A charmstone is a mineral specimen that certain people believe has healing, mystical or paranormal powers. This belief has been part of several indigenous cultures for centuries, e.g., cintamani. The mineral specimen may either be
naturally occurring or honed from
a natural stone; in some cases, the specimen may be entirely manufactured as in the case of certain Mayan pottery finds. For example, the Miwok and Pomo tribes of Northern California have left thousands of charmstones in the bed of Tolay Lake in Sonoma County.
Charmstones are evidenced by the Shalagram and lingam in the Hindu tradition and by maban in the indigenous Australian tradition. Jigme Lingpa in the Vajrayana tradition wrote a treatise on charmestone usage which Namkhai Norbu mentions.
Charmstones were used in prehistoric Native American cermonies for broader spiritual purposes including securing of productive harvests.
Today it is becoming popular among certain countercultures within Western society such as the new age movement, but is regarded as baseless by scientists and medical professionals.
Some crystal healers claim that each living organism has a "vibrational energy system," which includes chakras, electromagnetic fields around the body known as auras, subtle bodies and meridians. By using the appropriate crystals one can allegedly "tune" an energy system or rebalance energies, thus improving well-being due to the vibrations produced by the crystals, according to color, chemical composition, atomic structure and overall physical form. Using the vibrations of the crystals a trained practitioner can allegedly move, absorb, focus, direct and diffuse energy within the body, using the structure of the crystal for the body to emulate. Crystal healing also allegedly gives the body a chance to relax, which may aid in the body’s natural abilities of the immune system.
The earliest records of crystal healing come from ancient Egypt. The Ebers papyrus states the medicinal uses of many different gems. Healing with crystals is also recorded in India's Ayurvedic records and in traditional Chinese medicine from around five thousand years ago. Several shamanistic cultures practice crystal healing, including the Inuit of Canada, which was adopted by New Age healers.
Various fictional works have used crystals as a focal point for magical spells; an idea probably founded on scrying-gems such as John Dee's shew stone. This, and similar, was used by magicians, fortune-tellers, etc. for one of two purposes; to co-ordinate the visionary power or to misdirect the attention of the customer.