Man’s fascination for crystals dates is so ancient that it is linked to the very evolutionary process of the creation of our consciousness. When the need to understand the world that surrounded it was born in the hominid brain, one of the first skills that had to be developed was being able to classify the objects that make up this world. The collections found at different sites prove that two types of objects attracted the attention of the Homo erectus brain: anthropomorphous stones and quartz crystals, the rock crystal.
|⇡ Quartz crystals like those collected by Homo erectus.⇠ Quartz crystals found at Singi Talav, India, an early Acheulean site. These crystals were collected by Homo erectus more than 390,000 years ago. The crystals were the first objects with no practical purpose that man collected and transported.|
Why did such primitive minds collect crystals?
It is difficult to shed light on the answer to this question. The neurological mechanisms that led to this choice are unknown and will probably remain so for some time. But we can guess that what appealed to them and their descendants is that crystals, particularly these quartz crystals, were completely unique objects in the natural world that surrounded them.
Imagine yourself in that world in which Homo erectus was still just another species yet to leave its mark on the planet. All the shapes and forms around him were dominated either by the curve or by ramification. By the geometry of nature. Trees, rivers, leaves, flowers, the sinuous forms of living beings, mountains, ravines… There were no straight lines, no edges, no polyhedrons…
Everything that you and Homo erectus could see around you would be complex, curved shapes. Everything, except crystals. These were the only objects with straight lines and plane faces; polyhedral solids, transparent or translucent that shone in the light of the sun with a brightness different to any other natural product.
Who could have created such singular, attractive and rare objects? Nobody saw them being born or growing like plants and animals, or the shapes coming out of the mud, nor did they or their fellow creatures make them. Thus crystals become not only attractive but also enigmatic and magical.
During the development of consciousness, it must have been inevitable to relate crystals to other natural phenomena where the straight line was important, like the rays of the sun, the falling of meteorites, etc., that contributed to increasing the role of crystals in the creation of magical thought.
One of the clearest pieces of evidence of the role that crystals played in the collective imagination of the magical meaning of power is the quartz crystal found inside the Alberite dolmen (Cádiz, Spain). These quartz crystals do not exist near Alberite. Around six thousand years ago, humans transported it from the Sierra of Madrid (500 km) or from Galicia (800 km) to be finally used in a burial site.
Ceramic replica of the breastplate of the Jewish high priest Aaron, brother of Moses, (estimated eighteenth century BCE). Each of the twelve stones is inscribed with the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel.
This fascination for the geometric uniqueness of crystals has accompanied and intrigued us throughout history. This exhibition aims to reveal the world of crystals, taking you on a journey from magic and superstition through to science and rational thought.