The use of crystals in human civilisations have been recorded as far back as the ancient Egyptian, Greek and Chinese cultures for protection or repelling evil spirits and nightmares.
However, crystals have greatly evolved over the years, and are now better known to help boost clarity of mind and balance out your inner energy.
Crystals have also become more mainstream as celebrities like Miranda Kerr and Kylie Jenner laud their healing properties, and they are also finding their way into women’s skincare and wellness routines now.
This new-age trend has recently crystallised in Singapore (pun intended) as many crystal businesses emerge online. We spoke to some members of the local crystal community to find out more about this crystal craze.
Young entrepreneurs are cashing on this crystal craze
Despite the height of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, Shanice Sa decided to venture into starting up her own crystal business in July last year.
Called Soleil Co, it sells all kinds of crystals — from raw forms to towers, spheres, carvings and even accessories.
The 23-year-old previously worked at a social media agency while pursuing a degree in communications, but soon quit her job and studies to focus on the business.
Since young, I’ve always had a curious nature, especially in spirituality and energies — things that were beyond this universe. Knowing that crystals have been around for millions of years, and the fact that Mother Nature is able to create something so beautiful blew my mind.– Shanice Sa, founder of Soleil Co
This sparked an interest for her to learn more about crystals and crystal healing. However, she deems herself to be a rather new crystal enthusiast, as she bought her first crystal only early last year.
She had bought it online because she felt “a little intimidated to step into the (crystal) stores.”
“(Back then), there weren’t many online crystal shops to choose from, so I decided to set up an online store myself to share my joy with like-minded souls and allow them to purchase (crystals) at the comfort of their homes,” she said, cheekily adding that running her own crystal business also meant that she could grow her own collection.
Starting up the business required “a lot of experimenting” for Shanice.
“The main struggle at that point was to find trustable and reputable suppliers. It was like shopping for crystals, but on a larger scale,” she lamented.
Eventually, she managed to source for unique crystals from all over the world, mainly in Brazil, Madagascar, India, Peru and China, which helped kickstart a successful launch for Soleil Co.
She had invested “a low four-figure”, and quickly broke even shortly after the release of their first collection.
“Despite having to balance the need for inventory, logistics and marketing spend, I was truly taken aback by the overwhelming support from the crystal community.”
Jamaine Lim is another young entrepreneur who has jumped onto the crystal trend.
The 22-year-old is a final-year accounting student from the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), and started her own business during her second year of university.
Her mother used to run a crystal retail shop called NewAge FSG together with Jamaine’s cousin back in 2006 at Dhoby Ghaut, and she was inspired to follow in her mum’s footsteps.
“During the circuit breaker (period) in April 2020, the retail business strategy changed drastically and I saw an opportunity to branch out into e-commerce,” said Jamaine.
Describing crystals as “gifts from Mother Nature”, Jamaine started online business Jam.Stones, which specialises in crystal jewellery.
She taps on her family’s network of reliable suppliers to help source for crystals from all over the world.
I feel that crystal jewellery is really unique and meaningful as crystals are formed by Mother Nature and have natural healing properties. The idea of wearing crystals from different parts of the world on your wrist also tells a story,
Crystals have been used since ancient times for their beauty and also for their healing properties. There is an increasing awareness of the benefits of crystals now, and more younger people are harnessing their benefits through incorporating them in their jewellery.– Jamaine Lim, founder of Jam.Stones
She mainly makes bracelets, earrings and pendants out of traditional crystals, but also added a modern twist by incorporating charms.
Her pool of customers consist mostly of young working adults and young mothers, and she has sold “thousands” of bracelets to date.
Covid-19 serves as both a threat and opportunity
Jamaine’s very first product was a half crystal bracelet design.
“A jewellery gift from my boyfriend inspired me to modify full crystal bracelets into half crystal bracelets with modern charms. I was really nervous when I first launched my collection as it was something new in the market. Fortunately, the response was really good and I just kept making more,” she said.
Although the pandemic posed as a challenge for most businesses, Jamaine felt that it gave her fledgling business a boost.
During the circuit breaker, most of us could only shop online. I suppose during that time, many people were looking for solutions to stress and anxieties, or simply looking to improve their careers and relationships, so I’m very thankful for the good start.
When I first started Jam.Stones, I was basically a one-man team overseeing the entire operation. Studying full-time while managing the business was very challenging but rewarding at the same time.Jamaine Lim, founder of Jam.Stones
Jamaine started out with a very small capital of S$1,000 (savings from her internship salary), and the business quickly broke even in the same year. She added that she has earned an average six-figure revenue from Jam.Stones since inception.
“When I first started, most of my customers were family and friends. Through social media, I was able to reach out to a larger audience and eventually, I was able to set up my own website after three months of running Jam.Stones purely via Instagram.”
“Within four months, we had our very own office and expanded (our) team. Within a year, we had our very own studio where we hold crystal-related workshops.”
