Where do crystal singing bowls come from?
In the late 1980s, a new instrument with an angelic sound was introduced to the New Age community. This instrument is called a crystal singing bowl.
Crystal singing bowls are also known as "Quartz Crucibles", and were created in the solar industry.
The crystal bowls are used in most sound baths and sound healing sessions. They are very popular but not many sound therapy practitioners know how these bowls are made and what are the specifics of the crystal singing bowl's timbre.
In this article, I'd like to share some information about the origins of crystal singing bowls, their manufacturing process, as well as, what are the different kinds of crystal singing bowls.
This article will also clarify some myths surrounding quartz crystal singing bowls. While many myths are harmless and can even be helpful to learn about the subject, some have created an environment that is confusing and even dangerous for quartz singing bowls. These instruments can provide powerful effects when used properly during sound therapy sessions. It is important to know what they are, understand and respect their potential.
How crystal singing bowls are made?
Quartz (crystal) singing bowls are often thought to be made from crushed precious crystals. Quartz crystal bowls are actually made from silica, which is naturally occurring broken down quartz. Silica sand is basically the result of erosion-water, wind and so on. Crystal bowls are made from silica sand that is been fused at high temperatures. Since the silica sand comes as small particles, there is no need to crush large quartz crystals during the manufacturing process. Silica sand, while not rare or valuable, is very common and readily available. However, it has remarkable properties that make it suitable for crystal singing bowls.
Silica sand (high purity quartz powder), is heated to its melting temperature of 4000 degrees Celsius. It then is being formed into the shape of a bowl. During the manufacturing process of crystal singing bowls, most of the physical properties of the raw quartz (such as piezoelectricity) are being lost.
Because all glass manufacturing begins with silica, the correct name for crystal singing bowls would be "glass singing bowls".
The first quartz crucibles were used by the silicon industry in the '80s to produce single crystal ingots from silicon metalloids. These ingots could then be used to make high-quality computer chips.
Quartz crucibles (the prototype of crystal singing bowls) are bowl-like vessels used in a laboratory setting. They were not intended to be used as musical instruments and their sound was not a concern of the quartz crucible manufacturers. Fused quartz glass is the only material that can provide the temperature stability and other properties necessary for the production of single crystal ingots.
These crucibles (bowls) have found a new purpose! When struck or "sung", they produce a resonant sound.
The majority of silica sand comes from China, and the majority of singing bowls are made in China.
Quartz singing bowls made in the USA
Some sellers sell singing bowls marketing them as made from "American" quartz. The source of silica is not important in determining the bowl's sound. When comparing the sound quality of crystal singing bowls, it doesn't matter if the silica was imported from China, South America, or India. All bowls will have the same sound characteristics regardless of the source of silica sand as long as they are formed in identical geometrical shapes.
Crystal singing bowls sellers who claim that their quartz is American are largely relying on information obtained from factories in other countries to market the bowls to the United States wholesale market. In an effort to differentiate their bowls, some makers go to great lengths to claim that they are "American". It would be difficult to determine the source of quartz used to make any specific quartz singing bowl since quartz is simply quartz. However, this does not mean that every bowl sounds the same. Some manufacturers can make bowls with longer resonance and the appearance of beautiful overtones. These properties are not related to the source of quartz.
Other times, "American Quartz" claims may be paired with claims that the singing bowls were made in the U.S.A. It is possible to make a bowl here (the United States has fusion quartz product manufacturers), but sellers who claim this are not able to provide any proof of such an event. You would expect photos of these American factories and additional information about their locations.
Sellers advertising their products as "Made In the U.S.A." view this as an excuse to charge high prices for bowls. On the other hand, sellers may try to conceal the country of origin and make no claims about where the bowls were made. The United States law requires that imported products bear the country of origin label. However, almost all sellers in the United States are unwilling to comply with this law. The advice is that you assume every quartz singing bowl is made in China, even those that state "Made In U.S.A .". It doesn't matter where the bowl was made. Look at the claims that a product was "made in America" with a grain of salt and consider to be focused on quality indicators.
Frosted crystal singing bowls
There are a few types of quartz crystal singing bowls on the market. The "frosted" singing bowls are the most popular. These bowls are the loudest, the thickest, and largest of all quartz singing bowls. Some large and thick frosted crystal bowls, produce sound with a very long sustain.
Frosted singing bowls are also the most affordable. Full sets of seven bowls (the so-called chakra singing bowls sets) can be purchased for as low as $800-$2,500.
Clear Quartz Singing Bowls
Clear quartz singing bowls are a step up from frosted quartz singing bowls, although they are less voluminous but have clearer tones. Clear crystal singing bowls are generally smaller and more delicate in construction. Clear bowls are preferred by professionals and sound therapists who appreciate their clear tones and know how to use them properly.
Clear quartz singing bowl sets matched from 7 bowls (diatonic set) cost over $5,000 and can be purchased as full chakra sets. Quality clear quartz singing bowls can be purchased individually for $300-$4000, depending on their size and note-octave accordingly.
Next, there is the myth of the "Chakra sets," which are usually 7 bowls in the key of C Major. They assign the notes to the seven major Chakras, using the C note bowl for root (Muladhara), and working up from there. This system makes it easy to use, but it doesn't appear to be true, it is just a marketing strategy.
It is unlikely that the Eastern systems of chakra understanding used the same tempered scales as western systems. This makes it almost impossible (or even impossible) for these systems to have included a C-Major scale with chakras.
These notes can be used to help with chakras where the intention is set by both: the recipient and the practitioner. Practitioners should not focus on certain notes as the only way to do work.
The myth about the correlation of notes to chakras is not always the best one to make the sale. Some sellers advertise specific frequencies saying they can be used for healing specific glands or organs. These so-called glandular tunes have no historical foundation.
We are unable to evaluate the claims made with these types of bowls. While they may deliver what is promised, it is impossible to verify these claims. Perhaps it is the intention of the receiver that matters more than the actual experience. While bowls are still valuable for working with the body (including the subtle body), practitioners shouldn't feel restricted by the notion that one specific note will work the best.
Gemstone singing bowls (also known as "Alchemy" singing bowls)
Another innovation in the world of crystal singing bowls is the quartz sounding vessels infused with precious metals and gemstones. These bowls are sometimes called "alchemy" (because they combine gemstones, minerals, or metals with pure quartz). The brand CrystalTones coined "Alchemy singing bowls" as a trademark for their line of products, but the term Alchemy singing bowls is now being used to describe the bowls infused with minerals regardless of the maker. These are also known as fusion or gemstone bowls in the generic market.
There are two types of gemstone bowls available on the market. Some combine metals and minerals with clear quartz bowls, while others combine these metals and minerals with frosted quartz bowls. Their beauty and art-like nature are reflected in their pricing, with individual bowls costing anywhere from $600 to $2,000.
Crystal bowls are sold online, making it difficult for customers to hear the real sound of the bowl. Even though sound files can be downloaded online, it is difficult to get a real-life experience of how a singing bowl feels and what its energetic properties are.
Many people address the mystical properties of the mineral kingdom to the singing bowls made of glass. I have no comments on this. As long as the Ethos of sound are merciful, good intention and knowledge are present during the session, everything else is secondary.
Metal singing bowls vs glass singing bowls
Yes, indeed, crystal singing bowls sound good when in good hands, but no matter how you play these instruments, the range of overtones is not the same as in bowls made of metal.
Himalayan singing bowls are much more complex instruments than the crystal bowls.
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