Trying Out Enchanted Crystal, the Birchbox for Crystals

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Photo: Gabriella Paiella

Birchbox seems like a quaint product of a distant past, now that we have a subscription box for seemingly everything imaginable — including Barkbox for dogs, Lola for tampons, five separate options for sex toys, and Mantry, for men held captive by their own masculinity when it comes to making snack choices.

As certain products and practices have migrated from the hippie-dippie fringes firmly into the mainstream, it was only a matter of time before they also became order-able via subscription box, instead of just being available at that one store in your town’s strip mall that sells handblown bongs and perpetually reeks of incense. Crystals — admired for both their decorative and purportedly healing qualities — are more popular than ever, counting Spencer Pratt and Katy Perry among their fans. Goddess Provisions is a subscription-box service that’ll ship a crystal to you monthly, along with other “high vibe lifestyle goods.” MoonBox, by Gaia Collective, gets you crystals, essential-oil blends, mantras, and more.

But if you’re looking to go all-out on the crystal front, there’s Enchanted Crystal.

Enchanted Crystal was founded by Adam Reff Bienenfeld, a 32-year-old California native who now resides in Portland, Oregon, and who sounds precisely as chill as you’d expect someone who runs a subscription-box service exclusively for crystals to sound. Before his current gig, he did bodywork and taught yoga; in his mid-20s, he befriended a guy named Todd who imported crystals and gemstones from around the world. He’d provide his services to Todd, and Todd would pay him in crystals and minerals, which was his gateway into the crystal business. “My collection over the course of the next few years grew to be huge. I would give away 60 to 75 percent of the crystals, to mainly my girlfriend at the time — she’d get first pick. I didn’t realize how much they were worth,” Bienenfeld says. “I’d give an acquaintance a crystal that I didn’t realize was worth $300 at their birthday party. I just got really stoked on giving them away.”

Near the end of 2014, he started an Instagram account in an attempt to monetize his enthusiasm for sharing crystals, and business quickly took off — he now has over 82,000 followers on the platform. His old friend Galen Brazell joined up with him a year later, and soon after that they decided to try out the subscription-box model, which they officially launched last February. For $28, you will get a standard box of three to six small-to-medium crystals, while the premium box option costs $56 and includes four to eight small-to-large crystals. Bienenfeld still attracts the majority of his business via Instagram, and says that his customers include everyone from seasoned collectors to newbies. He estimates that around 75 percent of them are women.

I’d recently become, let’s just say, crystal-curious (I fully blame the stolen-Moon-Juice-crystal saga), so I tested out a July Enchanted Crystal box, which included amethyst, aragonite, geode, and Iceland spar calcite, among others. The box typically comes with a crystal grid hand-printed on organic cotton as well as a crystal guide, though those components were not in mine, due to a logistics mix-up. I was immediately annoyed by this, but then decided that someone who’s into crystals would instead just take this as a sign from the universe, and that I should not let something so minor harsh my mellow.

After I got over the missing grid, the first thing I noticed was that there were so many crystals in my box — far, far too many crystals for one person to accumulate, month after month. I remembered Bienenfeld telling me he’s had thousands of crystals in his life, and I began to hyperventilate. In general, I’m anti-subscription box for the very simple reason that I hate having too much stuff: I’m an early adopter of the tiny-house movement (I live in a small New York apartment), and have a constant, manic compulsion to tidy. For most well-adjusted people, subscription boxes are an opportunity for surprise and delight, so take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Prior to receiving the box, I had impatiently insisted on asking, “What do crystals do?” — a question that reveals all too much about why I will never actually be a crystal person. Bienenfeld eschews following crystal guides, choosing instead to speak more generally about “energy.” “So the way I interact with crystals is, I’ll just see a crystal or pick one up and I’ll feel drawn to have it in my pocket,” he explained to me. “Just to hang out with it for a week, just hold it, and it will be my little buddy. And I don’t exactly know what it is doing, but I feel like it does something.”

Following Bienenfeld’s method, I stuck the crystal that I felt most drawn to — a small, clear variety — into my pocket and held onto it for a day, until I forgot about it and tossed the dress I was wearing in the laundry. The rest remained on my desk because I didn’t feel like schlepping them from home to work every day. Did I notice any sort of actual difference in my day-to-day life because of them? No, not particularly, though they did make my otherwise-dreary cubicle look much nicer — and me, much chiller. After surveying my crystal riches, far too much for one woman to hold onto alone, I invited a couple of my colleagues to take their pick from my crystal collection. I, too, was “stoked” on giving them away (though I hid the prettiest one in my desk drawer so nobody would choose that one, so maybe that changes things a bit).

But my time with the crystal box would all be for naught if I didn’t have some answers in the case that had been haunting me over the past month: that of Moon Juice’s stolen rose quartz. After the theft, owner Amanda Chantal Bacon had warned in an Instagram post: “To whomever took her out the door, you do not want the energy of a stolen crystal, please trust me!” Bienenfeld hadn’t heard of the kerfuffle, and remained impressively diplomatic in his answer. “That’s too bad that their crystal was stolen. That’s a bummer, and I’m sorry to hear that because I’ve had crystals stolen from me and it doesn’t feel good,” he said. But as far as the thief damning themselves to negative energy? “I feel like unless like you’re some kind of wizard, you really don’t know the laws of karma and the vibes, so I don’t know. I’d like to say that’s bad vibes and bad karma, but maybe not.”

With that answer, I felt more enlightened already.