Crystals have always been popular collectibles among the rich and famous, but t hese natural stones have not always lent themselves easily to fashion design. Their association with the mythical and spiritual realms has been somewhat of a deterrent in the past, but today jewellers are using them to create “healing” collections to help people get through uncertain times in style. “We believe that our jewellery customer has become increasingly conscious with their purchases, investing in items that are timeless or have more meaningful stories to tell; the natural healing elements contribute to this [crystal jewellery] trend given the uncertainty in the current world,” says Elizabeth von der Goltz, global buying director at luxury online retailer Net-a-Porter . “There is definitely potential to this category – with each purchase, our customers will become more educated in crystals and more familiar with their healing properties.” Shabnam Melwani-Reis, founder of crystal jewellery brand SunMoonRain, is one such designer who has turned to crystals for inspiration. “I was at a low point in my life and looking for natural ways to heal, which led to me to the world of crystals,” she explains. “I come from a fashion background, so I started looking for jewellery to support my journey, but everything was New Age- looking. There were some luxury brands using gemstones , but there was nothing in the middle that had a modern aesthetic while incorporating the healing energy aspect. Why ‘near gemstone’ crystals are outshining diamonds today “I took matters into my own hands and designed a few bracelets for myself and friends, and the brand was born. Mindful and stylish jewellery was a niche that didn’t exist back then.” While most crystal bracelets look like prayer beads, SunMoonRain’s mix-and-match bracelets can be stacked on top of each other. Healing stones such as moonstone, pink tourmaline and blue apatite are combined with materials such as raw diamonds, 18K gold and gold vermeil for a catwalk-worthy look. What will keep people coming back to crystal jewellery is the nature of the stones. Like diamonds, crystals are mined naturally, but the former are far rarer . Crystals come in dozens of varieties, shapes and sizes, and are more affordable. Their supposed healing properties run the gamut from promoting calm to attracting romance (for the uninitiated, Melwani-Reis offers a comprehensive stone encyclopaedia on her website). Currently in demand are crystals that offer protection, such as black tourmaline and amethyst, and “cleansing” stones such as smoky quartz. “Crystals have been supportive throughout history and modern times, be it for currency, jewellery, computer parts, lucky talismans – the list goes on. I believe in the vibrations and energy that each crystal embodies, which in turn can support us in our daily lives,” says Jia Jia Zhu, founder and creative director of jewellery brand JIA JIA. Crystals, she adds, can be a channel of connection to help a person find their inner voice, creativity, and power. Identifying which stone is right for you, though, is only one small part of the equation. Determining its quality is important, and this depends on factors such as the stone’s origins and appearance. Zhu sources many of her raw stones from Arizona in the United States, while Melwani-Reis finds hers in Mexico and Peru. More than anything, though, experts say people should choose the stone that they are attracted to the most. “Each stone is different, but I usually look at clarity, terminations, inclusions, and shapes. Some can be more valuable when there are other stones married along with it. Some, you want a deeper, more ‘gemmy’ colour. Others, you want more clarity. Beyond all else, I go with my intuition,” says Zhu. When it comes to caring for crystal jewellery, the rules for other precious stones can be applied to crystals – but there is another aspect that needs to be attended to. “Crystals are very resilient, so it’s the casings and settings you need to pay attention to. Keep them away from harsh conditions and don’t wear them while you shower or swim. “I also advise all my clients to cleanse any crystal before you wear it. This can be done by laying them outside during a full moon which will reset its vibrational energy. After that you can recharge it with a personal affirmation so it is truly yours,” Melwani-Reis says. Five jewellers working with crystals SunMoonRain Founded in 2013, SunMoonRain offers fashion-forward bracelets and bangles adorned with precious stones and healing crystals. The brand recently collaborated with fashion designer and former model Gail Elliott on a limited-edition collection and has recently launched crystal-infused perfumes. JIA JIA Zhu, who was raised in Shanghai in China and California in the US, worked as a luxury retail buyer for 14 years until a trip to Bali in Indonesia inspired her to launch a jewellery brand promoting the power of natural minerals and their healing properties. Every crystal in the collection is handcrafted in New York into one-of-a-kind pieces, including the brand’s bestselling quartz and diamond pendant necklace. Noor Fares Lebanese jeweller Noor Fares studied art history before launching a line of mystical, luxurious fine jewellery in 2009. As a student of healing arts such as reiki (an alternative therapy referred to as energy healing) and crystal therapy, Fares often makes references to ancient symbols and talismans in her work, brought to life using crystals chosen for their spiritual properties. Shamballa Shamballa – the name comes from a mythical kingdom in Tibet – was founded in 2005 by Danish designers and brothers Mads and Mikkel Kornerup and offers men’s jewellery. Shamballa was one of the first brands to make prayer beads fashionable, and boasts celebrity fans – like US rapper Jay Z – who love the brand’s unisex necklaces and bracelets featuring crystals such as turquoise, amethyst and moonstone. Diane Kordas American jeweller Diane Kordas combines crystals and other fine gems with a cool rock ’n’ roll aesthetic. The former fashion designer has an interest in mystical symbols – her evil eye collection is a bestseller – and her latest designs include power beads and beaded hoop collections that use crystals such as agate, aventurine and kunzite.