallic elements.
Chemically, they are characterised—to varying degrees—by covalent bonding tendencies, acid-base amphoterism and the formation of anionic species such as aluminates, stannates, and bismuthates (in the case of aluminium, tin, and bismuth, respectively). They can also form Zintl phases (half-metallic compounds formed between highly electropositive metals and moderatelyelectronegative metals or metalloids).
The expression ‘post-transition metals’ is used here as there is no IUPAC-approved collective name for these metals. Occasionally, some or all of them have instead been referred to as B-subgroup metals, other metals, or p-block metals; and by at least eleven other alternative labels. All these labels are surveyed later in this article.
Usually included in this category are the group 13–15 metals: gallium, indium and thallium; tin and lead; and bismuth. Other elements sometimes included are copper, silver and gold (which are usually considered to be transition metals); zinc, cadmium and mercury (which are otherwise considered to be transition metals); and aluminium, germanium, arsenic and antimony (the latter three of which are usually considered to be metalloids). Astatine, which is usually classified as a nonmetal or a metalloid, has been predicted to have a metallic crystalline structure. If so, it would be a post-transition metal. Elements 113–117 may be post-transition metals; insufficient quantities of them have been synthesized to allow investigation of their actual physical and chemical properties.
Which elements start to be counted as post-transition metals depends, in periodic table terms, on where the transition metals are taken to end.[n 3] In the 1950s, most inorganic chemistry textbooks defined transition elements as finishing at group 10 (nickel, palladium andplatinum), therefore excluding group 11 (copper, silver and gold), and group 12 (zinc,cadmium and mercury). A survey of chemistry books in 2003 showed that the transition metals ended at either group 11 or group 12 with roughly equal frequency. Where the post-transition metals end depends on where the metalloids or nonmetals start. Boron, silicon, germanium, arsenic, antimony and tellurium are commonly recognised as metalloids; other authors treat some or all of these elements as nonmetals.
The diminished metallic nature of the post-transition metals is largely attributable to the increase in nuclear charge going across the periodic table, from left to right. The increase in nuclear charge is partially offset by an increasing number of electrons but as these are spatially distributed each extra electron does not fully screen each successive increase in nuclear charge, and the latter therefore dominates. With some irregularities, atomic radii contract, ionisation energies increase, fewer electrons become available for metallic bonding, and “ions [become] smaller and more polarizing and more prone to covalency.” This phenomenon is more evident in period 4–6 post-transition metals, due to inefficient screening of their nuclear charges by their d10 and (in the case of the period 6 metals) f14 electron configurations; the screening power of electrons decreases in the sequence s > p > d > f. The reductions in atomic size due to the interjection of the d- and f-blocks are referred to as, respectively, the ‘scandide’ or ‘d-block contraction‘,[n 4] and the ‘lanthanide contraction‘. Relativistic effects also “increase the binding energy”, and hence ionisation energy, of the electrons in “the 6s shell in gold and mercury, and the 6p shell in subsequent elements of period 6.”
The origin of the term post-transition metal is unclear. An early usage is recorded by Deming, in 1940, in his well-known book Fundamental Chemistry. He treated the transition metals as finishing at group 10 (nickel, palladium and platinum). He referred to the ensuing elements in periods 4 to 6 of the periodic table (copper to germanium; silver to antimony; gold to polonium)—in view of their underlying d10 electronic configurations—as post-transition metals.
- This section outlines relevant physical and chemical properties of the elements typically or sometimes classified as post-transition metals. For complete profiles, including history, production, specific uses, and biological roles and precautions, see the main article for each element. Abbreviations: MH—Mohs hardness; BCN—bulk coordination number.[n 5]
The group 11 metals are typically categorised as transition metals given they can form ions with incomplete d-shells. Physically, they have the relatively low melting points and high electronegativity values associated with post-transition metals. “The filled d subshell and free s electron of Cu, Ag, and Au contribute to their high electrical and thermal conductivity. Transition metals to the left of group 11 experience interactions between s electrons and the partially filled d subshell that lower electron mobility.” Chemically, the group 11 metals in their +1 valence states show similarities to other post-transition metals; they are occasionally classified as such.
Copper is a soft metal (MH 2.5–3.0) with low mechanical strength. It has a close-packed face-centred cubic structure (BCN 12). Copper behaves like a transition metal in its preferred oxidation state of +2. Stable compounds in which copper is in its less preferred oxidation state of +1 (Cu2O, CuCl, CuBr, CuI and CuCN, for example) have significant covalent character. The oxide (CuO) is amphoteric, with predominating basic properties; it can be fused with alkali oxides (M2O; M = Na, K) to give anionic oxycuprates (M2CuO2). Copper forms Zintl phases such as Li7CuSi2 and M3Cu3Sb4 (M = Y, La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Sm, Gd, Tb, Dy, Ho, or Er).
Silver is a soft metal (MH 2.5–3) with low mechanical strength. It has a close-packed face-centred cubic structure (BCN 12). The chemistry of silver is dominated by its +1 valence state in which it shows generally similar physical and chemical properties to compounds of thallium, a main group metal, in the same oxidation state. It tends to bond covalently in most of its compounds. The oxide (Ag2O) is amphoteric, with basic properties predominating. Silver forms a series of oxoargentates (M3AgO2, M = Na, K, Rb). It is a constituent of Zintl phases such as Li2AgM (M = Al, Ga, In, Tl, Si, Ge, Sn or Pb)and Yb3Ag2.
Gold is a soft metal (MH 2.5–3) that is easily deformed. It has a close-packed face-centred cubic structure (BCN 12). The chemistry of gold is dominated by its +3 valence state; all such compounds of gold feature covalent bonding, as do its stable +1 compounds. Gold oxide (Au2O3) is amphoteric, with acid properties predominating; it forms anionic hydroxoaurates M[Au(OH)4] where M = Na, K, 1⁄2Ba, Tl; and aurates such as NaAuO2. Gold is a constituent of Zintl phases such as M2AuBi (M = Li or Na);Li2AuM (M = In, Tl, Ge, Pb, Sn) and Ca5Au4.
On the group 12 transition metals (zinc, cadmium and mercury), Smith observed that, “Textbook writers have always found difficulty in dealing with these elements.” There is an abrupt and significant reduction in physical metallic character from group 11 to group 12. Their chemistry is that of main group elements. A 2003 survey of chemistry books showed that they were treated as either transition metals or main group elements on about a 50/50 basis.[n 6] The IUPAC Red Book notes that although the group 3−12 elements are commonly referred to as the transition elements, the group 12 elements are not always included. The group 12 elements do not satisfy the IUPAC Gold Bookdefinition of a transition metal[n 7] (other than in the case of mercury at 4 K).
Zinc is a soft metal (MH 2.5) with poor mechanical properties. It has a crystalline structure (BCN 6+6) that is slightly distorted from the ideal. Many zinc compounds are markedly covalent in character. The oxides of zinc in its preferred oxidation state of +2, namely ZnO and Zn(OH)2, are amphoteric; it forms anionic zincates in strongly basic solutions. Zinc forms Zintl phases such as LiZn, NaZn13 and BaZn13. Highly purified zinc, at room temperature, is ductile. It reacts with moist air to form a thin layer of carbonate that prevents further corrosion.
Cadmium is a soft, ductile metal (MH 2.0) that undergoes substantial deformation, under load, at room temperature. Like zinc, it has a crystalline structure (BCN 6+6) that is slightly distorted from the ideal. The halides of cadmium, with the exception of the fluoride, exhibit a substantially covalent nature. The oxides of cadmium in its preferred oxidation state of +2, namely CdO and Cd(OH)2, are weakly amphoteric; it forms cadmates in strongly basic solutions. Cadmium forms Zintl phases such as LiCd, RbCd13 and CsCd13. When heated in air to a few hundred degrees, cadmium represents a toxicity hazard due to the release of cadmium vapour; when heated to its boiling point in air (just above 1000 K; 725 C; 1340 F; cf steel ~2700 K; 2425 C; 4400 F), the cadmium vapour oxidizes, ‘with a reddish-yellow flame, dispersing as an aerosol of potentially lethal CdO particles.’ Cadmium is otherwise stable in air and in water, at ambient conditions, protected by a layer of cadmium oxide.
