So you are interested in buying some crystals (who isn’t these days?) but there is no crystal shop in your area … or one that you like anyway. It seems like crystals are everywhere, prominently displayed on prime time TV shows, promoted by celebrities, anchoring your colleague’s desk and even in doctor’s offices. Crystals are a phenomenon that’s been going on for say… 30,000 or more years. So how do you find the real thing online for the right price and learn something along the way too?
Start here with someone who has been buying and selling crystals in-store and online for over 25 years and who has seen every scam in the book. These are the red flag that should give you pause before you hit the buy button. I love crystals so much! So its sad to see their beauty and natural majesty denigrated by the internet and its hustlers … here today, gone tomorrow … with your money and a bitter taste in your mouth. The internet by itself is a great thing, used properly with an open mind and common sense. The best possible scenario is to shop for crystals in person so you can see and feel for yourself but that’s rarely possible these days. But sky high rents, the pandemic and availability are all working against a great in-person experience. While there are wonderful shops to be had, they are few and far in between.
Let me share with you the warning signs to watch for when buying crystals online. Protect yourself and ensure that your online shopping experience with crystals is a GREAT one and one that you’ll return to time and time again. Let’s go!
1. Beware ONLY metaphysical claims
If a site starts out describing their product promising that it will make you rich, find the love of your life or overcome a deadly disease, head for the exit button right away. While crystal energy is helpful and a real thing, you should first know the size, weight, color, country of origin and type of crystal you are buying. Too many sites show a picture of a gorgeous crystal that looks to be a hefty 6” when it reality it is a minuscule ½” sample. Know what you are buying first! If they only talk about your chakras and won’t say exactly what they product actually is, then you don’t need to know more. Move on.
2. Find out who the vendor actually is
One of the most pernicious scams is selling anonymously. Foreign and domestic companies set up warehouses under fictitious LLCs and purchase containers of cheap crystals from overseas and dump them on unsuspecting buyers. But there’s no actual address, no real person’s name and impossible to track who your hard earned money is going to. You’ll find these people even on well traveled sites like Etsy. Chances are you will get what they want to sell you and not what you really want. And returns are impossible. Good luck.
3. Get real people reviews and ratings
Any company that has at least 5000 five-star reviews on Etsy, Amazon or eBay or on their branded site, has a leg to stand on. The more reviews the better. The reviews don’t have to be perfect – there are buyers out there having really bad days and they take it out on innocent vendors. But 95% of the customers can’t be wrong. If they are in love with a company’s product and services, chances you will be too.
4. If its too good to be true, then it probably is
It only took me once to learn this valuable lesson. I was shopping a live show from China on Facebook and they showed some gorgeous Malachite Moon carvings that I fell in love with. I had NEVER seen that type of carving before and I wanted to be first in line. I bought the entire lot at a bargain price. Come to find out as I unpacked them, they were painted ceramic. Argggghhhh! But they were advertised as Malachite. Its hard to tell on a live show even and with the language barrier, it was worse. Shame on me, I should have known better. Malachite carvings are pricey. And the real ones always will be. (I did sell them all at cost but advertised them specifically as a painted ceramic, not a crystal product. They were pretty…) One more warning. Do not EVER buy Moldavite from an online seller at a “sale” price or one that you have not ever done business with before. I guarantee you will be disappointed and so very sorry.
5. Brick and Mortar Backup
Not every online vendor will have a “real” store, but many do. They are more likely to be more successful because with rent and labor costs it is a challenge to make a reasonable profit and stay in business more than a year or two. So they have to do everything right to stay in business and be competitive. Look for showrooms with outstanding displays, a wide variety of product and price points, and educational products. And here’s the real secret. They will carry at least some of the more rare and unusual crystals. Moldavite, Topaz, Libyan Glass, Peridot, Herkimers and more. Why? Their knowledge base is deeper than the stores who just put out just the common, everyday and least costly crystals. And they are willing to invest in the best for those customers who really want to touch and feel their dream crystal. Even if you can’t afford the rare ones, someday you will and those that can now will put their trust in the stores that will step up for the best.
6. Copy and paste job
This has to be one of my pet peeves and I see it all over the internet every day. Vendors who really have no idea what they are selling and just copy and paste crystal information from other sites. Kind of plagiarism on the QT. And they do this because they are not really invested in the crystal business, its just moving stuff out the door as fast as possible without any thought, heart or soul. You want real education and knowledge of the crystals you are buying. What is their origin, AKAs, zodiac affiliation, legends, stories, real research. Your online vendor should be a teacher too, not just a seller.
7. Grade A Authenticity
Don’t get stuck with C or B grade crystals. Remember every pocket and vein mined has some material that is not prime. The miners sort and grade their crystal finds and sell ALL of it. The lower grades are like over-ripe bananas and you won’t enjoy them. Yes they will be cheap, cheap, cheap … and it will feel that way once you get them. Yuck! So again, how do you protect yourself against this lower quality? Know your Seller really well and they should grade most of their crystals as A or higher (yes there is AAA) but not every stone comes in that super gem quality. They want you as a lifetime customer not a cheap one night stand. If any of the red flags in this article start waving, then step back and re-think your purchase.
8. Communication Information
The best online vendors will have a dedicated customer service email and get back to you within time promised. Those who have a retail store will have a phone number with real people answering the phone. Or at least will return a call. Or, you can check their social media sites which should have daily or at least weekly postings with new arrivals, staff interviews, live shows, travel logs, blogs, videos and great photos. If they are real, they will be upfront and personable. You will know their names and what they look like. You know, like real people who are accountable. Check!
9. Real Photos
Here’s a touchy topic. Stock photos and heavily Photoshop pictures of crystals that do not exist. Like the untouchable models in most commercials, they do not look like that! Its like dating in the dark. A picture is worth a thousand words, so it better be the real thing. Sometimes a batch picture will be posted so the description should clearly state that you are buying one of the batch shown and it is truly representative of the color, shape and quality. Here’s where reviews are helpful to quantify that the Seller is honest. For larger specimens and one of a kind items the photo will state you are buying the exact item.
10. Amazon - Bigger is not Better
In general the overall quality of crystals on Amazon can be low and you won’t be able to get any in depth information on sourcing etc. What Amazon requires to be a successful Seller does not equate well with crystals. They are not commodities churned out of a factory. Quite the opposite, they are dear and special and unique. Amazon is great for buying electronics, vitamins and socks. Wrong format for crystals.
11. Alibaba & AliExpress
Oh boy, bark up this tree and what can I say, but we warned you! Here is the mother lode of cheap low grade stones, fakes with eye popping low prices, super enhanced or just plain awful photos, and no accountability. If you enjoy risking your money and time, have at it.
Amazon has kind of spoiled us with “free shipping” and Etsy has taken the bait big time by uploading the ship cost into the product. And by that method you pay more for shipping than just a straight weight charge. In reality there is no such thing online as truly FREE shipping. Better to pay a reasonable shipping fee based on weight with Priority Mail or First Class if its a small, inexpensive item. You can always check by comparing product cost between like sites. Just be sure you compare like with like. Sometimes live shows offer free shipping if your order is large enough or you pay quickly. Those are usually legit. Just don’t get reeled in with “free shipping.” There’s usually a catch, especially if its an overseas company. The “free” could take 12 weeks or maybe not at all…
Its better to be safe than sorry and do your homework before buying crystals online. Like so many other things these days, Buyer Beware. However, when you can find a hidden gem of a company that does what they say they will do, what a joy to find!
See my other articles on How to Buy Crystals online.