This stone’s origin is related to the legend of a sultan nicknamed “Ben” who searched for the gates of the sand palace. Ben has been walking for days in the desert, under a blazing sun. Thirsty and exhausted, he ends up in the middle of a sandstorm that makes him lose consciousness. At that moment, something strange happens. The sandstorm opens to let a strange silhouette pass through, gently putting a water gourd near the sultan. After that, the storm carries away the silhouette again and disappears. After a while, the sultan finally wakes up and is surprised to find the small gourd next to him. Clumsily, he opens it and brings it close to his lips to drink its contents. To his great surprise, a few drops of water fall on the sand and form a strange shape on contact with it. Intrigued, the sultan picks up the small object and lets a few more drops of water fall on the sand. The same phenomenon happens again. Carrying the gourd and the two objects in his bag, the sultan resumes his journey. He does not lose sight of his first objective: Find the mysterious palace. After a few hours of walking, when he is exhausted again, Ben discovers a body of water and rushes towards it. A strange door that seems to rise up to the sky now stands before him. A silhouette that looks strangely like the one who gave him the gourd appears. As a sign of peace, Ben offers the strange rock to the silhouette.
“What do you call this object?”, the stranger asks.”
Ben thinks for a few minutes before answering :
““I present to you the rose of the sands !”
When he returned home, the legend has it that the sultan offered his daughter’s hand to the one who would bring him back the biggest and most beautiful sand rose.
Desert rose is an evaporitic rock whose shape evokes that of a rose. Some desert roses can reach very large dimensions and a weight of more than 100 kilos. The stone is shaped from a lenticular crystallization of soluble minerals, very often operated in soft grounds such as sand or clay. This explains why it is mainly found in the desert, particularly in Mexico, Tunisia and Qatar. The main mineral composing this stone is gypsum. But other minerals such as baryte can also be part of its composition.
This stone is born from the evaporation of water and crystallizes underground. Gypsum, in its liquid state, is contained in a groundwater. A groundwater is a source of water buried under the earth or sand. Heat will cause these pockets of water to evaporate, and this phenomenon results in the formation of desert roses: when the gypsum crystallizes. To understand how this crystallization works, here is a very simple example. When you leave water and salt in a container on a sunny windowsill or on a very hot radiator, the water evaporates. Once it has completely evaporated, only salt crystals remain in the container. Gypsum reacts in the same way as salt when exposed to heat. And for good reason, it has the same chemical composition as the former. The reason why these stones are found directly on the surface of the ground is that strong winds frequently sweep away the sand and manage to dig down to a metre deep where they are buried. However, these rocks do not stay visible for long because the wind damages them and they eventually return to the state of sand.
Psychologically, this stone has multiple properties. Considered as a stone for meditation and well-being, it is one of the stones associated with the third eye chakra. It therefore has the ability to promote telepathy and the gift of clairvoyance. It can bring a restful sleep to anyone who puts it near his/her bed. Similarly, it helps to develop open-mindedness and, by extension, a better understanding of others. It will be useful to calm panic attacks and everyday anxieties. Indeed, this stone is reputed to bring emotional stability and thus strengthen confidence and self-esteem.
It is the ideal stone to fight against crises and fears. It is also widely used to relieve pain in the spine. It is also beneficial in case of important weight loss or childbirth because it helps to tighten sagging skin. It is recommended to help strengthen growing children’s bone. Finally, it also has the ability to regulate the body’s water content, which makes it very useful for balancing the bladder and prostate.
Moreover, it stimulates the brain and memory, which makes it very useful during exam periods, for example.
Today, this stone is an integral part of popular culture, especially for people living in desert countries such as Qatar. That is why the French architect, Jean Nouvel, who in 2011 has been entrusted with the creation of the country’s national museum, chose to build it in the shape of a sand rose. “A somewhat unusual project, technically speaking” the architect admitted, referring to this futuristic 52,000 square metre museum with its entrance composed of 114 fountains and 1.5 kilometres of art galleries, retracing the history of Qatar.