Gemstone Source Tip: Crystal River Gems in Pittsburgh

Foreground: Bloodstone
Foreground: Bloodstone

I am a gemstone and crystal hoarder. I’m not an expert in rocks and minerals, but I am a zealous enthusiast and for the most part, can identify most common stones. Hubby, a world traveler, makes a point to bring back stones and crystals for me from wherever he goes, and not from stores at retail price points, oh heavens no– he’s not that kind of guy anyway. He’s an adventurer, rock climber, hiker, goes places where there is no running water, plumbing, electricity, or internet. Those are the places he brings home rocks and crystals for me from. I also happen to work for a company that owns a couple of mines and trades internationally in natural resources, so that helps. Finally, I buy a ton of stones on my own. Most places I buy from are ehh, okay, that will do. But this place… omigosh this place…. Crystal River Gems in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Crystal River Gems - Card and Assortment IIt started with a personal hunt for tumbled malachite. I bought some from this other seller, who will go unnamed, and was disappointed. It was expensive and then the stones that came were, for one, small, all under 1.0 inch, lackluster, and some were even chipped. I was displeased, but still needed to restock my personal malachite collection. Then I stumbled upon Crystal River Gems.

Okay first of all, they were selling the same weight of malachite and same size description at a slightly lower price than the place I had just purchased from. So right away I was a touch skeptical. Here is what came:

Malachite from Crystal River Gems
Malachite from Crystal River Gems

Every one of those stones is over 1.0 inch long. Over! Some close to 2.0 inches. The pieces have a great meaty roundness to them, not like some sliver morsels of gemstones that you get when you order in bulk. I also ordered the bloodstones you see above. I’m always in short supply of bloodstones, it seems, as I work frequently with them. Feels like everyone and their mother I metaphysically empower stones via sigils for need bloodstone. Anyway.

Selenite Wand
Selenite Wand

As you can see, I bought a ton of other stones in my order and in the course of the purchase, had conversations with the seller to learn more about what they do. The more I learned, the more I loved. It turns out they’re a small local seller, a mom-and-pop business located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Selenite Palm Stone
Selenite Palm Stone

By the way, Crystal River Gems sells very, very reasonably priced selenite. Selenite is one of those stones those who do divinations as a profession will want to have nearby. Selenite palm stones and selenite wands emanate a balancing energetic field that has a calming effect over those in its vicinity. It heightens intuition and clairvoyance, and is said to help you connect or channel higher spirit realms. It is also a healer’s tool for clarifying the aura. True or not, I find that I like having some selenite handy when I’m doing readings for people.

Crystal River Gems - Black Tourmaline
Black Tourmaline

Black tourmaline or schorl, by the way, is another one of those stones that metaphysicians of all paths, East and West, tend to have around. In feng shui, it’s believed to shield from the harmful effects of electromagnetic frequencies or EMF waves and neutralize geopathic stresses. Ceremonial magicians believe it protects against demons and lower realm spirit entities and is a must for high energy rituals, summonings, and conjuration. New Age practitioners believe that black tourmaline forms a psychic shield and blocks out negativity. If you click on the linked photo above, it should take you to a keyword search on the Crystal River Gems website showing all black tourmaline products. As you can see, super reasonably priced. Buy individual raw, rough pieces here.

Natural Tumbled Gemstones
Natural Tumbled Gemstones

One thing I love to do is test my luck by buying assorted stones, like the one pictured above. $6.00 for that bag! Seriously. The linked photo takes you to the webpage that I bought the stones from. These are small, tiny, cute little stones all under 1.0″ but you’re getting a really good assortment. This time, the up side is I got tumbled emerald, moonstone, howlite, and some beautiful jaspers; down side is a lot of pale rose quartz. I’m kind of in surplus right now when it comes to rose quartz. Oh– when you order assorted gems from Crystal River, make sure you read the description. They do sell both natural and dyed. I tend to shy away from dyed stones, therefore look to make sure I’m ordering natural gems only.

Okay. Now I need your help. See below pic.

Click image file to enlarge.
Click image file to enlarge.

I’m wondering if anyone out there can help me identify some of these stones. One of the drawbacks of buying assorted stones in bulk is they don’t always come labeled. The above are raw, rough natural stones. By the way, you can buy raw, rough gemstones in bulk from them. Here’s a link. Psst… they also have a collection of $1.00 rocks. How nuts!

1 – Rose quartz

2 – Unidentified I

3 – Sodalite

4 – Unidentified II (best guess thanks to Instagram friends: apatite)

5 – Amethyst

6 – Chrysocolla

7 – Unidentified III (snow quartz and… ???)

8 – Unidentified IV (best guess: aquamarine)

9 – Black epidote? Or maybe black kyanite? (those were my best guesses…)

10 – Blue Kyanite

Unidentified I
Unidentified I
Unidentified II
Unidentified II
Unidentified III
Unidentified III
Unidentified IV
Unidentified IV

Before this blog post has gone live on my site, I’ve already placed my second order with these great folks!

Crystal River Gems - Card 1

15 thoughts on “Gemstone Source Tip: Crystal River Gems in Pittsburgh

  1. Chris

    Hello Benebell!

    I am definitely checking out this place! Thank you so much for the recommendation.
    I compared your Unidentifieds to some in my collection.

    I – Raw emerald
    II – Yep, I agree with blue apatite.
    III – Hmmm. Maybe a black tourmalinated quartz? Least sure about this one.
    IV – Also, looks like aquamarine to me.

