When designers Jeremiah Brent and Nate Berkus were planning their wedding in 2014, they decided against big, dramatic floral arrangements that'd be great for photos—and wilted beyond recognition within 24 hours. The more they thought about it, the more they were drawn to something natural that'd have just as much of a visual impact, but would last for years to come; an unconventional keepsake to commemorate their commitment. They chose rough edged, white selenite—a crystal often associated with lightness and tranquility.
"Our idea was that we'd take them into our homes, and they'd travel with us everywhere," Jeremiah says. "I really like the story and the energy, and the experience of them."
Nate and Jeremiah aren't the only ones. Google searches for "crystals" and "healing crystals," specifically, have slowly climbed over the past five years, hitting its peak in 2017—around the time several news outlets, including the New York Times, dropped big stories digging into the trend (often citing Gwyneth Paltrow's promotion of crystals on Goop and the high-end wellness movement as reasons behind its renewed popularity). Interest cooled a bit in 2018, and now it's back on the rise, as decorating with crystals becomes increasingly mainstream.
They're Becoming an Investment Piece.
Gwyneth may be a rainmaker in the aspirational space, but her influence is far from the only reason crystals have taken off. For all of their mystical affiliations—fans of healing crystals say the minerals give off or absorb certain energies—many decorators are looking at them from a pragmatic standpoint, "using crystals in lieu of fine art," says Heather Askinosie, co-founder of Energy Muse and author of the upcoming book, CRYSTAL365. Over the past few years, she's seen several types of crystals appreciate in value—some five times their worth—making them a smart investment to some homeowners.
"It's like buying a gemstone: What's the clarity? What's the grade of the stone? What's the cut?" Heather explains. Uruguayan Amethyst, for example, tends to fetch a higher price than Brazilian, because it's a deeper shade of purple.
Several designers who reach out to her are more interested in the aesthetics of a crystal than any of its purported benefits. "They're thinking, 'I could buy this artist's work, or I could buy a crystal that looks like art,'" she says, adding they often request something neutral to add a sculptural element to the room without sticking out too much. (For those people, she often suggests selenite or black tourmaline.)
They're Part of a Whole Lewk.
Crystals' mainstream resurgence in design shouldn't be that surprising, when you notice how interest in boho design has climbed over the past five years. It tends to ebb and flow, with interest spiking in the summer, retreating in early winter, but every year, it's climbed in interest. The minerals go hand-in-hand with the free-spirited look, and serve as a fresh alternative to bringing the outdoors in, beyond adding plants and wood tones.
Christina Anstead, star of HGTV's Flip or Flop and Christina on the Coast, displays them all over her house, including two towering amethysts she keeps next to her bed. It fits with the boho-modern farmhouse style she embraced in her new California home, but for the designer, that's less her trying to fit a look and more of a reflection of who she is. Christina's been into crystals since her neighbor used to bring over large geodes and crack them open for her.
"It was cool as a kid, because you never knew what they were going to look like on the inside," she says. "I’m sort of an anti-hoarder—constantly giving items away—but crystals have been the only thing I’ve ever collected and saved since childhood."
They'll Draw You In.
Of course, part of the mass appeal of crystals is a snowball effect: The more people hear about it, the more it moves from woo-woo to "whoa, what's all the buzz about?" Given that everyone from Kim Kardashian West to Marie Kondo have talked about displaying them in their homes (Kondo's spark joy from a tray on her bedside table, thank you very much), it's no wonder interest has transcended the New Age movement it's so often associated with.
And often, a casual interest in their look sparks a genuine fascination with the meanings behind the stones. Courtney Abbiati, co-founder of The Urban + The Mystic, has seen it time and time again.
"'There’s just something about this one,' we hear often. And then when they learn the meaning behind it—for instance—'This is rose quartz, the stone of unconditional love.' They’ll respond in turn, 'No wonder I’m drawn to it, I’ve been dating like crazy and would love to find a partner,'" she says. Her company sells loose crystals, as well as curated boxes, including a House Blessing Box to serve as the ultimate housewarming gift.
"The three stones in the box—amethyst, black tourmaline and rose quartz—are in essence a crash course to crystals," Courtney explains. "Amethyst is a natural tranquilizer, as it transforms negative energy into positive energy and helps set good vibes all around. Black tourmaline is the mother of all protection stones, and we all know that no house is a home without love, hence the rose quartz." (The kit also includes a candle, rose water spray, a handmade onyx bowl, a bundle of sage for "clearing out lingering energies in a home," and a geode keychain.)
The Bottom Line: They're Big Business.
Without a clear, central agency overseeing the industry, it's hard to put a solid figure on how much money is being made in crystals, but some estimates say it's a "billion" or "multi-billion dollar" field. Going back to Google, searches for "where to buy healing crystals near me" have risen 90 percent in the past year. Businesses are working with crystals in all kinds of ways, from companies selling quartz-infused water bottles to design firms that specialize in working with the minerals.
MTV reality star Spencer Pratt's reimagined his career as the founder of Pratt Daddy Crystals, where as of 2018, he was moving 200-300 pendant necklaces a week. He often sells out of new batches of crystals within hours of announcing them on Snapchat, he told Money.
Research-backed evidence that healing crystals offer more than a placebo effect may be scarce, but clearly, that's not deterring people's interest. And if you've read up until this point, admit it: You're curious about using the stones in your own home, too.
"It brings a room alive in a whole new way," says Heather, of Energy Muse, adding that if you're interested in adding a few crystals to your space—no matter your reasons why—you don't need to overthink it. "Choose what resonates with you, and you've found the right crystal. It's that simple."
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