You have probably heard of traditional metal singing bowls that are hand crafted in the Himalayas, but have you heard of singing bowls that are made of crystal?
Crystal singing bowls have a relatively short history compared to traditional metal singing bowls. The development of crystal singing bowls began in the 1980s and has since gained popularity as an alternative healing and meditation tool.
While both types of bowls are capable of producing beautiful and hypnotic sounds, there are some key differences between them that may make one more desirable than the other depending on your needs and preferences. Let's dive in.
The Making Process
Traditional metal singing bowls are made by hammering a metal sheet (usually consisting of 5 or 7 different type of metals) into a bowl shape with hammers of various sizes and shapes to carefully shape the metal. The sheet is heated to make it more malleable and easier to shape. This process requires precision and skill by the artisans to achieve the desired shape and thickness of the bowl. Once the bowl shape is achieved through hammering, the surface of the bowl is carefully smoothed and refined using various tools, such as files, sandpaper, or polishing stones.
Crystal singing bowls are made using a combination of quartz crystal powder and a special type of resin. The crystal and resin mixture is heated to a specific temperature, usually in a mold or using a kiln. The heat causes the resin to melt and bind the crystal particles together, creating a solid structure. Once the mixture has cooled and solidified, it is removed from the mold or kiln. At this stage, the rough shape of the bowl is formed. Skilled artisans then use various tools, such as saws, grinders, and polishing equipment, to refine the shape and create a smooth surface.
The Sound Produced
Metal singing bowls produce a tone that has a more complex and layered quality with a mix of fundamental tones and harmonic overtones. . It can range from deep and grounding to bright and shimmering, depending on the size, thickness and shape of the bowl. The vibrations created are usually powerful and penetrating, and this in turn, makes metal singing bowls a great tool for grounding and centering of the physical body.
Crystal singing bowls produce a tone that has a shimmering quality with a long sustain and rich harmonic overtones. The tone is usually clear, pure, and sounds like a bell. The vibrations produced are usually smooth and gentle, creating a calming and soothing effect. This in turn offers practitioners a sense of clarity, spaciousness and lighter mood.
Metal singing bowls are extremely durable and do not break or crack easily, unless exposed to immense pressure or extreme temperature. They can last a long time with proper care.
Crystal singing bowls are durable as well, especially if you opt for bowls made from pure quartz crystal or high-grade crystal. Thicker bowls are generally more robust and less prone to damage compared to thinner ones. Thicker crystal walls can withstand regular use and handling without compromising their structural integrity. However, crystal singing bowls do require careful handling to avoid accidental impacts or drops that can cause chips or fractures.
Appearance and Design
Metal singing bowls typically have a smooth and polished surface, showcasing the natural shine of the metal.The bowl may feature decorative elements such as engravings, etchings, or embossed patterns. These designs often depict traditional symbols, mantras, or sacred motifs, ie six-syllable mantra. They are, therefore, still seen as an instrument associated with Buddhism.
Crystal singing bowls tend to have a more pure and ethereal quality, while metal singing bowls offer a richer and more complex sonic experience. The choice between crystal and metal singing bowls often depends on personal preference and the intended purpose of use. Some individuals may resonate more with the crystalline tones of crystal singing bowls, while others may prefer the grounding and resonant qualities of metal singing bowls.