Mercury is a liquid at room temperature. It has the weakest metallic bonding of all, as indicated by its bonding energy (61 kJ/mol) and melting point (−39 °C) which, together, are the lowest of all the metallic elements.[n 8] Solid mercury (MH 1.5) has a distorted crystalline structure, with mixed metallic-covalent bonding, and a BCN of 6. “All of the [Group 12] metals, but especially mercury, tend to form covalent rather than ionic compounds.” The oxide of mercury in its preferred oxidation state (HgO; +2) is weakly amphoteric, as is the congener sulfide HgS. It forms anionic thiomercurates (such as Na2HgS2 and BaHgS3) in strongly basic solutions.[n 9] It forms or is a part of Zintl phases such as NaHg and K8In10Hg. Mercury is a relatively inert metal, showing little oxide formation at room temperature.
Aluminium sometimes is or is not counted as a post-transition metal. It has a well shielded [Ne] noble gas core rather than the less well shielded [Ar]3d10, [Kr]4d10 or [Xe]4f145d10 core of the post-transition metals. The small radius of the aluminium ion combined with its high charge make it a strongly polarizing species, prone to covalency.
Aluminium in pure form is a soft metal (MH 3.0) with low mechanical strength. It has a close-packed structure (BCN 12) showing some evidence of partially directional bonding.[n 10] It has a low melting point and a high thermal conductivity. Its strength is halved at 200 °C, and for many of its alloys is minimal at 300 °C. The latter three properties of aluminium limit its use to situations where fire protection is not required, or necessitate the provision of increased fire protection.[n 11] It bonds covalently in most of its compounds; has an amphoteric oxide; and can form anionic aluminates. Aluminium forms Zintl phases such as LiAl, Ca3Al2Sb6, and SrAl2. A thin protective layer of oxide confers a reasonable degree of corrosion resistance. It is susceptible to attack in low pH (<4) and high (> 8.5) pH conditions,[n 12] a phenomenon that is generally more pronounced in the case of commercial purity aluminium and aluminium alloys. Given many of these properties and its proximity to the dividing line between metals and nonmetals, aluminium is occasionally classified as a metalloid.[n 13] Despite its shortcomings, it has a good strength-to-weight ratio and excellent ductility; its mechanical strength can be improved considerably with the use of alloying additives; its very high thermal conductivity can be put to good use inheat sinks and heat exchangers; and it has a high electrical conductivity.[n 14] At lower temperatures, aluminium increases its deformation strength (as do most materials) whilst maintaining ductility (as do face-centred cubic metals generally). Chemically, bulk aluminium is a strongly electropositive metal, with a high negative electrode potential.[n 15]
Gallium is a soft, brittle metal (MH 1.5) that melts at only a few degrees above room temperature. It has an unusual crystalline structure featuring mixed metallic-covalent bonding and low symmetry (BCN 7 i.e. 1+2+2+2). It bonds covalently in most of its compounds, has an amphoteric oxide; and can form anionic gallates. Gallium forms Zintl phases such as Li2Ga7, K3Ga13 and YbGa2. It is slowly oxidized in moist air at ambient conditions; a protective film of oxide prevents further corrosion.
Indium is a soft, highly ductile metal (MH 1.0) with a low tensile strength. It has a partially distorted crystalline structure (BCN 4+8) associated with incompletely ionised atoms. The tendency of indium ‘…to form covalent compounds is one of the more important properties influencing its electrochemical behavior’. The oxides of indium in its preferred oxidation state of +3, namely In2O3 and In(OH)3 are weakly amphoteric; it forms anionic indates in strongly basic solutions. Indium forms Zintl phases such as LiIn, Na2In and Rb2In3. Indium does not oxidize in air at ambient conditions.
Thallium is a soft, reactive metal (MH 1.0), so much so that it has no structural uses. It has a close-packed crystalline structure (BCN 6+6) but an abnormally large interatomic distance that has been attributed to partial ionisation of the thallium atoms. Although compounds in the +1 (mostly ionic) oxidation state are the more numerous, thallium has an appreciable chemistry in the +3 (largely covalent) oxidation state, as seen in its chalcogenides and trihalides. It is the only one of the Group 13 elements to react with air at room temperature, slowly forming the amphoteric oxide Tl2O3. It forms anionic thallates such as Tl3TlO3, Na3Tl(OH)6, NaTlO2, and KTlO2, and is present as the Tl− thallide anion in the compound CsTl. Thallium forms Zintl phases, such as Na2Tl, Na2K21Tl19, CsTl and Sr5Tl3H.
Germanium is a hard (MH 6), very brittle semi-metallic element. It was originally thought to be a poorly conducting metal but has the electronic band structure of a semiconductor. Germanium is usually considered to be a metalloid rather than a metal. Like carbon (as diamond) and silicon, it has a covalent tetrahedral crystalline structure (BCN 4). Compounds in its preferred oxidation state of +4 are covalent. Germanium forms an amphoteric oxide, GeO2 and anionic germanates, such as Mg2GeO4. It forms Zintl phases such as LiGe, K8Ge44 and La4Ge3.
Tin is a soft, exceptionally weak metal (MH 1.5);[n 16] a 1-cm thick rod will bend easily under mild finger pressure. It has an irregularly coordinated crystalline structure (BCN 4+2) associated with incompletely ionised atoms. All of the Group 14 elements form compounds in which they are in the +4, predominantly covalent, oxidation state; even in the +2 oxidation state tin generally forms covalent bonds. The oxides of tin in its preferred oxidation state of +2, namely SnO and Sn(OH)2, are amphoteric; it forms stannites in strongly basic solutions.Below 13 °C (55.4 °F) tin changes its structure and becomes ‘grey tin’, which has the same structure as diamond, silicon and germanium (BCN 4). This transformation causes ordinary tin to crumble and disintegrate since, as well as being brittle, grey tin occupies more volume due to having a less efficient crystalline packing structure. Tin forms Zintl phases such as Na4Sn, BaSn, K8Sn25 and Ca31Sn20. It has good corrosion resistance in air on account of forming a thin protective oxide layer. Pure tin has no structural uses. It is used in lead-free solders, and as a hardening agent in alloys of other metals, such as copper, lead, titanium and zinc.
Lead is a soft metal (MH 1.5) which, in many cases, is unable to support its own weight. It has a close-packed structure (BCN 12) but an abnormally large inter-atomic distance that has been attributed to partial ionisation of the lead atoms. It forms a semi-covalent dioxide PbO2; a covalently bonded sulfide PbS; covalently bonded halides; and a range of covalently bonded organolead compounds such as the lead(II) mercaptan Pb(SC2H5)2, lead tetra-acetate Pb(CH3CO2)4, and the once common, anti-knock additive, tetra-ethyl lead (CH3CH2)4Pb. The oxide of lead in its preferred oxidation state (PbO; +2) is amphoteric; it forms anionic plumbates in strongly basic solutions. Lead forms Zintl phases such as CsPb, Sr31Pb20, La5Pb3N and Yb3Pb20. It has reasonable to good corrosion resistance; in moist air it forms a mixed gray coating of oxide, carbonate and sulfate that hinders further oxidation.
Arsenic is a moderately hard (MH 3.5) and brittle semi-metallic element. It is commonly regarded as a metalloid, or by some other authors as either a metal or a non-metal. It exhibits poor electrical conductivity which, like a metal, decreases with temperature. It has a relatively open and partially covalent crystalline structure (BCN 3+3). Arsenic forms covalent bonds with most other elements. The oxide in its preferred oxidation state (As2O3, +3) is amphoteric,[n 17] as is the corresponding oxoacid in aqueous solution (H3AsO3) and congener sulphide (As2S3). Arsenic forms a series of anionic arsenates such as Na3AsO3and PbHAsO4, and Zintl phases such as Na3As, Ca2As and SrAs3.
Antimony is a soft (MH 3.0) and brittle semi-metallic element. It is commonly regarded as a metalloid, or by some other authors as either a metal or a non-metal. It exhibits poor electrical conductivity which, like a metal, decreases with temperature. It has a relatively open and partially covalent crystalline structure (BCN 3+3). Antimony forms covalent bonds with most other elements. The oxide in its preferred oxidation state (Sb2O3, +3) is amphoteric. Antimony forms a series of anionic antimonites and antimonates such as NaSbO2 and AlSbO4, and Zintl phases such as K5Sb4, Sr2Sb3 and BaSb3.
