How to incorporate the gem-based wellness trend into your retail jewelry business
Gemstones, crystals, and other minerals are—no pun intended—a bedrock of the jewelry business. And now that crystals are firmly in the zeitgeist, they have the potential to become a powerful sales tool for independent jewelers.
Surging interest in crystals and complementary therapies such as yoga, aromatherapy, and sound baths gives jewelry retailers the chance to bring in new shoppers, expand their merchandise mix, and grow their value proposition for customers. “It’s definitely a hot-ticket item right now,” says Jen Cullen Williams, managing director of the public relations firm Luxury Brand Group.
“I don’t really see any barriers for the gem industry,” agrees Colleen McCann, owner of the energy-work company Style Rituals and author of Crystal Rx. “What I do see is an opportunity to speak about gems in a way that can benefit their business.”
Los Angeles–based jewelry designer Jacquie Aiche has been working with crystals and nontraditional gemstones for years. “The market has caught on, and everybody’s using crystals,” she says. “Traditional jewelry stores are always looking for something new, and they want what the consumer wants. You see more people turned on by it, and that’s what builds the curiosity.”
Proponents of holistic medicine and crystal healing say these stones contain properties that can help people become calm, focused, energized, loving, and even prosperous. “People are often subconsciously drawn to the colors and stones that bring balance and harmony in their lives,” says Zoë Taylor-Crane, owner of Paper Crane Apothecary, a gem and crystal aromatherapy product line.
“People are very open to learning more about what crystals might be able to do—trying to find ways to enhance their lives that may be different from what they’ve experienced before,” says Anjanette Dienne Sinesio, owner of Gem-Water. Her company distributes water bottles, wands, and decanters, manufactured by VitaJuwel, that incorporate gemstones and crystals.
Sinesio says interest in crystals crosses generations: Baby boomers who learned about crystals in the ’60s or ’70s are lining up alongside millennials seeking something more distinctive than a traditional jewelry retailer might offer. In addition, beauty treatments such as jade facial rollers and mineral makeup are opening the door to a wider acceptance and use of materials recovered from the earth.
“The simplistic nature of a stone that in itself carries no dogma can be a really beautiful piece,” says Andi Scarbrough, owner of CrownWorks, which offers crystal- and gemstone-based hair salon services and products such as the CrystalComb.
If you’re not sure where or how to get started, Scarbrough and other experts offer a few suggestions for how to tap into this trend.
Stage Events & Activities
Williams recommends “a wellness month, a pop-up event, or a temporary installation.” If you have the space, hold complementary activities like a yoga class or a crystal-centric seminar (“it’s a fresh way to drive people into the store”). Aiche hosts yoga classes and other events at her showroom. “We also do sound baths with gemstones and copper bowls and have crystals all around,” says the designer, who in March ventured beyond the jewelry space with a line of personal care products—think rosewater facial mists, room sprays, and incense, all infused with crystals such as rose quartz and amethyst. “It promotes well-being and makes people happy.”
Use Point-of-Sale Materials
When it comes to crystals and wellness, “people are becoming more and more educated,” McCann says. When you or your staff members deliver on this hunger for information on the theories behind crystals, those conversations can turn browsers into buyers.
From her previous career in fashion activewear, McCann learned that all kinds of products benefit from explanation, whether that takes the form of a hangtag on a pair of yoga pants or a table tent explaining the properties of a particular crystal. “When you’re at the point of sale,” she says, “give [shoppers] information about those energetic properties.”
If you’re selling complementary wellness products such as crystal-infused water bottles, quartz beauty accessories, or essential oils, small signs explaining how these products are believed to work together to foster, say, focus or relaxation, can go a long way toward engaging your curious customer base. “The education piece is huge, whether it’s in your point-of-sale or merchandising setup,” Scarbrough says.
Show Them Off
“Having a dedicated display for stones that evoke feelings of love or wealth could really tell a story, along with a history of the stone itself,” Scarbrough says. “You start to foster the feeling of a relationship with the stone.” For example, rose quartz is said to promote feelings of love, toward oneself and others, so you could put a handful of tumbled rose quartz crystals in a small bowl accompanied by a tent card with words like love, compassion, and reflection.
“It would actually be great to have versions of the raw stones or tumbled stones around the display case,” says Taylor-Crane.
“I love to merchandise the gemstones and the minerals in with the pieces [customers] are already accustomed to,” Aiche says. You can use stones in the same color family for a more seamless look. “I will layer, say, a moonstone in with diamonds and gold.”
Since advocates say simply touching crystals can help people feel more harmonized, give customers a chance to physically connect with stones: Leave loose crystals out on a table or grouped into a small container that people can pick up, hold up to the light, and rub between their fingers. “Everybody wants to touch,” Aiche says. “They want to feel the crystal, and that’s really important.”
Displaying non-jewelry merchandise featuring gem crystals can also kick-start customer interest. “Having the water bottle by your desk extends that love of the natural stones and what they’re able to do,” says Sinesio, broadening the opportunity for sales. Someone shopping for a housewarming gift isn’t going to buy the hostess a garnet ring, but she might pick up an eye-catching decanter adorned with tumbled garnet or other gems.
And you don’t need to speak the language of a New Age guru. “You don’t want to hit somebody with a tidal wave of the woo-woo talk,” McCann says. “If you’re teaching people a quick palatable lesson in how to tap into their ‘Spidey senses,’ tell them many people can feel energy in their hands, and invite them to pick up a crystal that calls to them. People love that experience because it really helps them to interact with the stones.”
“The fundamental thing is to start with why I love this particular piece,” Scarbrough says. “It doesn’t have to be an overly metaphysical explanation. As oversaturated as we are with information, just having personal points of connection is so important. Intimacy is the new currency.”
Top: 14k rose gold 4-row pavé diamond aqua aura crystal necklace; $4,750; Jacquie Aiche; 310-550-7529, ext. 101; jacquieaiche.com