With snowflakes and human DNA, no two are identical. The minerals and semi-precious stones that Empress Gilbert, owner of Empressive GeoDesigns, works with every day are much the same— uniquely original.
“Each mineral is created by Earth, and these natural formations cannot be duplicated in mass production. It is not possible to have two of the same,” Empress says enthusiastically. Her excitement and love for crystals is catching. More importantly, her desire to help every customer connect with the pieces in her showroom is evident.
When working with interior designers, and their clients, Empress listens to why they want minerals in their homes. She loves to learn why they have an attachment to a specific piece, and then she informs them about the differences between minerals as this process helps them connect to Mother Earth’s gems.
“The pricing of a mineral depends on the quality, rarity and color of the mineral not the size. It’s like a diamond,” Empress explains. An example of this would be how an amethyst that has small points (or facets) but is deep and rich in color is more valuable compared to a larger piece where the color is not as vibrant.
Color is also the most important aspect of selection for the design process. Designers come to Empress with a color palette and often specific designs that they wish to integrate into the home. Empressive GeoDesigns creates custom pieces to fit any color and room setting. “I work with them to select the correct mineral for their needs and then design and build a piece around their concept,” says Empress.
“We work in tandem with designers to accessorize the home. We will bring as many as 20 pieces to place and allow the designer and client to choose,” she explains.
Empress’ love affair with minerals began when she was 4 years old when, after misbehaving, she was told to sell garden variety rocks as a punishment. She went door to door and sold every last one. Her love of minerals grew and, after collecting for herself, she began giving minerals as gifts, which eventually led to selling them. “I was introduced to minerals from Australia and fell in love with the color and structure. This was my inspiration to create my mineral art pieces,” Empress remembers. Today, Empressive GeoDesigns is the culmination of more than 30 years of work with semi-precious stones, and the store carries material from around the world—with bright blue and green minerals from the Congo, deep purples from Brazil and Paraguay, and white quartz crystal from the central region of the United States. Empress selects her minerals based on trends in the fashion and design industry. Currently, the Pantone colors for 2016 are “Rose Quartz” and “Serenity,” so she is filling her showroom with rose quartz, of course, and blue calcite. For Empress, minerals are Earth’s original fashion statement and she wants to help others connect with these beautiful works of nature. “I love bringing minerals into a home so there is a personal touch with nature,” she says. “The designers use fabric and hard goods in their designs, and they use my store as one of their resources to add a little piece of Mother Earth.”