A Glen Ellen gem
By Mia Epstein
One of the community’s little-known treasures is the crystal sales booth on Arnold Drive. Natassia Valjean creates beautiful jewelry using crystals and wire. Each crystal holds different powers and can affect various parts of your life. Rose quartz, for example, is known as the love crystal, perfect for enhancing love in relationships and in life. Valjean was born in Sonoma and raised in Grass Valley. At the age of 17, she moved to Kenwood and has lived there ever since. She has two young children who are the main focus of her life; she began making jewelry to pass time after they went to bed. After beginning this hobby seven months ago, she realized she had a talent for wirewrapping and the creativity for jewelry-making.
Before designing crystal jewelry, she attended college in Santa Rosa and became a paralegal and esthetician. Once Valjean became a stay-at-home mom, she started making jewelry in the evenings. At first, she had no intention of making money off her new hobby. However, she decided to hold a pop-up on Valentine’s Day outside of her father’s auto repair shop, Sonoma Volkswagen and Import Repair on Arnold Drive in Glen Ellen. Sales exceeded her expectations and it was clear it could become a real business. She sells her jewelry outside, making her business COVID-19-friendly.
As she gained more clients and the business expanded, she began to sell not only at her father’s auto repair shop on Saturdays, but also at the Tuesday night farmers markets in Sonoma, the Wednesday night Cotati markets, and at Oliver’s Market. She is very skilled in wire-wrapping, which is the process of wrapping the crystals so they can be attached to a necklace chain. She can even write on the crystals using wire. Customers often order a loved one’s name as a birthday gift.
Her gift for wire-wrapping words, a unique skill, was inspired by watching her mother write calligraphy when she was young. Seeing the calligraphy at a young age instilled a natural talent for writing stylistically. She sees her jewelry passion continuing and hopes to eventually try soldering and casting with silver.
A positive customer experience is vital to Valjean. “The most important thing for me is to make a connection with the customers and sell to them at an affordable price,” said Valjean. Her low prices set her apart from other crystal sellers and she has many returning shoppers.
She loves to interact with customers and help them find exactly what they are looking for. With crystal sales, a main focus is finding a crystal that has the specific spiritual power you require. She loves when a customer comes to her shop and says something along the lines of, “I want a crystal that represents love because I am buying this for my wife.” This makes her feel like she can help someone gain happiness and hope in whatever they wish.
Valjean’s favorite crystal is abradorite, which helps with self-love and inner strength. This is a reflection of her strong character as she runs her own business while always remaining friendly. Her goals are to spread creativity, have positive interactions with customers, and inspire joy for all.