By Sara Karnish
Jewelry serves many purposes. It adds the perfect finishing touch to an outfit. It’s a form of self-expression. And as metaphysical/inspirational retailers explain, quite often it’s meaningful to the wearer.
Jewelry has always held special significance. Sandra Crigger, owner of Mystic Moon Metaphysical in Massillon, Ohio, said jewelry has been a symbol of power for centuries. “Whether you were a pharaoh in ancient Egypt or a Mom Boss in 2020, it’s a way to say, ‘I’m here and I’ve got this,’ ” she said. “Even in the Middle Ages, Christian priests always had an elaborate cross to show how well they were doing in their parish.” She added, “Surprisingly, pendulums and triple protection bracelets are selling really well. The triple protection bracelet beadwork is a combination of black obsidian, hematite, and tiger’s eye. It’s meant
to repel negativity. With the pendulum necklace, it’s a good way to get a quick ‘yes or no’ answer—‘Should I take the promotion?’, ‘Should I take this job?’ You can consult the pendulum. They’re so popular because people are, in a nutshell, trying to be their best selves as far as the triple protection bracelet. The pendulum comes in handy with not only the stone for what you are trying to achieve, but for the comfort of knowing which way to go. Instead of hoping you made the right decision, ask the pendulum what you should do. It’s a conduit to your universal powers. Sometimes you have to ask the universe for a little bit of extra aid.”
Bree Crane, owner of Bree’s Way Gift Shop in Eugene, Ore., said jewelry is so popular in the inspirational and metaphysical space because “People can wear the energy of that stone, rather than carry the stone in their pocket and try to find a way to carry it [the energy] with them. Jewelry is something people can put on quickly and have that energy with them. And it’s pretty and looks good!” Her best-sellers are gemstone pendants and gemstone sterling silver rings. “I just have a whole showcase of rings in a glass display case. Each tray holds 72 rings. I think we have five shelves of them. Probably 17-18 trays of 72 rings. We also have a wall of $10-$18 pendants which is about 16 feet by 4 feet. I also carry sterling silver pendants but they’re not that big of a seller. People will spend more on the ring rather than the pendant. That might just be my demographic. My store is in a college town – students will drop $60-$80 on a ring but not a pendant,” she explained.
Purchasing jewelry can be a deeply personal decision, and when the buyer finds just the right piece, they want to show it off. “People connect with it,” said Don Lea, owner of Dancing Moon Books and Gifts in Raleigh, N.C. “I truly love how more and more people are expressing themselves more openly in a lot of ways. With the jewelry, they can put something forward that’s their own. It’s a conversation piece—I’m noticing how many more introverts are wearing jewelry that stands out. It helps them come out of their shell.” Nanci Hummer, owner of The Loving Piece in Easton, Pa., always has a customer hold the piece of jewelry they are interested in. “If it’s more of an energetic piece, I tell the customer, ‘Hold it, try it on. See how it feels energetically for you,’” she explained. “Because it is an expression of oneself, it’s so important to connect with it on mental, spiritual, and emotional levels. A person really needs to be drawn to it. My top sellers are energy beads—different crystals, lapis, rose quartz. That seems to be what everyone is coming in for. Different stones have different types of energy—black tourmaline for protection, rose quartz for love, et cetera.”
According to retailers, customers are looking for stones with positive energy and strong protective elements, likely the result of the anxiety and uncertainty of the last two years. “A lot of people will be going for the abundance stone, pyrite, citrine. People are trying to recuperate from the insanity of the pandemic. Labradorite and amethyst for grounding energy. People are trying to clear out the mental clutter,” Crigger said.
Hummer said mood rings are one trend that has made a comeback in the last six to eight months. “Everything cycles back if you hold onto it long enough,” she said. “The initial mood rings weren’t as good as the ones out now. They actually work.” Crane said there is still strong interest in moldovite—“it came from a meteor hitting Czechoslovakia. There’s only so much of it. Now there are lots of fakes out there—it’s hard to find genuine. Customers like to be able to come into the store and see the real thing. We sell it by the gram. Little pieces are $75. Some of the pendants are over $200. A lot of people will come in and buy a little piece, then buy a little ‘cage’ you can put the stones in and hang it from a necklace,” she explained.
Like all retail, merchandising is important for catching customers’ attention. Inspirational/metaphysical retailers say educating the customer about stones and their various properties is perhaps even more essential than making it look attractive. “We had an issue where we ran out of space on our wall where we display the beaded bracelets with little cards showing their properties. We put them on a long tube where they were sideways. It was a big hassle to display them. We reorganized them where they were more visible and people could see their properties, and they sold much better,” Crane said. “If the person sees [a label saying explaining] ‘relieves stress’ or ‘sleep aid’—have everything front facing and labeled with the properties, that makes it much easier for people to find. It makes it easier for me, too.” A little bit of fearlessness can go a long way, according to Crigger. “Display is key. Don’t make it too cluttered, but don’t have it bare. You want to have something so unique people will stop and say, ‘Wait, what?’ Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Try new things—even if you think it’s totally insane, someone out there will go for it. [For displays] don’t be afraid of being unique. I do have some traditional display racks, but most of the things that move well have been [displayed] on my more unique pieces.”
Hummer likes to use repurposed items like furniture to display merchandise. “I never studied merchandising—it has always truly come naturally to me. If I’m driving down a road and see an old ladder, I think, ‘I can work with that.’ My jewelry is displayed on an old ladder. When people walk in here, they don’t get a ‘cold’ feeling with silver metal display racks. There’s a warm feeling—there’s a lot of wood in here. There’s wooden shelves, a lot of things hanging from the ceiling,” she said. “When they walk in, the marketing is the experience. They want to take home what they feel. They want to take home how that looks. The jewelry is towards the front of the store. When people don’t feel compelled to ask to see something, they shop more. They’ll take their time, look at the ladder, look at the different merchandise. Sometimes it seems like they rush through it or don’t want to ask—they do anyway.” ❖