These Himalayan crystals are found at very high altitudes, usually relatively close to the surface, which is why it's possible to use only hand tools for extraction.
The lifespan and formative history of a quartz crystal can be difficult to gauge. The Himalayas are considered a “young” mountain range but these crystals form in pockets deep beneath the surface and remain contained while slowly rising upward with the formation of the mountains.
The crystal "pockets" were previously far below sea level and now arrive at nearly 5000 meters altitude. This process takes millions of years! Consider that the Himalayas formed over approximately 50 million years and the Himalayan tectonic land plate is currently shifting at an average of 1-2 cm per year.
The miracle is that on their journey to the surface they remained relatively untouched and intact in nature. The matrix where they form is enclosed in an pocket/fissure of extremely hot liquid matrix, but by the time they are unearthed, this liquid matrix is no longer an active part of the cavern and only clay and other iron-relative minerals are left surrounding the crystals. Many quartz crystals are still attached to a larger “cluster” or family of stones, the environment looks much like a giant muddy “geode”. Often the points are facing downward or to the side and they must be wiggled free from the clay.
Many Himalayan quartz crystals are still attached the matrix or are independent "floater crystals" with complete body and no point of attachment to the matrix. Other crystals have already broken free from the matrix when found. This is due to the earth's tectonic movement: earthquakes!
Because of the constant shifting and movement of the Earth and the long slow process of mountain building/moving, it is a fact of nature that were these crystals not found by the hand of man, they would be pushed out. Like the petals of a flower gone to seed, they would one day tumble down that mountain and make the long journey by foothills, and river to return to the sands of the sea and start the whole process over again. It is a magical moment to rescue them, so close to the surface and complete in their perfected form.
The Himalayas of India are lively and birthplace of many gifts of wisdom and treasure. In fact, the entirety of the Himalayas, spanning many countries has proven to be very active and therefore abundant in her offerings.
Left and Right-hand activation crystals can be recognized by the presence of an additional face, similar to a time-link or window crystal. In the case of the right/left hand activation crystal, these faces are referred to as x-faces and are a less common crystal facet that appears in the upper left or right corner of the long, m-faces or “sides “of some quartz crystals.
Dauphine twins and Brazil Law twins can also be recognized by presence and positioning of this rare quartz face.
For the esoterically minded, the x-face denotes either right or left-handed activation in a crystal. Some also maintain that the crystal is either masculine or feminine in polarity, according to the placement of the x-faces.
When attempting to understand how or why a crystal should be right or left-handed in nature, it may help to envision the quartz formation from a molecular perspective. The term right or left-handed refers to the directional growth of the quartz crystal, and would be more correctly stated not as "left or right-handed" per se, but rather as the growth of the crystal tending in either a clockwise or counter-clockwise spiral. During the formative process of macromosaic quartz, as elements swirl in the hot liquid matrix and silica dioxide (quartz) is created, it forms simple units known as “crystallites”.
In the bonding of these units the molecules will begin to move in one of two directions as they form. Envision, if you will, the molecular structuring of the quartz proceeding in a spiral, as particle upon particle is transferred and crystallization takes place. In this way we can begin to fathom the directional tendency of its formation and hence, its energetic signature as either left or right, clockwise or counterclockwise, masculine or feminine. This aspect of polarity exists in all quartz crystals as the original string of crystallites will form along the crystals c-axis and will always tend to spiral in either one direction or the other. Indication of polarity can be very useful in determining the application of the crystal in healing practice.
Through contemplation of these spiraling polar opposites one may obtain a clear picture of the function of the right or left-handed activation crystal. To say that left is feminine and right masculine is a simplistic way to begin this contemplation though the concept of actual gender or sex can also tend to be misleading.
It is rare to find clear signs of left or right handedness on the surface of the crystals and these signatures are often sought after by collectors of unusual quartz or rare formations.
We may also make use of right or left-handed quartz crystals in healing practice, invoking archetypal powers of one of countless specific aspects of either masculinity or femininity and applying this vibrational frequency to balance any discordant vibrations in ourselves or our surroundings.
Many quartz crystals have visible areas of previous contact with other crystals. Because the other individual crystals in the family grew so close, and the crystals were not on a parallel growth path, the quartz formed in such a way as to compensate for the other's presence in the ordering of molecules.
It may help to picture the way that a tree growing right next to a chain-link fence will, in time, envelope parts of the fence as it grows. In resting one’s finger or thumb on the contact impression of a quartz crystal one may note that the digit enters below the “surface barrier” of the crystal rather than merely resting on the flat face of the stone.
This point of contact is an ideal way to enter and exchange with the vibrational frequency of the quartz crystal in a way with which it was formerly accustomed. The crystal actually compensated in molecular structuring and formed specifically in order to have an exterior member present in that area.