    …And your #9 looks more like black kyanite to me than epidote. Black kyanite can form fan-like patterns, whereas epidote seems to cleave in smooth lines (I’m no expert! This is what my epidote looks like). Your specimen appears to have clusters of small fans.

    I hope this has helped!
    All the very best,


    1. I think you’re right about the black kyanite vs. epidote. Thanks so much for the tip! I’ll update my personal records. And THANK YOU so much! Your knowledge of stones impresses me greatly and I’m all starry eyed! Thank you!!


      1. Victoria

        1. Definitely Raw Emerald
        3. Rainbow Moonstone would be my guess because it looks closest to that(:
        4.Green Calcite! For sure(:
        I collect stones myself, but only in the rough/raw form so these were pretty familiar to me!


  2. Kat

    I just can’t keep quiet about this, the new agey gemstone collecting. Please research how utterly environmental destructive the mining operations are, world wide, to collect these pretty sparklies. The earth is destroyed, landscape is destroyed, wild animals are displaced/killed, rivers are polluted, major human rights violations for the workers, etc. Mining for gemstones is a nightmare operation of the worst kind. Please research this for yourself, be content with the collection you have, and don’t continue to buy and support this hideous business. Thank you.


    1. I don’t view my personal practice and work with gemstones as “new agey gemstone collecting,” but I can understand and appreciate where you’re getting that notion.

      Perhaps a more nuanced education on mining, or more specifically, the small-scale mining that takes place to collect most of these semi-precious crystals and gemstones you see here, how they’re generally incidental to mining exploration, and the greater balancing of harms would better round out your own views on the subject matter. True– traditional large-scale mining operations, especially for diamonds or gold, are destructive to the environment, so if you want to wage war, please pick your battles.


      1. Kat

        No, I can’t at all agree that these semi-precious stones are “incidental to mining exploration”. There is a huge market for these items; they are the reason for mining, to find this commodity and sell it. Even if semiprecious gemstone mining was small scale (mostly not) or “incidental to mining exploration”, the glaring fact is that there is major destructive mining “exploration”. I don’t have more to say and will unsubscribe from blog/newsletter. I can’t support a person who cares about the earth and her creatures selectively-it’s okay to rape the earth as long as you and many others like you can have your new agey sparkly stones. And really, do you stone buyers really think all these beautiful rocks have only positive energy vibes for humans? Consciousness, or energy, at all levels, exists in every molecule of the universe. Think these rocks that were ripped from the earth are radiating love and good stuff for all you people who use them? Think again.


        1. For someone as intelligent as you clearly are with so much to contribute, it sure would be nice to also see a proportionately open heart big enough to fit us all. All my best to you and yours! ❤


  3. Anne-Marie

    I do not know anything about the properties of Gemstones, healing vibrational energies or otherwise. I see them purely as beautiful, inspiring objects .

    My favorite gemstone is Amber. One of my dreams in life, is to go Amber hunting on a Danish beach early in the morning after a storm hit in Wintertime, for this it is the Amber will be most likely found.

    Amber and Denmark

    My favorite Amber is the color of Egg Yolk/Antique but it is not so easy to get hold of because it is in demand and expensive. One day I would like to have a Rune set made out of this semi-precious materials. In the meantime, I satiate my desire with little pieces and have just ordered some Dominican Green Blue Amber to put into my Prosperity and Wealth bowel the creation of which was a very therapeutic endeavor. I also like other Gemstones, so really appreciate learning of Crystal River Gems existence, and hope that they do reasonable international shipping.


    For blog site readers who may be interested in healing read on.

    Stone Medicine: A Chinese Medical Guide to Healing with Gems and Minerals Hardcover – 24 Mar 2016 by Leslie J. Frank

    “In addition to herbalism and acupuncture, Chinese Medicine has a rich tradition of using stones as medicine, passed from generation to generation for thousands of years. In this comprehensive guide and extensive Materia Medica, Leslie J. Franks presents the Stone Medicine teachings of Dr. Jeffrey C. Yuen, an 88th generation Taoist priest from the ancient lineage of the Jade Purity School, which dates to the Han dynasty, 206 BCE.

    Detailing the therapeutic properties of 200 gems, stones, minerals, and crystals, Franks explains the physical, emotional, and spiritual conditions each stone can treat and how their color, form, hardness, and energetic qualities affect us according to Chinese Medicine.

    She examines the chemistry and sacred geometry of crystal structure, revealing how the minerals contained in the stones affect our physiology by supporting our Jing (Essence); by nourishing Qi (energy), blood, and fluids; and by clearing Wind, Cold, Damp, and Heat conditions that can lead to disease.

    Including a thorough primer on Traditional Chinese Medicine and backed by modern scientific research, this book explains how stones access our deepest layers, vibrating ever so slowly, to initiate deep lasting change.”


    1. This is wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing! And yes, stones are very much a part of traditional metaphysical practices, embedded deeply into cultures so old that to refer to this is “New Age” as some have earlier in the comments section is deeply disappointing to me. It shows white privilege at its most ignorant.


  4. Raw emerald
    Blue Apatite
    Rainbow moonstone / labradorite moonstone. (The black is black mica)
    Green aventurine.

    And it’s definitely black kyanite.

    100% certain 😁

    And holy cow I just realized how old this post is 😅


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