The staurolite crystal, better known as the Fairy Cross, is a natural phenomenon found in only a few places in the world. Fannin County in North Georgia just happens to be one of those places! In fact, we have some of the finest specimens available.
No one really knows when, where or how the mysterious fairy crosses came to be. There are many myths and legends. Even scientists cannot agree on their origin. One scientific theory estimates that the rocks are anywhere from 60 to 500 million years old, formed when a meteorite broke apart while entering the earth’s atmosphere. Another group of scientists believe the crystals came from several miles within the earth, gradually being shifted and shoved closer to the surface over thousands of years in time. I find the myths and legends of the fairy crosses much more interesting. A popular Christian theory is that at the time of Christ’s crucifixion, the angels shed many tears that crystallized as they fell to earth. Those are called “Faith Crosses.” One legend states that the staurolite rocks are the tears of the native Cherokee Indians who wept over the loss of their homeland when they were forced to evacuate in the “Trail of Tears.” Another tale stems from an older legend concerning an ancient race of mountain fairies. It is said that long ago some good fairies were dancing around a spring when an elfin messenger brought news of the crucifixion of Christ and the fairies wept. As they cried, their tears fell to the ground, forming the little crosses of stone. Still another legend, as told by Nathaniel O. Smith in The Highlander, is eerily similar. He tells of a tribe of magical little people who lived down in the mountain lands of north Georgia who were celebrating all their gifts from God. They were dancing, singing and feasting near a deep pool in the woods when a spirit messenger appeared before them. The messenger said that the Son of God had died at the hands of men, being crucified on a cross. The little peoples’ hearts were filled with sadness and they cried and cried, pouring out all their magic. Their tears were turned into cross-shaped stones.
These mysterious little stones seem to do it all. They are considered good luck charms. Their average size is about an inch, making them easy to wear as jewelry or to carry around in a pocket. Staurolite is made of iron aluminum silicate crystals and the rare fairy crosses are actually two “twinned” crystals resembling a cross. Some people believe that they protect the wearer against withcraft, diseases and accidents. Some believe the crystals energize their sexual drive and bring wealth. The stones are associated with the Four Elements—Earth, Air, Fire and Water. They’re worn by those wanting to balance the Four Elements within. Legend has it that upon their first meeting, Pocahontas gave Captain John Smith a good luck charm necklace made of a fairy cross. Other famous people known to possess these cross shaped rocks are Thomas Edison, Charles Lindbergh and Teddy Roosevelt.
With the “supposed” powers of protection, elemental magic, money and health—can you afford to be without a fairy cross?? The next time you are visiting the North Georgia Mountains, why not take a hike and try to find one? There are three types to look for. The Maltese Cross is a well formed, perfectly even cross and the most difficult to find. The second is the St. Andrews Cross, with an angled line forming the cross. Third is the Prismatic Cross, the easiest and most commonly found. It’s less than perfect, but still a cross just the same. They are all an earthy brown color and if you’re lucky enough to find one, you’ll want to clean it up. You can soak it overnight in hot soapy water, or heat in water, with a little baking soda added, for about ten minutes. Remove the light colored schist (layer of covering) with a pocketknife or a small file. When clean, soak the crystal in mineral oil overnight to restore its luster and enhance its color. If you don’t want to go to all that trouble, fairy crosses can be purchased on-line or even better, in downtown Blue Ridge, Georgia.
According to Marci and Jack Dowdy of the Grey Eagle Museum, the staurolite crystals are still very important to the Cherokees today. They carry them always and sometimes pass them on to others who seek hope and want to change their lives for the better. Be it luck, superstition, depiction of the crucifixion or legendary belief, the staurolite crystal is a wonder of nature with a mysterious background.
May the charms of the Fairy Stone make you blessed
Through the days of labor and the nights of rest
Wherever you stay, wherever you go
May the beautiful flowers of the good fairies grow.
Come learn about all of the charms north Georgia has to offer! Come stay with us at Rainbow Cabins!