Fashion & Beauty

Hands of Spirit: A Look Inside the Crystals, Minerals & Jewelry

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Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, am I right, or am I right!? For Mirabai Nagle and her family, they not only love diamonds, they love everything from crystals, minerals and all other jewels. After being introduced by a mutual friend, Mirabai and I casually run into each other when taking a break from reality and treating ourselves to a few cocktails and appetizers on the town to chat about Hands of Spirit.

With my passion for fashion and her know-all intelligence with jewels, I had to pick her brain apart about her family business, Hands of Spirit. With drop-dead gorgeous photos of her custom made pieces, I knew there was a story behind the sparkle. Just as a forewarning, you’re going to want a piece of jewelry from this shop when you’re done reading this interview.

Where is Hands of Spirit and when did it open? Is this a family business?

“We are one small happy family business”

Hands of Spirit is located in the foothills of Boulder, Colorado. The business was started by my Mom, Karen Kuk-Nagle in 1995. I began “assisting” her when the business started, and essentially grew up working with her. My father, Bruce, joined the business full time in 2006. After I received my B.S. from Leeds School of Business at CU-Boulder, and my Graduated Gemology Degree from the GIA in CA, as well as worked for other companies for five years, I joined Hands of Spirit full time in 2012. My husband, Luke, joined us late last year and runs our eBay store. We are one small happy family business!

Hands of Spirit

What services do you offer?

Did you always want to work with these precious minerals? What’s your favorite part about your job?

When my Mom opened Hands of Spirit in 1995 as a healing practice, I told her she should sell crystals on the side, as she was using them in her healing work already. I didn’t know then that this was the business I would end up in, but besides fighting fires on the side, there is nothing in the world I would rather be doing. I get to play with crystals, gems and jewelry while working with my three most favorite people on this earth.

My favorite part of the job is that I wear so many hats. No two days are alike. I manage our social media, website, web store and our Etsy store. In addition, I take care of all the crystals in the Crystalline Temple, work at trade shows, design custom jewelry, buy and sell diamonds and colored gemstones. There are a few other things in there as well, but it is always something different and it keeps me on my toes.

What’s your go-to piece of jewelry for yourself? 

“I tend to wear my jewelry based upon my mood”

Hmmm, that is a hard question to answer. My mother matches her clothes to whatever jewelry she feels like wearing that day, however I tend to wear my jewelry based upon my mood. I would say the two pieces of jewelry you will be hard pressed to see me without, are my grandmother’s diamond necklace and my diamond emerald cut engagement ring. My husband and I hand selected the diamond at a JCK Las Vegas Show (the largest jewelry show in the U.S.), and then I designed the setting.

I will say that you will NEVER find my Mom without her 18K yellow gold Omega watch. She views it as a functional item. Plus I think it brings back memories of an Omega watch she had as a young girl that was stolen when their house in Chicago was robbed.

Hands of Spirit

Where do all the minerals and crystals come from? All from Colorado?

Our selection of gems, minerals, crystals and jewelry come to Hands of Spirit from every continent except Antarctica. One of the many things we are known for is our worldwide selection of gems and minerals. Many businesses focus on having minerals from just one region like South America, or China, however we like to have them from as many locations as possible.

There are quite a few minerals that do come from our wonderful state of Colorado though. A few are Rhodochrosite which is our state mineral, Aquamarine which is our state stone, Amazonite, Smokey Quartz and Barite to name a few.

What’s your favorite crystal, mineral or stone in the shop right now?

Between my mom and I, our top eleven favorite minerals that we carry right now are:

Sugilite (South Africa), Kunzite (Afghanistan) Chrome Diopside (Russia), Larimar (Dominican Republic), Lemurian Seed Crystals (Brazil), Vanadanite (Morocco), Koroit Opal (Australia), Cobalto Calcite (Morocco), Sphalerite (Spain), Dog Tooth Calcite (Tennessee), and Dioptase (Namibia).

Hands of Spirit

Is summer a busy or slow time for Hands of Spirit? What products sell the most during this time?

Summer is our time to catch up and create. Our last show was the second weekend of June, and we don’t have another show until September. It is kind of like summer break. We can organize and catch up from the hectic show season while focusing on business development.

In the 20 years that we have been in business, we have never really had an item that sells better at certain times of year. If we come back from a buying trip and we advertise the new finds, many of those sell right away, but otherwise, there is no rhyme or reason to how or what sells at Hands of Spirit.

Is there a price range at Hands of Spirit? Do you think it’s reasonable for everyone? 

