From 1pm, the queues begin.
“Because that’s when they wake up,” says Danieli Rangel, a shop assistant, on Friday.
Especially on the weekends, she says. “It doesn’t matter if it’s raining cats and dogs, or if it’s sunny. There’s always a queue.”
The knots of schoolgirls, swaying college students and quiet types with crossed arms, lined up from the red rope across the entrance, to the nail salon next door.
Those who make it past the red rope and inside Dervish Books and Holistic Centre on Aungier Street will find the air smells of burnt incense and sounds like twinkling music chimes, and there are shelves of Buddha statues, moon charts and salt lamps.
The biggest attraction right now though, says Rangel, are the piles of colourful crystals stacked inside grids of wooden boxes on both floors.
Staff in Dervish says it’s down to video app TikTok. Teenagers and young people are flocking to gather crystals that many of them have heard about on the internet, says Rangel.
The shop itself stars in a few videos, tours and crystal hauls filmed by customers, says Kate McGuire, a Dervish staff member.
“It’s queues all the time now,” says Rangel, her hair tied back, a blue crystal hanging from a cord around her neck. “I’ve never felt so overwhelmed.”
On Friday, Leah Johnston lets a handful of crystals fall onto the counter.
She starts college next week and is stocking up for the year ahead, she says.
She’s got a small slab of downy-peach carnelian. “This one gives me confidence,” she says.
She’s picked up some rose-pink quartz too. “I don’t know, I just feel like you can’t have enough of the rose quartz,” says Johnston.
People come in asking which crystals can help them, says Rangel. But, she says, the trick is to look at the crystals, and decide what one works for you.
“When you resonate with that crystal like it’s, you’ll get the properties from it,” says Rangel.
For young people, Rangel recommends calming gentle stones like carnelian, she says. And veers them away from those that might rock them up a bit more, like moldavite, she says.
They may have heard about that one online. “Moldavite, it’s not even really a crystal, it’s a meteorite, so it’s millions of years old,” she says.
“Anytime someone gets that, it’s like it comes to them at the perfect time for rapid transformation. It’s right away, it’s sudden and it’s shocking and it can be quite alarming,” she says.
Her hands flit rapidly in front of her. “It is a stone that has a high vibrational energy,” she says.
Adolescence is a time of rapid change and many teenagers struggle with anxiety, she says. A stone like rose quartz is better, to offer a calming, focused energy, she says.
“Something for self love,” says Lizzie Egan, another staff member. “Even citrin, or fluorite maybe.”
Rangel leans into the counter in front of her. She describes the wood as absorbing her energy, rather than emitting any of its own, like plants, people or crystals do.
“Plants produce energy, so they give energy to people, crystals give energy to people. So that’s the difference between crystals and another object,” she says.
People should wear crystals as tokens of confidence, rather than something that is directly giving them confidence, says Rangel. “This tiny piece of stone is not going to change your life.”
Johnston says she was skeptical at the start, when her girlfriend introduced her to crystals.
“The first one I got was a rose quartz, and I just found such a difference in confidence and everything. And I thought – maybe they actually do work?”
The crystal acts as a prompt, reminding her what she wants to feel, she says. “I know it probably is your brain doing a lot of it, and it just like helps you, like encourages you.”
It’s helping her, she says, and it’s a hobby. “It’s just something I find interesting, and it helping me is kind of a bonus.”
The spiritual stuff? That’s the least interesting bit, says Joop Hooijmans, who is waiting outside in the line.
“I don’t really believe in it but, I don’t know, just wearing them gives me a good vibe, so yeah,” he says.
Beside him, Ruone Van Der Dussen says she likes the idea that objects could hold energies.
“I don’t really know anything about it though,” she says, looking inwards into the shop. “But I do like to believe that it’s nice energies.”
Crystal shops are good inspiration for goldsmith work, says Iris Otten. But she’s skeptical of resonating too closely with crystals, she says.
She had a phase, says Otten. “But I don’t really believe in the working of stones, more in the aesthetic aspects of it. I just don’t think it works.”
Some of the claims about crystals are too outrageous, she says. Like the stuff they try to say they can cure.
People should be wary of attributing too much meaning onto the rocks they are buying, she says. “Maybe if you just like a certain colour it can bring you joy, I think, psychologically.”
And the crystals make her jewelry pretty, she says. “It’s very rich in tone, and very unique. Every piece is unique, so I think that’s more of what it is.”
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