Bismuth is a slightly radioactive, soft metal (MH 2.5) that is too brittle for any structural use. It has an open-packed crystalline structure (BCN 3+3) with bonding that is intermediate between metallic and covalent. For a metal, it has exceptionally low electrical and thermal conductivity. Most of the ordinary compounds of bismuth are covalent in nature. The oxide, Bi2O3 is predominantly basic but will act as a weak acid in warm, very concentrated KOH. It can also be fused with potassium hydroxide in air, resulting in a brown mass of potassium bismuthate. The solution chemistry of bismuth is characterised by the formation of oxyanions; it forms anionic bismuthates in strongly basic solutions. Bismuth forms Zintl phases such as NaBi, Rb7In4Bi6 and Ba11Cd8Bi14. Bailar et al. refer to bismuth as being, ‘the least “metallic” metal in its physical properties’ given its brittle nature (and possibly) ‘the lowest electrical conductivity of all metals.’[n 18]
Polonium is a radioactive, soft metal with a hardness similar to lead. It has a simple cublc crystalline structure characterised (as determined by electron density calculations) by partially directional bonding, and a BCN of 6. Such a structure ordinarily results in very low ductility and fracture resistance however polonium has been predicted to be a ductile metal. It forms a covalent hydride; its halides are covalent, volatile compounds, resembling those of tellurium. The oxide of polonium in its preferred oxidation state (PoO2; +4) is predominantly basic, but amphoteric if dissolved in concentrated aqueous alkali, or fused with potassium hydroxide in air. The yellow polonate(IV) ionPoO2−
3 is known in aqueous solutions of low Cl‒ concentration and high pH.[n 19] Polonides such as Na2Po, BePo, ZnPo, CdPo and HgPo feature Po2− anions; except for HgPo these are some of the more stable of the polonium compounds.[n 20]
Astatine is a radioactive element that has never been seen; a visible quantity would immediately be vapourized due to its intense radioactivity. It may be possible to prevent this with sufficient cooling. Astatine is commonly regarded as a nonmetal, less commonly as a metalloid and occasionally as a metal. Unlike its lighter congener iodine, evidence for diatomic astatine is sparse and inconclusive. In 2013, on the basis of relativistic modelling, astatine was predicted to be a monatomic metal, with a face-centered cubic crystalline structure. As such, astatine could be expected to have a metallic appearance; show metallic conductivity; and have excellent ductility, even at cryogenic temperatures. It could also be expected to show significant nonmetallic character, as is normally the case for metals in, or in the vicinity of, the p-block. Astatine oxyanions AtO−, AtO−
3 and AtO−
4 are known, oxyanion formation being a tendency of nonmetals. The hydroxide of astatine At(OH) is presumed to be amphoteric.[n 21]Astatine forms covalent compounds with nonmetals, including hydrogen astatide HAt and carbon tetraastaide CAt4.[n 22] At− anions have been reported to form astatides with silver, thallium, palladium and lead. Pruszyński et al. note that astatide ions should form strong complexes with soft metal cations such as Hg2+, Pd2+, Ag+ and Tl3+; they list the astatide formed with mercury as Hg(OH)At.
Superficially, the B-subgroup metals are the metals in Groups IB to VIB of the periodic table, corresponding to Groups 11 to 16 using current IUPAC nonmenclature. Practically, the group 11 metals (copper, silver and gold) are ordinarily regarded as transition metals (or sometimes as coinage metals, or noble metals) whereas the group 12 metals (zinc, cadmium, and mercury) may or may not be treated as B-subgroup metals depending on if the transition metals are taken to end at group 11 or group 12. The ‘B’ nomenclature (as in Groups IB, IIB, and so on) was superseded in 1988 but is still occasionally encountered in more recent literature.[n 23]
The B-subgroup metals show nonmetallic properties; this is particularly apparent in moving from group 12 to group 16. Although the group 11 metals have normal close-packed metallic structures they show an overlap in chemical properties. In their +1 compounds (the stable state for silver; less so for copper) they are typical B-subgroup metals. In their +2 and +3 states their chemistry is typical of transition metal compounds.
Parish writes that, ‘as anticipated’, the borderline metals of groups 13 and 14 have non-standard structures. Gallium, indium, thallium, germanium, and tin are specifically mentioned in this context. The group 12 metals are also noted as having slightly distorted structures; this has been interpreted as evidence of weak directional (i.e. covalent) bonding.[n 24]
Chemically weak metals
Rayner-Canham and Overton use the term chemically weak metals to refer to the metals close to the metal-nonmetal borderline. These metals behave chemically more like the metalloids, particularly with respect to anionic species formation. The nine chemically weak metals identified by them are beryllium, aluminium, zinc, gallium, tin, lead, antimony, bismuth, and polonium.[n 25]
Cardarelli, writing in 2008, categorizes zinc, cadmium, mercury, gallium, indium thallium, tin, lead, antimony and bismuth as fusible metals. Nearly 100 years earlier, Louis (1911) noted that fusible metals were alloys containing tin, cadmium, lead, and bismuth in various proportions, “the tin ranging from 10 to 20%.”
Heavy metals (of low melting point)
Van Wert grouped the periodic table metals into a. the light metals; b. the heavy brittle metals of high melting point, c. the heavy ductile metals of high melting point; d. the heavy metals of low melting point (Zn, Cd, Hg; Ga, In, Tl; Ge, Sn; As, Sb, Bi; and Po), and e. the strong, electropositive metals. Britton, Abbatiello and Robins speak of ‘the soft, low melting point, heavy metals in columns lIB, IlIA, IVA, and VA of the periodic table, namely Zn, Cd, Hg; Al, Ga, In, Tl; [Si], Ge, Sn, Pb; and Bi. The Sargent-Welch Chart of the Elements groups the metals into: light metals, the lanthanide series; the actinide series; heavy metals (brittle); heavy metals (ductile); and heavy metals (low melting point): Zn, Cd, Hg, [Cn]; Al, Ga, In, Tl; Ge, Sn, Pb, [Fl]; Sb, Bi; and Po.[n 26]
Less typical metals
Habashi groups the elements into eight major categories:  typical metals (alkali metals, alkaline earth metals, and aluminium);  lanthanides (Ce–Lu);  actinides (Th–Lr);  transition metals (Sc, Y, La, Ac, groups 4–10);  less typical metals (groups 11–12, Ga, In, Tl, Sn and Pb);  metalloids (B, Si, Ge, As, Se, Sb, Te, Bi and Po);  covalent nonmetals (H, C, N, O, P, S and the halogens); and  monatomic nonmetals (that is, the noble gases).
The metametals are zinc, cadmium, mercury, indium, thallium, tin and lead. They are ductile elements but, compared to their metallic periodic table neighbours to the left, have lower melting points, relatively low electrical and thermal conductivities, and show distortions from close-packed forms. Sometimes beryllium and gallium are included as metametals despite having low ductility.
Abrikosov distinguishes between ordinary metals, and transition metals where the inner shells are not filled. The ordinary metals have lower melting points and cohesive energies than those of the transition metals. Gray identifies as ordinary metals: aluminium, gallium, indium, thallium, element 113, tin, lead, [flerovium], bismuth, element 115, and [livermorium]. He adds that, ‘in reality most of the metals that people think of as ordinary are in fact transition metals…’.
As noted, the metals falling between the transition metals and the metalloids on the periodic table are sometimes called other metals (see also, for example, Taylor et al.).‘Other’ in this sense has the related meanings of, ‘existing besides, or distinct from, that already mentioned’ (that is, the alkali and alkaline earth metals, the lanthanides and actinides, and the transition metals); ‘auxiliary’; ‘ancillary, secondary’. According to Gray there should be a better name for these elements than ‘other metals’.
The p-block metals are the metals in groups 13‒15 (or 16) of the periodic table. Usually, this includes aluminium, gallium, indium and thallium; tin and lead; and bismuth. Germanium, antimony and polonium are sometimes also included, although the first two are commonly recognised as metalloids. The p-block metals tend to have structures that display low coordination numbers and directional bonding. Pronounced covalency is found in their compounds; the majority of their oxides are amphoteric.
