In general, selenite is one of safer crystals to have around and handle. But this does not mean that it is 100% safe and never toxic. In this article, we’ll teach you want you need to know about selenite and to avoid any toxic effects from the material.
Introduction: Avoiding Injury Is All About Knowing Your Selenite
Minerals and crystals are often used for intellectual stimulation, for beauty, and for health. But for the beginner, there is danger is using these natural materials without understanding their properties.
In some cases, you can make yourself or someone else very sick, thus it is worth it to investigate each and every material before you put it to use on your behalf.
What is Selenite?
In most cases, people are handling the crystal variety of selenite (like the satin spar, desert rose or gypsum flower). Each of these varieties is a form of gypsum, which is composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate.
Gypsum is a widely used material, a component of many common industrial products like fertilizer, plaster, chalk, and drywall.
It is an additive in tofu (which also happens to dramatically increase the calcium content), beer brewing, mead production, and in baking.
Gypsum has also been used to remove pollutants such as lead and arsenic from contaminated waters.
In its crystal form, selenite forms some of the largest crystals found in nature. The material is often transparent or lightly colored.
Is Selenite (Calcium Sulfate) the same as Sodium Selenite (the ion)?
No, it is not the same material.
But given the names, it is fairly common for people to mistake one for the other.
While it does appear in crystal form, Sodium Selenite is as inorganic form of the element selenium. This is a critical difference.
The selenite crystals that people are used to purchasing off the internet and handling are actually the gypsum variety, which does not actually contain any selenium despite it’s name.
Sodium selenite is classified as a hazardous substance, which you should not breathe in or ingest. It can cause short term effects such as irritation and burning of the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Long term effects could include damage to a developing fetus, the reproductive organs, and damage to the liver/kidneys.
Sodium selenite is not something you want to mess with. But in general, the crystals available on the market to purchase are going to be composed of calcium sulfate and not sodium selenite.
Understanding that there is a difference between the two materials is important, especially if you are interested in finding creative ways to incorporate selenium into your diet or for health reasons.
If you are trying to get “selenium” into your body, you won’t have a chance of getting “selenium” when you are handling the selenite composed of calcium sulfate.
Have a care when purchasing selenite, and confirm the chemical composition of what you are purchasing.
Is Selenite Toxic or Not? Is Selenite Safe?
Again, the answer to this question presumes that you are talking about the calcium sulfate/gypsum form of selenite, and not the hazardous form composed of sodium selenite.
If we are talking sodium selenite, then the answer is no.
If we are talking calcium sulfate, the question of safety depends on what you intend to do with it.
In general, assuming that you are talking about the calcium sulfate version, selenite is thought to be non-toxic, despite the fact that it is used in many products that you wouldn’t want to eat, drink, or breathe in.
That being said, it is recommended that people do not breath in powdered selenite, created perhaps while working with it (cutting or polishing it).
It is also recommended that you avoid getting the raw material in your eyes or mucous membranes. This is true in general for the powdered form of almost all stones/materials/crystals/gems.
Selenite is water soluble. That selenite dissolves in water is a characteristic many people discover accidentally while trying to bathe with their crystals.
In those cases, most people don’t report any significant immediate short term impacts of getting selenite dissolved in water on their skin, aside from perhaps smoother skin.
And since they tend not to bathe with their selenite again, there’s not much to report as to the long terms impacts of repeated bathing with their selenite.
The solubility issue also also discovered when first trying to clean or cleanse the crystal. See our Beginner’s Guide to Physically Cleaning Selenite.
Given that selenite does dissolve in water, we also recommend against putting the crystal into your drinking water. Some people like to make what is called “gem water” or “crystal infused water.”
The idea of this time of water is not to actually drink the materials, but instead to allow the materials to do their work to the water and be removed before you consume it.
Since we don’t have any data on consuming selenite dissolved in water, we certainly can’t recommend that you consume it dissolved in your drinking water.
You might also be interested in: Are Selenite Lamps Safe For Cats?
Safety Precautions When Handling Selenite
In general, as noted above, we recommended against breathing or consuming selenite. If you are grinding, cutting, or polishing the material, we recommend that you wear at least a mask to avoid inhaling the dust and goggles to keep the dust from your eyes.
There does not seem to be any need to wear gloves or to keep it from touching your skin while meditating or sleeping like some other raw materials (like malachite).
Keep selenite out of your water bottles. If you put selenite in your water bottle, you will definitely be drinking gypsum particles. Gypsum in its various forms in used in food, but there doesn’t seem to be any significant benefit to drinking it dissolved in water.
In cleaning/cleansing your selenite crystals, avoid placing the stone in any sort of water bath. This will definitely strip your stone of its sealant and may also damage the shiny finish, if the water doesn’t completely destroy the stone.
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