Denver. March 17, 2021. Socks, cosmetics, food … it was only a matter of time before a gemstone outfit joined the world of subscription services. Enter LuxeRox, a new monthly service that delivers crystal and gemstone specimens to your door.
Founders’ names will be familiar: Kelle Selcer Phoundoulakis and Nan Lung Palmer, with Kelle’s husband, Manos, pitching in (he created their proprietary gem pedestals) when called upon. All three are beloved fixtures in industry, with Palmer having done stints at David Yurman and John Atencio before opening her own FACEts Jewelry Consulting outfit, while the Phoundoulakises are known from Manos’ years of service at Omi Privé and now Gems of Note.
The idea for the business was born at Manos’ birthday dinner (an intimate affair because of Covid-19) in August 2020. Palmer lived nearby and joined them. Once the drinks flowed, so did the laughs and business ideas, one of which was a subscription service for mineral and crystal enthusiasts. Two days later, they met again for another (boozy) meal, this time brunch, cementing their decision to move forward with the aptly named LuxeRox.
Manos has long been a gem specimen nerd, with he and Kelle visiting the Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines show in France during the summer of 2019. They were on their way to Greece, an annual visit to see family, and took this pitstop as well as one to London to meet with another longtime mineral enthusiast. Of course, annual visits to the gem shows in Tucson, too, reinforced all three of the friends’ affinities for rocks.
Full disclosure: Palmer had attended the Tucson shows just once (in 2020), but the experience was powerful. Plus, she had ample experience as a merchandise buyer and had clients in the colored stone world whom she helped source stones and minerals. Fortunately, by the time this idea came to fruition, she had some breathing room in her schedule to take on the new project.
By Thanksgiving, they had set up @luxeroxbox on Instagram, complete with photos of initial specimens and Manos’ clever eco-friendly, heat-resistant gem stands in a hexagon shape with interior magnets that allow bases to cling together for display.
Their vision? Affordable gemstone samples displayed in an attractive way and positioned in the market between metaphysical stone junkie and gem lifestyle enthusiast.
“We’re approaching it from a home décor perspective,” says Palmer. “We offer a sprinkling of scientific facts and a beautiful piece of raw mineral or crystal structure that is packaged nicely. The product information is light and fun, though we do tell you about its metaphysical properties.”
The specimens are substantial, filling up the palm of a hand. The subscription service itself is flexible, with buyers allowed to direct specific shipments to friends as gifts. A calendar of scheduled deliveries exists. “We reveal the different minerals six months out at a time,” says Kelle. Those who don’t want to commit to a membership can make purchases by way of a “Buy Now” button. Members, however, get discounted rocks.
Subscription tiers to date include three- and six-month commitments at $95 a month for three months (which factors in a 20-percent discount on the Buy Now price) and $85 a month for six months, with a 30-percent discount. Specimens thus far include fluorite, amethyst, and ammonite, among others.
One of the trickiest parts of this new endeavor? Figuring out how much inventory to maintain. “We have limited stock now, so we’ll see how it goes,” adds Kelle. Also helpful? Buyers can cancel at any time and shipping is always free.
To be sure they were ready for their debut, the partners trekked to the few recent Tucson gem shows that did occur, stocking up on stones. One of Palmer’s young sons even pitched in, serving as quality control, upon her return. “We packaged the gem stand, pouch, and mineral and had my son stress test it—kick it around like a soccer ball,” says Palmer. The result? No damage done.
Not surprisingly, LuxeRox has a charitable angle, earmarking a percentage of sales for Gem Legacy, a nonprofit that aims “to create thriving colored gemstone mining communities,” according to its website, through tool donations and education, among other initiatives.
LuxeRox went live during the last week of February. Its success? Mushrooming. “We’re planning out minerals for the next six months and reaching out to some vendors about replenishment,” says Kelle.
The contents of each LuxeRox package shipped: a velvet storage pouch, stand with
lucite pegs for positioning, and a gem specimen.
Fluorite is one of the gem specimens available in the subscription service.
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