Is there really a difference between raw and tumbled stones? Is one truly better than the other? Can a crystal lose its energy, power, or effectiveness in the tumbling process? Should you only use one form?
Both Tumbled and Raw stones are effective healers and protectors. They each offer different energies however they are both positive & effective.
Tumbled crystals have been processed by hand or machine & Raw crystals have not. Of course, any time a person or machine has contact with a crystal it will alter the crystal’s energy. If you really think about it, as soon as a raw crystal is dug from the ground, or even touched by man, then that crystal's energy has been altered. All crystals and stones have energy and one is not going to suddenly go dormant, lose its energies, or stop working because it has been altered by man or machine.
Both raw and tumbled crystals will still work, so it truly is a matter of preference. So, to answer the question, is one better than the other? No, crystals do not lose any power, energy, or effectiveness no matter the form. It just depends on your sensitivity to the subtle energies of minerals and your personal preference for texture when working with them. You can use either type of stone for the same purposes.
My suggestion is that you see for yourself by getting a Tumbled and Natural form of the same crystal see if the energy feels different to you. Clear Quartz would be a good stone to try this with since both forms are cost effective. I believe that it is more important to work with the crystal that speaks to you rather than whether it is Natural or Tumbled.