By CAROLINE HUGHART
Jerome Bowers has always been fascinated by rocks and minerals. Now he wants to share that passion with any lucky passerby that enters his store.
Crystal Raven, located in downtown Jonesborough, is a vibrant little shop perfect for anyone looking for something bright, polished or off the beaten path.
Bowers believes his store, which just recently opened in May, offers people something completely unique. From carefully carved crystal figures to custom made jewelry, he has something for everyone.
“We carry rough specimens of crystals and fossils as well as cut pieces,” Bowers said. “I’ve noticed that I have to cater to people from 8 years old to 80 years old. You’ve got everything from children that just like the pretty shiny rocks to the people who like the shapes of the natural crystals.”
Patrons are also given the opportunity to take something from their own life and have it made into something new. Sentimental items or keys that belonged to family members or that marked a special time in life can be made into custom jewelry pieces.
“We hand-make jewelry,” Bowers said. “It’s made either by my wife or myself.”
Influenced by a neighbor growing up, Bowers developed a fascination for rock and mineral specimens from an early age. This eventually inspired him to share this passion with others and assemble his store.
“I’ve been collecting rocks since I was eight,” Bowers said. “I went to school at Appalachian State for fossils. So, I have more of a paleontology background.”
Because of his many years of experience in the field, Bowers has learned where to get the best quality products. Through his connections abroad, Bowers has been able to outsource how he gets his products, which ensures their quality and affordability. Most products are carefully picked from places like India, Indonesia and Brazil.
“A lot of things do come from overseas,” Bowers said. “That’s what helps us keep our cost down. We’ve cut out five or six middle men so we can bring it here and give it to people at a much better rate.”
In efforts to support those close to home, the shop also features items from local artists such as handmade soaps, local stained glass and folk dolls. Although Bowers entertains customers from near and far, he remains steadfast in where his top priority lies.
“We want to make sure our products are available to everyone no matter how deep their pockets are,” Bowers said. “The goal is to get good quality items but make it affordable to everybody.”
Bowers not only takes pride in the products that he sells but also how they make people feel. Despite the challenge of only having a small space in which to exhibit his wide array of items, this feeling makes everything worth it.
“My favorite part is conversing with everyone that comes in,” Bowers said. “When I’m here, I really feel like I’m doing a service. I see people happy with what they’re getting.”
The shop owner encourages anyone and everyone to come see what he and his crystals have to offer. No question is ever ignored or unwelcome.
“We always tell people ‘If you’re ever wanting a certain type of incense or a certain stone, let us know and we’ll try and find it for you,’” Bowers said. “It’s out there somewhere.”