If Jen Albright-Burns begins to feel overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of everyday life, she goes to the forest to recharge her batteries. If she can’t get to the forest, she searches for Smoky Quartz.
The Longview native says the stones can help her calm down. They remind her to stay alert to how she’s feeling — and to stay intentionally about getting out soon.
“The stones are a physical (and) visual reminder of what you want to use them for,” she said.
For nearly a decade, Albright-Burns, 43, has sold stones and homemade jewelry at pop-up markets. This month she is taking the next step and will open Forest, Stone and Sea, a permanent storefront at The Merk in downtown Longview.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time, and it worked over Christmas (to open a store). … Everyone always said to me, ‘You should open a store’, but that wasn’t in the cards at the time. era,” Albright-Burns said. “I feel like the universe kind of handled it. It was really easy (this time).
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In addition to stones, Forest, Stone and Sea sells Albright-Burns homemade jewelry, plants, and bath bombs from vendors she met during her pop-up market sales. She aims to eventually add clothing, she said, and perhaps increase the size of her store by 350 square feet.
“This is a sampling of what you’ll see,” Albright-Burns said of the store during an interview Monday. “In any case, it’s not done yet.”
For now, Albright-Burns said the space is just the right size to accommodate his stockpile, which includes hundreds of stones such as amethyst, quartz and pyrite (fool’s gold). They are displayed in bowls on a counter like a colorful, rocky treat.
The stones and minerals are used in an alternative medicine called “crystal healing”. But Forest, Stone and Sea is not a “woo-woo” boutique, Albright-Burns said. She lets buyers decide for themselves if they believe in a stone’s healing powers. She wants the store to be “inclusive” for everyone, she said.
“If you like crystal healing and energy, great. If not and you like pretty rocks, I get it,” she said.
Albright-Burns herself believes that her stones calm her, improve her mood and positively influence her life. However, it has a “love-hate relationship with the word ‘crystal healing’, as the stones only help if users are aware of their own self-improvement efforts.
Fluorite, for example, won’t banish stress or increase focus if a buyer buys it and throws it aside when they get home, she said. (The blue-green mineral is known in crystal healing circles to absorb negative energy and boost self-confidence, focus, and decision-making abilities.)
Most stones cost between $2 and $8, but Albright-Burns will stock rarer stones that cost around $100, she said. She can also order larger or specialized stones upon request.
Albright-Burns’ interest in rocks and minerals began in her childhood, when she searched for rocks with her grandparents. The hobby led her to make jewelry from stones, shells, and other objects found in nature.
For several years, jewelry making was her side project and creative outlet, she said. She worked on projects while working as a store manager at an Old Navy store.
She lived for eight years in Arizona, the location of the world’s largest gemstone and mineral fair. Then, in 2011, she moved back to Longview and started selling jewelry and stones full-time, she said.
As she learned more about her materials, she noticed that certain stones changed her mood. And these changes matched their healing characteristics.
For example, smoky quartz made her feel grounded and comfortable, she said. Crystal healers use the translucent grey-brown stone for its stabilizing and protective qualities.
Even skeptical clients can benefit from the stones, using the stones as a reminder of their personal goals, Albright-Burns said. Maybe someone buys rose quartz – a light pink rock that stimulates love – to boost their self-esteem. Each time they feel it in their pocket, they’ll be reminded to speak to themselves more kindly, Alright-Burns said.
Albright-Burns will hold a pre-opening for Forest, Stone and Sea on Thursday in conjunction with the monthly Rivers Edge Makers Market in the Merk. She often sold in this market, so she plans to host a table in the market, she said.
Later, she wants to organize “crossover” events with other stores in the Merk, including the nearby health store, Let’s Be Holistic.
“It feels good to be part of the Merk family.”