Slater divides the metals ‘fairly definitely, though not perfectly sharply’ into the ordinary metals and the peculiar metals, the latter of which verge on the nonmetals. The peculiar metals occur towards the ends of the rows of the periodic table and include ‘approximately:’ gallium, indium, and thallium; carbon, silicon ‘(both of which have some metallic properties, though we have previously treated them as nonmetals),’ germanium and tin; arsenic, antimony, and bismuth; and selenium ‘(which is partly metallic)’ and tellurium. The ordinary metals have centro-symmetrical crystalline structures[n 27] whereas the peculiar metals have structures involving directional bonding. More recently, Joshua observed that the peculiar metals have mixed metallic-covalent bonding.
Farrell and Van Sicien use the term poor metal, for simplicity, ‘to denote one with a significant covalent, or directional character.’ Hill and Holman observe that, ‘The term poor metals is not widely used, but it is a useful description for several metals including tin, lead and bismuth. These metals fall in a triangular block of the periodic table to the right of the transition metals. They are usually low in the activity (electrochemical) series and they have some resemblances to non-metals.’ Reid et al. write that ‘poor metals’ is, ‘[A]n older term for metallic elements in Groups 13‒15 of the periodic table that are softer and have lower melting points than the metals traditionally used for tools.’
In modern use, the term ‘semimetal’ sometimes refers, loosely or explicitly, to metals with incomplete metallic character in crystalline structure, electrical conductivity or electronic structure. Examples include gallium, ytterbium, bismuth, mercury and neptunium. Metalloids, which are in-between elements that are neither metals nor nonmetals, are also sometimes instead called semimetals. The elements commonly recognised as metalloids are boron, silicon, germanium, arsenic, antimony and tellurium. In old chemistry, before the publication in 1789 of Lavoisier’s ‘revolutionary’ Elementary Treatise on Chemistry, a semimetal was a metallic element with ‘very imperfect ductility and malleability’ such as zinc, mercury or bismuth.
Historically, the transition metal series “includes those elements of the Periodic Table which ‘bridge the gap’ between the very electropositive alkali and allkaline earth metals and the electronegative non-metals of the groups: nitrogen-phosphorus, oxygen-sulfur, and the halogens.” Cheronis, Parsons and Ronneberg wrote that, “The transition metals of low melting point form a block in the Periodic Table: those of Groups II ‘b’ [zinc, cadmium, mercury], III ‘b’ [aluminium, gallium, indium, thallium], and germanium, tin and lead in Group IV. These metals all have melting points below 425 °C.”[n 28]
In general, stones and gems symbolize stability, immortality, life, and fertility. They have been used to mark sacred places of worship, places where important events have taken place, and burial sites. Many mythologies contain stories of people being born of stone or turning into stone.
Gems and stones are widely believed to have magical and healing qualities. Natural rock structures are places of worship and people pray and make offerings at them as representation of their gods or as altars to their gods. Stones are painted, carved, and used in their natural forms in rituals, for healing, and as symbolic representations of gods, the elements, planets, and other natural phenomena. As the keepers of wisdom, medicine men, shamans, and priests of every culture wear amulets made of stones and precious gems. Many times these amulets are a way for the holy men to communicate with their gods
Gods and goddesses were often represented and worshipped in the form of stones. In ancient Greece, people would leave piles of small stones along the roadsides in honor of Hermes, and in doing so they hoped for his protection and blessings on their travels. In India rock piles represent the guardian goddesses of the villages. The Druids had no representations of their gods except for columnar and cubical stones.
Spherical stones symbolize the moon and moon goddesses. Pillars of stone are used to symbolize the world axis, the axis mundi, and as phallic symbols. Broken stones were used in ancient cultures to symbolize death or the end of a cycle. Cubic stones symbolize stability and perfection, and were often used as the foundation stones of sacred buildings. The symbolism of the cubic stones survives today in the ceremony that surrounds the placing of the cornerstones when new buildings are being constructed.
Truth, self-acceptance, and integrity.
Enhances the healing qualities of other stones and strengthens the immune system. Aids in the quest of the self and helps a person do what is in their heart. Guards against negative energy.
Victory, change, strength, truth, fertility, prosperity, and courage. Agates are named after the Achates River, in Sicily, in which many can be found. Their use as ornaments, amulets, and for healing can be traced back to ancient Babylon. They have been called the stone of wanderers and are said to have the power to bring love, long life, protection, intelligence, prosperity, and healing into a persons life. They have been used as protection against snake bites and scorpion stings and for protection from lightning and bad dreams. Associated with the planet Mercury.
Strengthens the heart, helps heal liver diseases, blood disorder, skin problems, and helps stop bleeding. Held in the mouth it will relieve thirst.
Black and white agates are stones of protection. Red agates were used anciently to increase the fertility of the Earth. They also give courage, long life, protection, love, and strength. Banded agates ease anxiety, increase physical energy, give courage, and are good meditation stones. Protective stone. Green agates are worn to improve eye health. Women used to drink water with a green agate in it to protect against sterility. Moss agates are believed to contain the spirit of the Earth because of the small pieces of plants they contain. They are the stone of gardeners. Help a person connect with nature spirits and the land. They neutralize fears and open the mind. Eases emotional pain and enhances creativity. Moss agates also help with communication with spirit guides. They were used by ancient shamans and priests as healing stones and were believed to bring wealth, happiness, and long life to anyone who wore them. Encourages universal love. Brown agates were once worn by warriors to ensure victory in battle. Lace agates encourage and support. They ease depression. Blue lace agates is the stone of self-expression. It helps a person speak the truth and it makes it easier to express their thoughts. It takes away hoarseness and eases sore throats, is used to treat arthritis, and aid digestive conditions. It also is a calming stone and can help ease physical as well as emotional tension. Wear or carry for happiness and peace.
- European: In Europe it was believed that agates could cure insomnia.
- Miscellaneous: In Persia and Italy they were worn or carried as amulets for protection from the evil eye.
- Judaic: First stone in Aaron’s breastplate.
- Roman: The ancient Romans wore red agates to bring peace, heal blood disorders, to protect against insect bites, and to bring peace and serenity.
Change, joy, oneness with life.
Helps with internal and external healing, and has a positive effect on the spleen, pancreas, and nervous system. Balances the mental and physical bodies.
Pieces of aluminum are carried to enhance mental abilities. In magic aluminum is associated with the planet Mercury and the element air.
Faith, hope, endurance, and strength. Known as the “Hope Stone.” Associated with the zodiac sign of Virgo, and the number five. A stone believed to endow the wearer with creativity.
Balances the emotions. Amazonite also helps align the solar plexus and heart chakras.
Luck, strength, beauty, and love. Amber may be the oldest substance used by men and women for jewelry and as magical and healing amulets. It has been used for almost every magical purpose from protection to healing to bringing about fertility in people as well as the Earth. Although amber is not a stone but the fossilized resin of conifer trees it has long been called a stone. As a once living substance, it was believed to contain the essence of life because it often contains small insects, animals, and plants. The symbol of strength, beauty, and love, amber is and was believed to bestow on the wearer knowledge, strength, courage, healing, and luck. Amber is a solar stone and is also associated with the planet Mercury and Jupiter.
People used to wear chokers of amber beads to cure coughs, holding a piece of amber in your hand was believed to cure fevers and cool the body on a hot day, it was burned by ancient healers to cleanse the air and ease labor pains, and believed to cure the eyesight of anyone who gazed into it.
- European: In medieval Europe men would place a piece of amber on the breasts of their sleeping wives in the belief that if she had done any wrong she would confess her evil deeds.
- Greek: The origin of amber was explained in Greek myth by the story of Phaeton’s death. Phaeton was the son of Phoebus Apollo, the god of the Sun. One day Phaeton asked if he could drive his father’s Sun chariot. His father allowed him to drive it but warned him not to go too close to the Sun. The rides went well for awhile, but one day Phaeton was driving the horses faster than usual and lost control. The horses bolted and Phaeton was killed. His three sisters, the Heliades, searched for his body and when they found it they swore to stay with their dead brother forever. They cried day and night and their bodies slowly turned into trees. Their tears continued to fall and were eventually turned into amber by the Sun.
- Native American: Believed to be pieces of the Sun which have fallen to the Earth.
