Healing stones used to be thought of as something hippies wore around their necks but in recent years celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Adele (who uses crystals to reduce on-stage anxiety) have helped build the “near-gemstone” industry into a mainstream market worth more than $1 billion.
Although medically unproven, gemstones are widely believed to relieve stress and increase positive energy, amongst a long list of other health benefits, depending on the minerals. And during the current health pandemic, Millennials are especially turning to the power of metaphysics.
Labradorite, for example, is considered a spiritual and healing stone for people who tend to overwork. “This stone comes only from Madagascar,” says Serge Thomas, who opened Les Pierres du Rocher two years ago.
Described as a “hard worker,” “great guy” and “artist,” Serge is widely known in the local community even though he has always lived in France. “I was a pâtissière (pastry chef) and owned La Boule de Neige in La Turbie until I retired.”
Not quite ready for those golden years and wanting to maintain contact with people, Serge decided to open a business on 32 rue Felix Gastaldi in Monaco Ville. “This used to be a souvenir shop,” he says,” but I didn’t want to do that or become a métier de bouche (food service). I love nature and stones, and as stones are trendy these days, I opened Les Pierres du Rocher.”
His clientele is made up of both tourists and locals from Monaco. “Of course, we had to close for two months during confinement and we completely suffered. 60% to 70% of my business comes from tourists, but there are no tourists.”
Serge points to his bestseller, a wall of bracelets, costing between €9 to €50. “It is all about the quality of the stone, so the higher the grade, the more expensive. If it’s just for decoration (or costume jewellery) that’s fine, but it is better to buy a stone of quality,” he advises.
He shows me a fabulous Lithuanian natural amber necklace (€58). “Amber is fossilised resin that is washed out into the Baltic Sea,” explains Serge, “and many people don’t know this but it is very easy to make counterfeit amber.”
He laughs, “As a professional capable of knowing a good cake from a bad cake, I can also tell the quality of stone.”
Another hot in-store item, notably with spas currently shut down, is the €35 regenerating stone roller to reduce wrinkles, which another customer tells me “is very, very effective.”
“Minerals have a link with humans,” Serge says and his range of healing pieces come from around the world, from Madagascar to Peru, in every size you can imagine.
For Christmas, Serge, who happens to also be a talented ice sculptor, is selling wooden house-shaped advent calendars that you can fill how you wish (€80 to €90 everything included).
There is currently 20% off sale on everything in the store. You’ve heard of people bringing home sand from their beach vacation? This Christmas holiday in Monaco why not pick up a stone from the Rock?
Open daily 10:30 to 5:30
Les Pierres du Rocher
32 rue Felix Gastaldi, Monaco Ville
Article first published November 25, 2020.
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