When I was a teenager, my mom and I used to make an annual pilgrimage to Madison each winter, usually right before Christmas time. (Well, actually, I usually had hockey game in the suburbs and the ‘pilgrimage’ involved driving downtown, but I’ll pretend). We would walk Madison’s imfamous State Street, eating lunch a funky ethnic café and popping into all the unique shops. She’d let me pick out a few things I wanted for Christmas, and I’d do most of my holiday ‘shopping’ (a.k.a., using my parent’s money to buy them and my siblings presents). It’s really one of my favorite childhood memories, and I’m sure subconsciously these outings are part of the reason that I eventually ended up going to college there.
My favorite shop was Art Gecko, and eccentric import shop full of flowing clothes made out of old saris, chunky jewelry, indian tapestries, and teak trinkets. It was in an old, narrow shop with worn wood floors, high unfinished ceilings, and a barely-private fitting rooms. You know the place. The girls that worked in the shop — and that work in the shop today — were always warm, earth mother types, some with dreads, many with nose rings. I wanted to be them. Walking into the cozy, vibrant storefront from the bitter Wisconsin winter, I always felt inspired and welcome within.
I vividly remember one visit in my early adolescence when there was another patron in the store looking at the sterling silver jewelry. Art Gecko always has an incredible selection of jewels made from semi-precious gemstones and crystals, the size of some of the rings and pendants almost too large for me to fathom. This woman was holding a piece of jewelry in each hand, with her eyes closed, seemingly meditating over the wares. After careful consideration, she commented on the energy coming from the crystals in that soothing hippie tone. Some of the stones were powerful, some soothing, some passionate, some evil. I didn’t really know what was going on, but the memory has stuck with me (and I’ve been in love with over-sized semi-precious gemstones ever since).
I love these Orange Crystal Drop Earrings as well.
And now I’m officially in love with crystals, too. I love the simplicity and minimalism of better late than never’s pieces — so refreshing compared to the heavy, ‘the bigger the better’ trend so prevalent in crystal jewelry. The ethereal, almost mystical aesthetic of crystals really appeal to me, in general.
Turns out etsy has a bunch of inspired crystal pieces as well.
And shop Midwest Alchemy is really quite amazing too. The Copper Pendant with Red Fire Opal and the Copper Ring with Red Hemitite are absolutely beautiful — organic, raw, tough. I love how they craft the metal so that it speaks for itself but also moves and compliments the stones. The structural elements and textures of these pieces are so beautiful.
I wonder what kind of energy this amazing pieces give off . . . might just have to find out!