Courage, happiness, piety, peace, sobriety, and humility. Wearing an amethyst was believed to bring peace of mind, sweet dreams, courage, happiness, protection from witchcraft, healing, strengthens memory, and strengthen faith. Amethysts are associated with the planets Jupiter and Pluto. Used as an antidote to poisons. Used to increase psychic awareness.
Amethyst has been called “nature’s tranquilizer” because it relaxes not only the mind but also the nervous system. An elixir of amethyst is used to treat toothaches, bone and skeletal disease, balances blood sugar, heals stomach and digestive disorders, help with heart disorders, hearing problems, and convulsions.
- Christian: Represented the tribe of Dan. St. Valentine wore an amethyst ring that was engraved with a figure of Cupid.
- European: Leonardo Da Vinci believed amethyst would heighten his intelligence and drive evil thoughts out of his mind.
- Greek: Protection, humility, and innocence, and simplicity. The name of this stone is of Greek origin and is translated as- amethystus meaning “not drunken”, or “intoxicated” (-methystos from methyein or intoxicated, and methy meaning wine). The ancient Greeks believed that if you drank wine from a goblet made of amethyst or had an amethyst bound to your navel you would not become intoxicated. The legend of the origin of amethyst comes from Greek myths. Dionysius, the god of intoxication, was angered one day by an insult from a mortal and swore revenge on the next man that crossed his path, he created fierce tigers to carry out his wish. The next to come along was Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana. Diana turned Amethyst into a statue of crystalline quartz to protect her from the tigers. Dionysius wept tears of wine in remorse for his actions and at the sight of the beautiful statue. His tears stained the quartz purple, creating amethyst.
- Egyptian: Protection from the evil eye.
- Hindu: The Hindus associate amethysts with the zodiac sign of Pisces and say they will keep Pisces children free from worry and pain.
- Roman: Amethysts origins are traced to Bacchus, god of nature and wine.
- Tibetan: In Tibet it is believed to be sacred to Buddha and it is used to make rosaries.
This is a translucent form of obsidian. Associated with the planet Pluto. A projective stone. Will protect and bring good luck. A grounding stone.
- Native American: Many Native American tribes regarded the stone with great respect and considered it sacred. It was used for protection and to bring good luck. Apache tear’s represent the tears of women who have lost a loved one in a war.
Helps calm emotional stress. Known as the “mind over matter” stone.
Hope, peace, courage, happiness, and everlasting youth. Associated with the planet Neptune. Sailors used to wear or carry an aquamarine for protection. The stone of sea gods and goddesses. Said to help keep marriages happy, babies safe, protect against evil, and ensure good health. To dream of an aquamarine means you will meet new friends. Receptive stone.
Used for diseases of the neck, head, throat, and relief of stomach upset. A diuretic. Calms hostility and anger, and promotes openness.
- Christian: Christian myths say that this stone gives you power over the devil and if you put it in your mouth you cannot be lied to.
- Greco-Roman: Used by fisherman and sailors for protection from the sea. The ancient Greeks believed it was made from the tears of sea nymphs. The Romans were the first to call it aquamarine, which means “water of the sea”.
Used to help dispel fears…fear of love, of failure, of being wrong, ect. When these fears are gone you are better able to trust your intuition and discover your true path.
Balance universal love, prosperity, truth and joy. Associated with the planets Venus and Uranus. Has been used through time by gamblers as a good luck charm. Is said the bring tranquility and peace to the wearer.
Used to heal the heart and lungs, migraines, eye problems, hypertension, inflammation, and lower fevers. Helps ground a person emotionally.
Green aventurine soothes and balances. This stone is an all-around healer…physical, mental, and emotional. Increases motivation and brings luck. Called the “Stone of Heaven.” Blue aventurine stimulates creativity and expression. Helps dissolve blocks in the brow chakra. Blue-green aventurine connects the throat and heart chakras which helps a person communicate in a more loving manner. Orange aventurine dissolves creative blocks and heals sexual traumas.
- Tibetan: The ancient Tibetans decorated their statues with aventurine, most often using it for the eyes to symbolize spiritual insight.
Wisdom and intuition. Associated with the planet Saturn. It has long been used as a rubbing stone, and like amber, needs to be touched to release its energies. Azurite helps people connect with their spirit guides and aids healers, psychics, and mediators.
Considered a powerful healing stone, and believed to stimulate psychic abilities and intuition, reduce stress, and aid meditation. Helps with spine, rib cage, and small bone disorders. Helps clear toxins from the body. Azurite is believed to have the power to restructure molecules and reconstruct the brain.
- Egyptian: Priests and priestesses used azurite to enhance their spiritual awareness.
Victory, strength, change, balance, and long life. This stone was referred to as hematite and heliotrope in ancient times. Associated with the Earth. Warriors carried it believing it would stop the bleeding if applied to a wound.
Used to help heal blood disorders. People with weak voices or who are afraid to speak in front of groups should wear carnelian.
- Babylonian: The ancient Babylonians wore it to help them conquer their enemies.
- Christian: Medieval Christians often carved scenes of the crucifixion and martyrs on bloodstone. Christian legend says that the bloodstone was created at the crucifixion when the blood from Christ’s wounds dripped onto the dark green Earth and turned into stone.
- Egyptian: The Egyptians believed bloodstone could break down any barriers and open all doors.
- Roman: Soldiers wore it because they believed it stopped bleeding and would protect them from fatal injury.
Inspiration. Associated with the planets Mercury and Uranus.
Brass and Bronze
Wealth, justice, purity, morality, and protection. Brass and bronze have the same symbolic meanings because each of their base alloys is copper. Brass is a combination of copper and zinc, and bronze a combination of copper with tin and silver. They are associated with both the Sun and Moon. The copper being associated with the Sun and the other metals with the Moon. Both metals have been considered sacred since ancient times. The metals of sky gods and goddesses.
- Roman: Ancient Romans shaved the heads of their priests with bronze razors. Bronze and brass ploughs were used to mark the boundaries of new towns, personal property, and sacred sites.
Used to cleanse organs, heal bones, joints, and improve the memory.
Pink calcite centers and grounds. It is a calming stone. Orange calcite brings joy and protection. Green calcite helps a person let go of old emotional and mental patterns and accept new.
Courage and peace. The name comes from the Latin word for flesh. Used to see into the past. Associated the planets Saturn and Earth. Believed to bring healing, protection, and courage to the wearer. Ancient warriors wore carnelian pendants to gain physical power.
Used for healing infertility, menstrual cramps, asthma, rheumatism, insomnia, and skin and blood problems. Carnelian helps you to have the mental power to focus on one important task at a times. It can help one with confidence and inspiration.
- Egyptian: The sacred stone of Isis, it was used in ancient Egypt to promote peace, courage, harmony, cure depression and increase sexual energy.
Peace and protection. Protects against nightmares. Helps dispel sadness and fear.
Blue chalcedony is very calming. Pink chalcedony heals all issues of the heart. It helps a person to be open to love from all. Heals the inner child. Gives people the security and safety to explore their feeling on a deeper level and let go of the pain from the past.
- European: Prescribed by 16th century magicians to cure mental problems, and worn in Italy by mothers to increase lactation.
Woman and the Earth. Allows women to explore their feminine side and celebrate their womanhood.
Helps heal arthritis, female disorders, digestive problems, and helps prevent ulcers. Strengthens the thyroid gland and the lungs. Eases guilt, fear, and tension.
This stone has been considered a strong protective stone since ancient times. Associated with the planets Mercury and Mars.
Aids healing of the kidneys, liver, colon, and heart. Increases the body’s healing energies. Allows you to trust your intuition. Helps a person accept change.
Love, harmony, and protection. Associated with the planets Venus, Neptune, Isis, and water. As an amulet it had been used for protection against the evil eye and storms at sea, and protection for travelers. The stone of teachers, singers, and public speakers. Worn to effect inner changes.
Long considered to have great healing powers, coral has been used to cure everything from acne to mental illness. Said to increase fertility, ease teething pain, prevent epilepsy, and cure arthritis.
Orange coral was worn to calm a person’s nerves. Red coral is supposed to protect newlyweds from sterility and destroy negative vibrations.
- Egyptian: Protection.
- Greek: One of the Greek names for Coral was Gorgeia, recalling the blood that dripped from the head of Medea, Perseus placed on some of the blood in branches near the sea-shore and the blood drops were taken by the sea nymphs and planted in the sea, growing into coral.