Jamaine explained that she had received multiple crystal bracelet customisation requests, which led to the idea of setting up a studio to conduct crystal-related workshops.
“The studio where we conduct our crystal beading workshops is a platform for participants to view and feel the crystals, while using their creativity to create meaningful crystal jewellery. It’s also a space for me to form personal connections with our customers.”
“Our workshop’s take-up rate is high. Many participants join us to pick up a new skill or hobby during this pandemic but changes in the Covid-19 rules affected our capacity as we had to split the classes into smaller sizes. We run our workshops according to strict rules to ensure the safety of our participants.”
With the recent heightened measures, Jamaine said that her workshops has been seeing a “dip in attendance”, but maintained that their regular customers have remained supportive.
“The business is always changing, but we have to be nimble to adapt to these changes,” she said.
Merging crystals and essential oils
For Venessa Chua, she contracted an autoimmune condition in 2016 and was worried how it would change her life.
“Due to the special nature of auto immune attacks, traditional immune boosters or traditional Chinese medicine are not helpful to me. Hence, I began my own research to understand a little more about how other natural methods can help me alongside my doctor’s treatment plans, which would be a lifelong journey for me.”
“This sparked my interest (in crystals) as I understood healing powers a little better,” said the 33-year-old.
The banker wanted to share her passion for crystals on a small scale, and went on to co-run a side business in 2019. Called Crystal Apothecary, it offers a line of metaphysical products that harness the healing powers of crystals, botanicals and essential oils.
They started up with about S$5,000 and managed to break even in a year or so, but it was a “very slow start”, she said.
They sold to their circle of family and friends first, before setting up an e-commerce platform on Shopify. When selling online, visually-pleasing product photos are important but she had issues taking nice photographs with the right lighting.
She also needed to ensure that their essential oils were of quality, yet not overspend on them so that customers won’t have to end up paying a hefty price tag. Marketing also had to be consistent, which was a bit of challenge as she was juggling a full-time job and taking care of a newborn.
Overcoming the various challenges, they eventually registered Crystal Apothecary as a private company in mid-June 2020 and have also set up an Instagram page to boost their online presence.
“We started to really meticulously account for every single expense when we were preparing for the registration of the company. We are not that into making huge profits, but really to share what we love and we are really happy when we are able to inject positive energy into our customers’ lives.”
From crystal bracelets to display crystals
Celine Ho was formerly a media planner in the advertising industry for the past three years, and have recently made the leap to quit her job last month to focus on her online crystal business.
Called Crystal Mojo, it sells a wide variety of natural and quality crystals, ranging from unique fun shapes (carvings) to spheres, towers, hearts, palm stones and even plates.
“At Crystal Mojo, we focus on the authenticity and quality of the crystals we curate. We strive to deliver and educate the beneficial properties of crystals to the masses,” said the 28-year-old.
Back in December 2019, my mom gifted me my first crystals — a rose quartz heart and a garden quartz bracelet. She attended ‘feng shui’ talks at the time and that piqued my interest, so I followed her to some of her classes to learn more about ‘feng shui’ and the benefits of crystals.
I was going through a difficult period at the time, and I honestly felt that crystals helped me through the tough times.Celine Ho, founder of Crystal Mojo
She added that the crystal trend in Singapore was picking up at the time, so it served as an opportune timing. Moreover, she noted that there wasn’t as much variety compared to what’s available today.
Therefore, she wanted to source for “fun-shaped crystals” herself, which she ended up realising that it was a fun process and wanted to share this joy with others.
Celine sourced for crystals from all over the world, including Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Mexico, Madagascar, India, Peru and South Africa.
“My very first launch was actually a bracelet launch, as I was very interested in DIY-ing my own crystal bracelets. Initial response was slow, with only one to two orders per week,” she said.
“I slowly started to do more customised bracelet orders in the next few months and it built my confidence to branch out into display crystals, which have always been my goal. Working with display crystals was a very different ball game altogether; it required more attention and detail to ensure that every launch was smooth.”
Starting out, Celine spent S$500 on crystal beads alone. Fortunately, the capital required for crystal bracelets was lower and it took her two months to have enough to expand and purchase her first batch of display crystal stocks.
“I started to have more frequent, small launches for display crystals, while taking in two to three bracelet customisation orders per week.”
Instagram is becoming a preferred platform to hawk crystals
Being a Gen Z entrepreneur, it’s not surprising that Shanice taps on social media platforms to create a stronger brand presence online. She uses TikTok to engage with the community, and conducts weekly live sales on Instagram every Monday to showcase their wide array of crystals.
According to Shanice, the amount of money she makes in a month is highly dependent on the number of live sales conducted, how many crystals are being featured in each live sale, and how many actually get sold.
She refused to disclose specific figures, but hinted that it’s a “comfortable amount”, which is why she’s able to pursue it full-time.
