Pendant of the Ancient Egyptian goddess, Isis, found at Crystal Works in Austin, Texas. Photography: Nicolette Mallow.
A local gemstone within the city of Austin, Crystal Works is a distinct boutique filled with many treasures and ancient folklore from around the world. Stock full of Swarovski crystal prisms, gemstones, aromatherapy oils, pendants, sage, books and artwork: Crystal Works is a place of alchemy, magic, spirituality and healing. From the outside, before even setting foot inside, guests notice and admire lots of individual crystals on display; dangling from the tops of the windowsill in many different shapes and sizes. Adjacent to the crystals, also levitating inside the window are authentic dream catchers with feathers and rainbow maker mobiles. The term ‘rainbow maker’ is quite literal, meaning these special crystals radiate light the colors of the rainbow. Twirling gently and elegantly with the airflow, these crystals allure and tantalize the eyes by emitting rays of rainbow-colored light beams. Color and light are key elements at Crystal Works.
Upon entrance, the moment guests do cross the doorway; all the energy in the atmosphere transforms and everything becomes particularly peaceful and calm, like standing in a meditation room. Serene music plays in the background. And amidst the serene music, echoes from rock waterfalls can be heard as the water flows about in their stone pools. Tiny bells can be heard jingling softly, too, from dream catchers, charms and spirit bells.
There is no other shop in Austin quite like it, and even the air smells differently within this local alchemist haven. According to the founder and owner, Cathleen Day, “The wonderful smell of Crystal Works comes from our many organic scents. There are no chemicals or artificially scented products. The gemstone fossils and crystals are from all over the world and their colors wash over the eye, causing a delightful endorphin cascade. The ancient folklore ascribed to the stones is intriguing and connect us with beliefs and cultures thousands of years old.”
Alongside many of the gemstones, geodes and minerals are note cards to inform guests as to what each piece represents and the healing powers they’re said to possess. The ancient folklore behind all these stones is quite interesting and there are many books that entail clearer insight into each one. For instance, black onyx gemstones are thought to provide protection. Bloodstones are believed to attract peace, healing and compassion. Tiger’s eye is a warrior stone that brings balance, whereas Rose Quartz is a stone of unconditional love.
Crystal Works is completely filled to the brim with beautiful merchandise. Whether it’s looming from the ceiling, pinned to the wall or resting on the floor, there is no space left empty. It takes several visits to regard and absorb everything Crystal Works has to offer. Some of the more expensive items are locked away in glass cases. However, most of the items can be seen and touched. On the counter tops surrounding the register is unique, one-of-a-kind jewelry made from gems and minerals, separated by colors and stones: Red, blue, violet, green and onyx. Various kinds of cards can be found, too. Educational, scientific and holistic books are stacked in the corner. Additionally there are little Buddha shrines and mirrors scattered about the shop.
For nearly 40 years Crystal Works has been in operation. The store came to be in 1977 when Cathleen Day was “admiring the rainbows from a friends’ sparkling prism and it was decided right then she wanted to begin selling them”. Since then, the shop has flourished from only selling Swarovski crystal prisms to the extensive inventory that it’s become today.
Located on the corner of 12th and Lamar near Enfield, Crystal Works is open seven days a week. Please refer to the website or Yelp for hours of operation. For more information, please call 512-472-5597 or www.crystalworksaustin.com.
Note: This article was originally published on Examiner.com in September 2015.