- Hindu: Mars.
- Roman: The ancient Romans had their children wear coral necklace for protection and healing
Love and luck. Associated with the planet Venus and the element of water. Copper is the metal of all love gods and goddesses. Believed to bring healing and protection when used in amulets and charms.
Detoxifying, aids blood flow, and aligns the physical and mental bodies. Helps raise self-esteem.
Love, courage, peace, devotion, bravery, strength, innocence, and the perfect man. Associated with the Sun and the element of fire. The power of a diamond as an amulet is said to be lost if the diamond is purchased by the wearer, to be effective it must be a gift from another person. Diamonds have been worn as amulets of protection against poison, to drive away nightmares, to tame wild animals, and to protect mothers during childbirth. One legend says that diamonds could determine a person’s guilt or innocence. If a person was guilty the diamond would grow dark.
- European: In the past many Europeans believed that diamonds would sweat when in the presence of poison, so for many years it was used to detect poisons and poisonous creatures. Aristocratic families wore diamonds to keep the plague away during the Middle Ages. This belief arose because the plague always entered cities through the ports, the poorest part of the cities, so the wealthy mistakenly believed their diamonds, a valuable unavailable to the poor, that would keep away the plague.
- Greek: The name comes from the Greek adamas, “unconquerable”, suggestive of the eternity of love.
- Hindu: Diamonds are the stones of the planet Venus and rule the arts and sexual pleasures.
- Persian: The ancient Persians believed the Devil created diamonds and considered them evil.
Wealth, balance, love, rebirth, spring, chastity, hope, faith, harmony, immortality, and understanding. Associated with the Moon, Jupiter and Venus. Emeralds have been worn as amulets to attract love and protect the wearer from demons.
Emeralds have long been used to cure eye diseases and relieve eye strain.
- Christian: One Christian legend says that when Satan was cast out of heaven he lost an emerald from his crown. The Queen of Sheba had a bowl made from the emerald which was later used by Christ as the last supper and then Joseph of Arimanthea used the bowl to catch blood from the wound of Jesus. This bowl was later believed to be the Holy Grail.
- Egyptian: Egyptian mummies were often buried with an emerald on their necks as a symbol of eternal life. The emerald was a sacred stone of Isis and she wore an emerald on her headband that was said to confer fertility on anyone who looked upon it.
- Greek: The name comes from the Greek smaragdos, “green stone”. The ancient Greeks believed emeralds guaranteed everlasting love. The walls of the city on the Isles of the Blessed are decorated with emeralds. Sacred to Ceres and Venus
Good luck. Associated with the planet Neptune. Called the Fairy Gem.
Strengthens he bones and teeth. Increases mental and emotional powers.
Health, faith, truth, happiness, fertility, commitment, and good fortune. Associated with the planets Mars and Pluto, and the element of fire. Believed to have great healing and protective powers. Garnets were exchanged between friends as a symbol of their friendship and as a promise to meet again. Have been worn as charms to gain strength, for protection, to keep away nightmares, to cure insomnia, and for good luck. The garnet creates a protective shield around its wearer. At one time women wore it around their waists to help with their menstrual cycle.
Helps with blood disorders. Increases creativity, and helps with patience and persistence.
- European: They were worn in the 13th century as an insect repellent.
- Greek: The ancient Greeks called it the lamp stone because they believed it gave the wearer the ability to see in the dark. Sacred stone of Persephone.
- Roman: Name comes from the Latin granatus, “like seeds”, because they are found ‘seeded’ in many different kinds of rocks.
Fire, power, wisdom, success, and the masculine principle. Associated with the Sun. Considered protective and healing when used in amulets.
Energizes the physical body, improves circulation, and strengthens the nervous system. Because it aids tissue regeneration it would also be beneficial to burn victims
Blood, success, focus, and good fortune. Associated with the planet Saturn and the element of fire. It is said if you hold hematite in your hand and ask a question the answer will come to you. Shamans placed it over the location of illness to draw out the spirit causing the illness.
A blood purifier and balancing stone. Hematite has long been considered a powerful healing stone and people used to wear necklaces of hematite to cure blood diseases and gas.
- Egyptian: Used it to cure hysteria.
- Greek: Name comes from the Greek word meaning blood.
Protection, good health. Holey stones are stones with at least one naturally occurring hole. These stones are known by many names: Odin Stones, Hagstones, Wish Stones, Faery Stones, Mare-Stanes, and Goddess Stones, to name a few.
When used in amulets it is said to give protection, strength, balance, healing, and aid in the return of stolen goods. Associated with the planet Mars and the element of fire.
Love, wisdom, serenity, and virtue. Associated with the planets Venus and Neptune. As an amulet jade is worn for protection and healing. Jade bracelets are worn for long life. A good stone for gardener’s. Wearing it while gardening and planting it around the perimeter of a garden will improve the health and growth of plants.
Called the “colic stone.” Believed to help with kidney health and eye problems. Helps the body heal itself.
Jade is found in many colors, each having its own meaning: green…good luck harmony and sympathy; red…long life white…luck purity and virginity; yellow…intellect; pale lilac…love of humanity; and black…power and strength.
- Chinese: Purity, serenity, love, wisdom, and long life. Jade is the most sacred stone of China. It is a stone thought to give a person a quick, precise mind, so ancient traders in the East often held jade stones in their hands while conducting business. Prospective brides give a jade butterfly to their betrothed to seal their engagement. Blue, yellow, green, red, white, and black jades were associated with the heavens, the Earth, east, south, west, and north, respectively.
- Egyptian: Jade is found in most Egyptian burial chambers because they believed jade aided the soul on a its journey through the Underworld.
- Maori: Brings good luck.
- Mayan: The Mayans wore jade amulets to protect against bladder and kidney diseases.
Happiness, stability, and balance.
Used as a blood purifier, in treating cancers, and to balance hormones. Helps strengthen the liver and bladder. Balancing. Helps reduce fear, guilt, and insecurity. Enhances the aura.
Leopard skin jasper helps balance the heart and solar plexus chakras. The grey in it brings serenity, the black…protection, the yellow…clarity, the pink…love, the green…health, and the red…energy. Red jasper has long been considered a powerful protective stone. It sends negative energy back to the source. Green jasper is said to bring the wearer good health, peace of mind, promote sympathy for others in pain, and is said to help end droughts. Brown jasper symbolizes security and is worn for balance, grounding, and protection. Worn as a charm against snake, spider, and snake bites.
- Native American: A rain bringing stone.
Good luck and protection. Jet is fossilized wood that is millions of years old. Jet has been called black amber and held in high regard for its protective qualities. Associated with the earth element. When worn as a necklace jet is associated with being a direct link of the body to the soul. It is a one person stone and should not be exchanged from one person to another. It was used in ancient times to detect the loss of virginity. Associated with the planet Pluto.
Help with toothaches, headaches, stomach problems, and fevers.
- European: In Victorian times it was worn during periods of mourning.
- Greek: Those who worshipped the Greek goddess Cybele wore jet to gain favor with her. Sacred to Pan.
- Roman: Travelers carried jet for protection.
Love, and balance. Has very high spiritual love vibrations.
Kunzite has a high lithium content and is used with people with addictions, and manic depression. Helps strengthen the cardiovascular system. A soothing stone. Aligns the crown and heart chakras.
Love, fidelity, truth, wisdom, power, and the sky. Associated with the planets Venus and Neptune. The stone of teachers. A receptive stone. Gives courage, joy, fidelity, and gentleness on the wearer. Before the Middle Ages Lapis was referred to as sapphire.
Strengthens the pituitary gland and the skeletal system. Enhances mental clarity, psychic abilities, and communication with the higher self and spirit guides.
- Arabic: Its name is derived from the Arabic al lazward meaning “the blue sky” or “heaven.”
- Egyptian: The stone of Isis, her priests used it to strengthen their minds and access ancient knowledge. A holy stone. Nearly all of the scarabs found in Tutankhamun’s grave were made of lapis.
- Judeo-Christian: According to one legend, the ten commandments were engraved on a tablet made of lapis.
Used in protective amulets and for aid in divination. Associated with the planets Earth and Saturn.
Good luck, fidelity, honesty, virility, friendship, and love. Associated with the planet Venus and the element of water.