Celine also makes use of Instagram Live to boost sales. She conducts a live sale every Sunday night, which gets a modest number of about 40 viewers on average.
She added that many customers start out with crystals that can bring prosperity, good fortune and financial abundance, which makes Crystal Mojo’s natural citrine and customised smiley-eyed fortune cat one of their best-selling products.
One spends up to S$150 a week on crystals
Shermane Wong, 26, first started gaining an interest in crystals when she chanced upon an ad on Instagram that featured beautiful pink amethyst towers.
That random ad became a catalyst for her to embark on her crystal collection journey, and has since been on the search for rocks and crystals to dispel negative energy.
Each crystal has its own healing properties. For example, black tourmaline and obsidian are known to protect you from negative energy, rose quartz is for all forms of love including self-love, and citrine is for wealth and creativity.
I read somewhere that their molecular vibrations give us good energy when we hold it, so I guess that’s why crystals are claimed to ‘heal’ you. Regardless of whether you believe in its benefits or not, just by looking and holding it, it’ll remind you of the properties and you will act on it accordingly, much like a placebo effect.
For me, crystals are pretty pieces of Earth that I can keep, and its healing properties are a bonus.– Shermane Wong, crystal collector
Her parents bought her first crystals from a physical store, but the shop owner always converses in Mandarin. The product description and benefits of the crystals are also written in Mandarin, but she wasn’t proficient in that language.
This particular gap made her turn to online avenues, and she now buys the bulk of her crystals from Instagram. She often makes her purchase after browsing a brand’s feed or its Instagram Story/Highlights section.
The social media manager has also joined several crystal livestreams, which typically take place on Friday nights or weekends.
“Livestream sales is pretty fun. You can choose to interact with fellow crystal hobbyists, and you can see the crystals on live feed. You can also request for a free closeup of crystal, the measurements, and discuss with other buyers if the sales item is a good buy,” she said.
I buy a few every week, spending between S$30 and S$150 every week, depending on what’s available. I’m considered a conservative crystal hobbyist — there are people who spend S$150 on just one crystal!– Shermane Wong, crystal collector
She has spent about S$300 on crystals so far, with her most expensive single purchase costing S$150 to S$160.
Her 54-year-old dad on the other hand, is more “hardcore”. Shermane revealed that her dad also used to bid for crystals at pasar malams (night markets) and that he had started collecting crystals since when he was a kid. He has stopped buying crystals now, but buys crystal accessories like bracelets instead.
“His crystals are not only bigger, but also heavier than my collection,” she joked.
“I think more people are buying crystals because of its accessibility in terms of the platform, and also the language. I’m not sure if more people are buying now because of Covid-19, but I’m starting to see many crystal Instagram shops and hobbyists emerging when the pandemic blew up last year.”
Why do people collect crystals?
“Crystal healing has been raved about internationally for quite some time, but it’s only slowly gaining popularity locally as of late. Crystals have personally brought me peace and joy and I’m glad more people are experiencing it too,” said Shanice.
I think people collect crystals for different reasons. Some like them for their aesthetics, and others swear by their healing properties. Especially in this day and age, more than just having a “lucky” crystal, people are looking out for alternative healing methods to cope with their lives.
I believe this stems from the younger generation being more in touch with their emotional needs. Each crystal serves a different purpose or benefit, but they’re all powered by intentions.– Shanice Sa, founder of Soleil Co
While she’s unsure if this trend will sustain well into the future, she is certain that crystal healing has increasingly become a bigger part of people’s lives.
On the other hand, Venessa is confident that that crystal will be a growing trend as more people have an increased interest to enhance their state of wellbeing, especially due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Crystal Apothecary believes that the right essential oils can help to elevate the crystal’s energy, and their most popular pairing to date are Amethyst and Lavender, as well as Rose Quartz and Geranium. They have also “sold hundreds” of their Poupre Lava Diffuser with Lavender and Peppermint.
Living in a stressful country like Singapore, sometimes we do need a little break and some natural help to keep our spirits up.
I believe there is a huge fan base of crystal collectors that love the energy and have experienced the cleansing power and elevation of energy to improve their lives. For those who are a little skeptical on this, crystals are still gorgeous pieces that could brighten up your desk or home.– Venessa Chua, co-founder of Crystal Apothecary
Jamaine also agrees that there has been an increased interest in crystals especially during this pandemic, as many people seek solutions to help get them through stress and enhance various aspects of their lives.
“I feel that this interest will continue as many would want to bring balance to their body, mind and spirit and to improve their lives through natural and holistic ways.”
Celine also observed that the popularity of crystals and its properties started booming in Singapore early last year when the Covid-19 situation escalated, and it has been growing ever since.
“The interest and belief in crystals that people have will always be there, and I believe crystals are not just a trend, but a lifestyle or hobby. Coupled with the recent increase in awareness and exposure, the crystal community will continue to grow.”
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Featured Image Credit: Jamaine Lim / Crystal Mojo