by Ashley Tibbits
One of the things that makes Los Angeles’ Crystalarium one of our favorite stockists is the fact that it also happens to be one of the city’s first crystal shops. The beloved brick-and-mortar was first opened back in 1987 by graduate gemologist/jeweler Robin Banchik and ever since then it has established itself a spot to score stones, jewelry, and other mystical gifts for both collectors and crystal-curious alike.
Since buyer/manager/crystal guru Cheryl Reistal Rey is our personal guide whenever we stop by the store, we thought we’d ask her a bit more about her personal journey into the industry, as well as her best tips for crystal novices, and what advice she’s got about dealing with Mercury in retrograde. Take notes.
How did you first become interested in crystals?
I got my very first crystal on a field trip to the Natural History Museum in New York. It was a small chunk of amethyst geode that was the most mesmerizing treasure I had ever seen and the most important $5 I ever spent in my life! Something about crystals just made sense to my child mind: they were perfectly formed, sparkly, and beautifully colored. Then in my teens, I really started to understand crystals as tools.
Any must-have crystals for your personal daily routine?
My must haves are clear quartz and obsidian. The former is highly programmable, which helps with setting my intention for the day, and the latter is my ultimate protector. It’s an excellent stone for removing unconscious contracts and obligations and really good for removing human influence — allowing for a greater connection to the spirit.
What's a good "starter crystal" for someone who's interested in exploring but is still a novice?
I know it may seem overrated but I definitely feel that amethyst is an excellent stone for beginners. It has all the essential qualities needed for starting a crystal journey. It’s known for its protective energy as well as assisting to activate the intuition, and it’s visually stunning, which can help calm any self judgment someone might have about not yet “feeling” the crystal. Our five senses are still very important even as we work on activating all the others!
I also highly recommended using your crystals at night in the beginning. Depending on what energies I wish to work on, I can have any number of crystals under my pillow, in my socks, or under the bed. When we sleep, we're so much more available to divine guidance and healing resets. It’s an easy and effective introduction to your crystal’s frequency and acclimating to the energies working through it.
What are some of the shop's biggest sellers?
Crystalarium’s biggest sellers have always been black tourmaline and moldavite but recently, it’s celestite and selenite. I really feel the new generation of crystal lovers is working hard to elevate past the old paradigms and seeking more fearless yet loving connections to the spiritual realm. And the J. Southern Studio Ritual Kits and candles have continued to be our most popular sideline. They’re not only visually beautiful but so thoughtfully put together that they are perfect for practitioners as well as beginners. The jasmine candles and sprays — they’re like catnip for people!
Through mid-August, Mercury is in retrograde and astrologically speaking it can be a hugely transitional time. What crystals would you recommend for anyone who's finding themselves struggling with this or who’s trying to cleanse old, negative energy?
The Astros are definitely going to have fun with us this summer. The combination I like the most during retrograde is selenite with obsidian. A selenite wand is such a powerful cleansing tool while the obsidian helps release those outdated attachments. Before I even get out of bed, I hold a small, tumbled obsidian in my left hand while I brush my energy field with the selenite from head to toe. It really helps when trying to process all these energetic shifts and remove all the freshly dislodged sludge.
My best retrograde advice is to go fearlessly into your feelings and give yourself permission to grieve what you are releasing. It’s ok. The universe stirs the pot only out of love. Because you are loved! And you aren’t going crazy.
What is your favorite hard-to find or rare mineral or crystal?
I think our favorite gem that is getting more difficult to find is kunzite from Urucum Mine.
What can you share about your celebrity clientele?
We’ve really been fortunate to have the most kind and low-key crystal lovers. It’s so wild when we get entire families of crystal collectors like Khloe Kardashian and Kylie Jenner as well as Lionel and Nicole Richie. We were also blessed enough to be a favorite of Elizabeth Taylor’s. She had a huge collection of crystals, gems and jewelry. We’re actually going to be showcasing some of her amethysts soon!
Without a doubt, Sza and Spencer Pratt have been the most enthusiastic supporters of Crystalarium. Sza is so genuinely kind and gracious and Spencer promoted us so heavily on Instagram and Snapchat that as a thank you we decorated Heidi’s delivery room when Gunner was being born. We absolutely love him!
Ashley Tibbits is a fashion and lifestyle journalist, hailing from Los Angeles, California. Her portfolio includes work for The Zoe Report and a handful of other fashion and lifestyle sites, including her own website, Clever LA.
Read more on astrology, horoscopes, occultism, magick & ritual on our blog, Esoteric Insights!