QUESTION: "Do crystals and stones just need to be near me? Should I be carrying them in my pocket? Where are you supposed to have the stones that are just loose for them to be effective metaphysically?"
MY ANSWER: Opinions vary about how close one needs to keep stones to absorb their metaphysical properties. Circumstances also vary widely and can effect the energy.
In most every day circumstances, wearing or carrying the crystals is best. Crystal energy spreads where ever one is, but in an energetically noisy place, it is not as easy to notice, and you have more things affecting you with their energy. Wearing or carrying them brings their vibrations closer to you.
In situations where there is less energetic "noise," such as inside your home, by your bedside, or in your sacred space, having the stones nearby can bring strong vibrations to you. In busier, more energetically hectic spaces, they can still be useful but their effect is likely to be more diffuse over the area.
Original January 2013 article based on my 2005 article.