I apologise if this is rather vague but I'm struggling with creating a concept that would allow a Victorian (steampunk) civilisation to have antigravity ships and floating islands through the use of a mined crystal resource. However I also want it to have other effects without making it seem too 'fictional' or contrived (which I realise may be difficult).
Essentially I don't mind it being magic-esque and don't want to get TOO bogged-down with scientific analysis in the story but I do want it to be believable and not just "it can do anything because it's magic". My story has engineers etc that study it and are unlocking its effects.
The civilisation is steam/clockwork based but this crystal allows their skyships to fly (antigravity) and allows Floating (static) Islands. I also want it to be able to create shields/forcefields that encompass skyships in a protective bubble. Later this tech usage can be personal (used to shield humans) and maybe allow them to fly with the crystal used in personal angelic-like wings.
I also want the crystal to be able to power things, for example provide 'clean' energy which the Elites keep repressed so as to continue making money off steam energy - a plot point.
My problem is I don't want it to seem as if the crystal can just do anything and lose some realism or suspension of disbelief. I also need ways for how these different effects are 'activated' and controlled / contained.
I had the idea that maybe if heat is applied to it, it activates its antigravity effects i.e. a small chunk of the crystal burning in a furnace makes the ship float, but the crystal isn't actually depleted but somehow its effects mixes with the steam produced to create antigravity effects / mingles with the steam produced. Obviously they don't have electricity or are just discovering it so perhaps a small electrical charge could be used or it could absorb / be activated by kinetic energy perhaps. Also seawater / salt concentrations could activate effects?
I'm looking into Aether effects too and Aether manipulation as possible reasoning.
Essentially I want the antagonists to want to weaponise this crystal into lasers / WMDs etc while the protaganists realise the 'good' potential of clean energy and removing the reliance on steam / pollution etc.
So I need to understand limitations and effects without making it seem too Deus Ex Machina if that makes sense. The crystal is usually inert when discovered (otherwise it would be perpetually floating in the atmosphere) but somehow makes ships float without the need for huge helium-ballons, can make Islands float, can be weaponised and also generate forcefields.
Any suggestions, limitations, rules etc would be much appreciated! Also other ideas for further effects would be appreciated but again it's not hyper-scientific or hyper-realistic but I would like it to seem logical and not overtly fantastic / impossible. In the future of the timeline it could be discovered that the crystal is actually type of dark matter, negative mass, anti-matter (obviously in my timeline such theories would be unknown) or from another dimension entirely, but the citizens in this timeline find this strange crystal and are uncovering its effects, both good and bad ushering in the age of skyships and skypirates etc.
EDIT: On Electricity: One idea was that small electric currents could activate certain effects, as Victorians did have some usage of electricity and basic dynamos etc. Maybe an electric charge could create some forcefield out of plasma/Aether/'energy' around skyships and protective energy barriers? Meanwhile heating the crystal 'activates' it's anti-gravity effects?