- Roman: The ancient Romans believed that if a husband and wife both wore a lodestones it would keep them faithful.
- Voodoo: Lodestones are painted different colors and used as amulets: red, to bring love; green and gold, to bring money; blue, to bring peace; and white, for protection.
Hope, peace, and abundance. Associated with the planet Venus. They have long been used as amulets to protect children from nightmares and evil spirits. They are said to bring the wearer inner peace, protection, and abundance in all areas of their life. If a person wears malachite it will shatter to warn them of danger.
Malachite was used 5000-6000 years ago to cure convulsions, and as an anesthetic. Balances blood sugar and cleanses the digestive system. Placed between a piece of green jade and a double terminated quartz crystal on the heart chakra, it may help a person recover blocked memories, although this may be a very intense experience for the person, both the memory recovery and the releasing of emotional pain. It is a purging stone, a mirror of the subconscious, and show a person what needs to be cleansed.
Spring, luck, and protection. Associated with the planet Mercury and the elements of air, water, and earth.
Have been used since ancient times to symbolize Great Mother goddesses. Used in amulets for protection. As recently as the 18th century meteorites were thought to have had several origins from those now accepted: 1) they were considered gifts or missiles from the gods and were to be worshipped and feared; 2) they came from distant volcanoes; and 3) they were just earth rocks dropped by powerful storms.
Helps a person explore past lives.
The Moon, good luck, the feminine, love, peace, intuition, and serenity. Called the ‘traveler’s stone’ because is was worn by night traveler’s for protection. The movement of light across its surface is said to reflect the waxing and waning of the Moon. When placed in the mouth during a full moon, moonstones were believed to enabled lovers to foretell the future of their relationship. A goddess stone.
A woman’s healing stone, it helps heal female organs, stabilize hormones, helps during childbirth, and balance menstrual cycles. Aids weight loss. Also used in healing the spleen, stomach, pancreas, and pituitary gland. Balances the emotions.
- Hindu: Sacred and believed to bring good luck and happiness.
Transformation. A very protective stone. Associated with the planets Saturn and Pluto and the element of fire. It is a stone that is used for a focal point in meditation and as a ‘magic mirror’ for divination.
Cleanses the liver and helps heal stomach problems. Unites the mind and emotions, helps clear subconscious blacks, reduces stress, and absorbs and dissolves negative energy. Obsidian is a good stone for gentle people because it will help guard them from abuse.
Snowflake obsidian helps clear a person’s mind.
- Aztec: The Aztec’s made scying mirrors out of obsidian.
Marital happiness. Associated with the planet Saturn. Worn to lessen sexual desires.
Strengthens bone marrow. Balances female and male energies.
- Christian: Folklore says the wedding ring of Mary and Joseph was made of onyx and could cure any disease.
- Greco-Roman: It was a very popular protective amulet among the ancient Greeks and Romans. The name comes from the Greek onux, “fingernail”, because one day Cupid accidentally cut Venus’ fingernails with an arrow while she was sleeping. He left the clippings in the sand and the Fates turned them into stones so that no part of Venus’ sacred body would ever be lost or cease to exist.
Intuition, joy, love, hope, fidelity, and innocence. In ancient times, people believed that opals were bits of the rainbow that had fallen to the ground. Associated with the planets Mercury and Neptune.
Generally used to heal spiritual problems but can be used for eye problems.
Black opals have long been considered lucky. It was believed that when a love was conceived in the presence of a black opal, the gem would absorb the emotion and forever after, the fire of that passion would glow in the stone. For this reason, the black opal is sometimes referred to as the “passion stone.”
- European: During the Crusades women gave their crusaders opals to protect them in battle and bring them home safely. In the Middle Ages young girls wore opals in their hair to protect its blond color. In the 19th century opals were considered unlucky because of the plot of “Anne of Geirsten”, a popular Sir Walter Scott novel of the time. The life-force of the heroine in the novel is held in the opal she wears and she will die when the fire in the opal dims.
- Hindu and Buddhist: Name comes from the Sanskrit upala, meaning “precious stone.”
- Roman: The Romans considered opals a symbol of hope because it had the rainbow inside it.
Purity, chastity, peace, gentleness, and virtue. Associated with the Moon and Venus. Men used to give their wives pearl necklaces to wear to keep them chaste while the men were away.
Through out time pearls have been used to cure almost every disease.
- Arabic: Arabic legend says that pearls were created when moonlight fell into the ocean and was swallowed by oysters.
- Chinese: The pearl is considered the soul of the oyster. The Chinese also believed that pearls protected them from the fire-breathing dragons.
- Hindu: Couples are often given pearls as a wedding gift and the ceremonial piercing of the perfect, virgin pearl is often part of the wedding ceremony.
Happiness and creativity. A stone considered to be a powerful amulet against all evil, the peridot was a favorite stone among pirates. Associated with the planet Mercury.
Beneficial to the heart, liver, spleen, and adrenal glands. Reduces stress. Connects us with our higher selves. Frees the mind of envy and jealousy.
- Arabic: Names is a French word derived from the Arabic faridat, “gem”.
- Egyptian: The ancient Egyptians called them “the gem of the Sun”, but also associated them with their Earth goddesses
- Roman: Peridot was used as amulets to protect people from nightmares and evil spirits.
- South American: Shamans use peridot to protect them from snakebites and sleeping sickness.
Associated with the earth.
Helps restore physical and metal energy. Protects against infection. Grounding stone.
Harmony and practicality.
Oxygenates the blood, improves circulation, and improves brain function.
Freedom and purity. Crystal has been used as a protective amulet in many cultures and collections of crystals have been found in burial sites dating back to the time of Neanderthal man. Associated with the planet Uranus. Crystal balls have long been used as instruments to tell the future and meditation. Symbolic of the opening of the third eye. Crystal balls symbolize the universal egg.
All around healing stone. Balances the emotions. Helps us find our inner light that connects us to the rest of the universe. Used to amplify and focus thoughts.
- Aborigine: Among the Australian aborigines of Northern Queensland, shamans use quartz crystals in initiation ceremonies, to enhance telepathy, to cure illness, and to bring rain.
- Cherokee: The Cherokee used crystals in a ritual for purification and cleansing. They would place seven large crystals in a river or stream and submerge people in the water.
- Greek: The name comes from the Greek krystallos, “ice”, because the ancient Greeks believed quartz crystal was water that has been frozen forever by the gods.
- Hopi: Hopi medicine men used crystals to observe the energy fields of the body to see where the energy was blocked, which would be the cause of an illness.
- Japanese: The crystallized breath of a white dragon.
Peace, love, and energy. Rhodocrosite is said to represent the love of God. Associated with the planets Mercury and Venus.
Used to heal eye diseases, the kidneys, heart, and increases blood circulation. Unites the conscious with the unconscious. A stone of self-acceptance.
Love, fidelity, peace, and intuition. Associated with the planet Venus. Worn as an amulet to bring love into one’s life.
Aids the circulatory system and kidneys. A stone much used for healing the emotions and teaching self-love and love of others. Teaches forgiveness of self and others. Heals soul trauma.
Treats depression, helps the body absorb nutrients, and boosts the immune system. Energizes and balances the body. Good for past life work.
Freedom, charity, dignity, divine power, and courage. Associated with the planet Mars and the Sun. In ancient times, rubies were thought to be made of the blood of Mother Earth, and therefore contained the spark of life. Worn as an amulet it was thought to protect a person from disease, ensure good harvests, guard against natural disasters, protect against evil and enemies, and make the wearer invulnerable. They ruby was said to darken as a warning of impending danger. To dream of a ruby meant success in money and business matters, or a good harvest if dreamt of by a gardener or farmer.
Enhances circulation, strengthens the immune system, and gives energy to the body. Worn to cure depression.
- Buddhist: In China rubies are considered the most perfect offering to Buddha.
- Hindu: Rubies are the stone of the Sun and in Burma it is believed that rubies ripen to their deep red color while in the womb of Mother Earth.
Salt is a biological need for human life. Life, purity, wisdom, knowledge, immortality, and preservation. Duality…as a preserver and corrosive. A symbol of friendship and hospitality because it is shared during meals, and a symbol of a binding promise because it is indestructible. Among all the people of the world salt has played a prominent part in their rites and ceremonies…birth, initiation, marriage, death, and public and private worship. Because of its protective properties, it is unlucky to spill it. Leonardo da Vinci, building on this symbolism, portrayed Judas Iscariot as spilling salt in “The Last Supper.”
- Alchemical: The human body.
- Aztec: Huixtocihuatl was a fertility goddess who presided over salt and salt water
- Christian: Wisdom, purification, blessing, consecration, and protection.
- Greek: Homer called salt a divine substance. Plato described it as being especially dear to the gods. Associated with Aphrodite.
- Japanese: Sumo wrestlers throw handfuls of salt into the arena before a bout to purify it from any negative energy that may still remain from previous bouts.
- Judaic: In Kabbalah, the Hebrew word for salt, MLH, is a sacred word. God commanded that all their offerings be seasoned with salt.
- Roman: The Romans considered salt a very valuable substance and for a time paid their army in salt. The Latin phrase salarium argentum, “salt money,” referred to part of the payment made to every Roman soldier, and the word has come down through the ages into the English word “salary”. The Latin word sal developed into the French word solde, meaning “pay,” and in turn became the word “soldier.”
- Shinto: Used to purify people and places.
Truth, constancy, loyalty, love, purity, strength, and wisdom. Associated with the planet Neptune and the element of water. Worn as amulets, sapphires are said to bring reconciliation and peace, creativity, promote fidelity, aid mediation, and bring love into the wearer’s life. Sapphires were once believed to scare away the devil and evil spirits and are still worn today for protection.
Star sapphires are considered to be more potent, magically speaking, for all uses. The three intersecting rays of the star sapphire symbolize faith, hope, and destiny.
Heals eyes, strengthens heart, boosts immune system, and protects the body from disease. Aligns the body, mind, and spirit.
- Greek: Name comes from the Greek sappeiros, “blue”. The ancient Greeks believed the dark sapphires were female and the light sapphires male. Sacred to Apollo. The Greeks wore it to aid them when consulting the oracles, and soldiers wore them to keep them from being captured. It was considered a very sacred stone and believed that the only way to benefit from the use of this stone is for the person to be pure in thought and deed.
- Hindu: Yellow sapphires are attributed to Jupiter and blue sapphires to Saturn.
- Persian: The ancient Persians believed the Earth rested on a giant sapphire whose reflection gave the sky its color.
Marital happiness. Because it is thought to make the wearer eloquent, sardonyx would be beneficial to public speakers and bashful lovers.
- Roman: Soldiers wore a sardonyx with a figure of Mercury carved on it to give them courage in battle
Associated with the Moon and the element of water. Sacred stone of all lunar gods and goddesses. Used in amulets to bring protection, love, money, and peace.
The strength of the Earth and peace. Associated with the planets Mercury and Earth.
Strengthens the kidneys, increase sexual energy, helps with depression, and is mildly sedative. Will aid a person the come to terms with their physical body, their life, and their physical incarnation on Earth.
Stones with naturally occurring holes
Protection, Mother Goddesses, the womb of the goddess, opening, and conception. Looking through a holey stone is said to improve your eyesight. Also known as Holey Stones, Hag stones, Odin Stones, Holy Stones, Wish Stones, Nightmare Stones, Witch Riding Stones, Mare Stanes, Ephialtes Stones, Faery Stones, Eye Stones, Pledge Stones and Goddess Stones. Holey stones were worn on natural cords for luck, and protection from illness and the evil eye. At one time holey stones were used for healing and to make healing water.
- British: These stones were tied to bedposts with red ribbons to keep away nightmares.
- Middle Eastern: Holey stones are tied around a camel’s neck to protect them and their rider from evil spirits and the evil eye.
- Nordic: Odin changed himself into a worm and slipped through the hole of a stone to steal the mead of poetry, so some call these stones Odin stones.
In prehistoric times, tektites were considered religious objects by some people, magical by others and omens of evil by yet others.
- Australian Aborigine: Known as “sky charms”.
Tiger’s Eye or Cat’s Eye
Courage, luck, wealth, and long life. Ruled by the Sun, associated with the planet Mars and the element of fire. Used as an amulet for courage, strength, and protection. In the past people who wore tiger’s eye were feared because it was thought they could see everything, even through walls and behind closed doors. Worn to increase beauty and promote youthfulness.
Used to heal eye diseases, the spleen, digestive system, and pancreas. Soothes the emotions and clears the mind.
Blue tiger’s eye (hawk’s eye) brings peace.
- Egyptian: Sacred to Bats, the cat goddess. The ancient Egyptians used them as eyes in the statues of their gods to symbolize of divine wisdom.
- Roman: Soldiers wore them for protection.
Associated with the planet Jupiter and the element of air. Used in amulets to bring luck and money, and aid in divination.
Love, courage, transformation, and beauty. Associated with the Sun and the planet Mercury, and the element of fire. Worn as an amulet to protect from disease, envy, injury, sorcery ,and lunacy. Thought to be especially effective when set in gold and bound to the left arm. When placed in the home, it is a charm against fire and accidents. Known as “lover of gold,” topaz was used to bring wealth and money. A stone of trust, protection, and strength.
Relieves anger, fear, depression. insomnia, and tension headaches. Helps prevent colds and strengthens the lungs. Stimulates the intellect and is a good stone for artists, writers, and scientists,
- Egyptian: The Egyptians believed topaz got its golden color from Ra, the mighty Sun god, and considered it a powerful protective amulet.
- Greek: The ancient Greeks believed topaz had the power to make the wearer invisible and give them super-human strength.
- Roman: Friendship. Sacred to Jupiter.
The sky, friendship, protection, and love. Associated with the planets Venus and Neptune, and the element of earth. In many cultures, the stone is regarded as a messenger of good fortune, success, love, and health. Because it often changes color from blue to green, turquoise was thought to predict the weather and illness, warn of poison, if given as a token of love it will fade if the recipient’s love fades. Some believe that only blue turquoise has magical powers. Since the fourteenth century, the harnesses of horses have been decorated with turquoise to protect the animal and the rider from falls and other injury. Worn as an amulet for protection, strength, healing, courage, love, beauty, and peace. Turquoise connects the Earth and sky.
Strengthens the lungs, circulation, blood, nervous system, and helps regenerate tissue. Protects against traumatic injuries, Healers should wear this stone because it will increase their power. Enhances creativity, meditation, communication, and gives peace of mind.
- Apache: Believed it helped hunters and warriors aim accurately.
- Asian: Used as protection against the evil eye.
- European: Turquoise rings are given as forget-me-not gifts.
- Hindu: Turquoise is worn on the little finger to bring wealth and success.
- Native American: Turquoise is the main sacred stone of many Native American tribes. Turquoise brings together the spirits of the sky
and the sea, which gives it it’s many powers. Some myths say the most powerful turquoise is found in the ground at the end of the rainbow.
- Mexican: Turquoise was the stone of the gods and people were not allowed to wear it.
- Navajo: The Navajo believed that if a person cast turquoise into a river and prayed to the gods for rain, the rain would come. Turquoise carvings of horses and sheep are kept by the Navajo as powerful guardians against evil spirits.
- Pueblo: As an offering to the gods, they buried pieces under the floors of their newly built homes.
Intuition, truth, stability, and righteousness. Known in ancient times as hyacinth or jacinth. Long considered a powerful stone of protection, used to keep away the devil and protect against poison, and farmer’s used it to ensure a good harvest and guard against lightning.
Used to cure insomnia, depression, cramps, wounds, and the heart.
White zircon has the same meanings and magical powers as diamond. Yellow zircon is used in love amulets. Orange zircon is a symbol of beauty and is used as an amulet to protect traveler’s. Brown zircon is a symbol of the Earth and an attribute of Earth gods and goddesses. Green zircon is used in amulets to bring wealth and good luck. Red zircon is used for protection and healing, and symbolizes wealth, strength, and courage.
An all around healer. Strengthens the mind, balances the pituitary gland, and aids bowel problems. Balances the emotions and helps with self-esteem.
- European: In the Middle Ages, zircon was a symbol of wisdom and honor and believed to bring prosperity to its owner.
- Hindu: Poets write of the Kalpa Tree, the precious gift of the gods, which was covered with fruit made of gems and had leaves of zircon.