“We have minerals from $1 to about $6,000”

This is one thing I love about Hands of Spirit, we have minerals from $1 to about $6,000. In all actuality, this is not a very high price point for the mineral or jewelry community. Some collectors, who collect specimens or jewelry items, can easily spend $50,000 on one piece. We are always happy to custom purchase an item for our customers; however, we try to make all of our hand selected crystals, minerals and jewelry available to everyone’s budget.

It makes me laugh when someone says an item is too expensive, this especially happens with jewelry. We will have a customer say $29 is too much for a pendant, but then I get the Nordstrom’s catalogue in the mail. Most of the jewelry in there is in the $100’s, and a lot of it is not even real, or it has been dyed or treated in some way. Sadly, many people don’t even know what they are buying, just that it is from a name brand store. Our jewelry is 100% natural and untreated and it is all hand selected by my parents and myself.

What’s the day to day work life like in the store? What’s the experience for customers? Intimate? Hands-on?

Day to day for me is checking all of our social media platforms … I do all this while I eat breakfast. Then there are usually 20 different little tasks that have to be done, stuff from finding where a lost price tag goes, to taking items off the internet that have sold on eBay or Etsy, to responding to emails and pulling rocks out to restock the Temple. I’m also able to work on getting product up on the website, Etsy or working on a blog/video that needs to be done when not interacting with customers or my parents.

As I said, it keeps me on my toes. It is pretty much the same for my parents, but for my mom, it is all her private sessions, bookkeeping and other tasks that keep the business running. My dad tends to work with the diamond buying side a lot, and he is our “Shipping and Creativity Department”. We keep him busy when getting packages ready for customers.

The experience for our customers who visit the Crystalline Temple is usually one of surprise and awe. Most people don’t realize how many different minerals there are in the world and the beauty of their color range.

Our setting here is very intimate. It can also be as hands on as the customer wants. We do everything by appointment at the Temple.

If clients are looking for a more exuberant setting, we suggest visiting us at a show. Shows have a lot of hustle and bustle and can be a ton of fun. Or for those customers who prefer to stay in the comfort of their own home, we suggest our website store, eBay store or Etsy store online.

When it comes to designing jewelry for Hands of Spirit, do you usually design unique pieces or can it be pretty traditional as well?

What is so incredible about designing jewelry, especially with the introduction of CAD (Computer Aided Design), is that the sky is the limit. I am able to create pretty much anything my customer wants design-wise. I have designed traditional pieces and I have designed pieces that are so unique and so one of a kind that I still have my breath taken away when I look at photos.

For people who don’t have a budget for custom work, I have thousands of settings and semi-mounts available with one phone call. Many of these settings can be semi customizable as well. We can set all sorts of different shapes and different stone types in them, choose the metal, and even choose the finish of the metal. This way the costs can be kept to a minimum as the item has already been designed.

Hands of Spirit Hands of Spirit

What separates your crystal and mineral company from other shops in Colorado?

There are some incredible jewelry companies and mineral companies in the Colorado area, but not both product lines together. We are unique because many of the hand selected minerals, crystals and cabochons that we sell, can be created into a one of a kind piece of jewelry for our customers. Our expertise in knowing what to look for when selecting these minerals is a skill that is a result of our many years of experience, and the love we have for the crystals.

Our vast selection of minerals is another thing that sets us apart. Not only do we have the mineral, but we usually have it from two to four different locations around the world, and in many different forms, from rough, to crystal to some kind of polished shape or carving.

We also have a lot of combined education to back us up. My Mom has been on the spiritual path since she was 17 and can assist a lot of the customers who are looking for minerals to work with their healing. She also is a chemist and worked in that field for 20+ years. This allows her to understand the science behind the minerals, so she meets the needs of the mineral collectors as well.

My father received his diamond certification back in 1986, which allows him to grade diamonds properly and then purchase them. He was also a photographer for over 20 years, and this has helped with taking photos for the website products.

I have a marketing degree and my graduate gemology degree, which allows me to better promote the business and of course buy diamonds and colored gemstones for my customers. I have trained with some of the most knowledgeable people in the fine jewelry industry, and this has given me a solid foundation to know exactly what I am looking for when I am purchasing these coveted stones.

I strive to explain every step of buying a gemstone to my customers so they have every opportunity to make an informed decision while getting the most for their hard earned money. I think the fact that we are a small family business and appreciate every customer that steps through our door, visits our website and comes to a show, sets us apart from everyone else.

Hands of Spirit

Do you have a goal in mind for Hands of Spirit? Do you want to expand or keep small?

My goal for Hands of Spirit is to expand our internet presence via our website, eBay and Etsy. Our crystals, minerals, and jewelry are so beautiful and we have invested so much energy into them, that we want to spread them across the globe. As for the custom jewelry, I would like to continue expanding my fine jewelry presence to clients who have a true appreciation of “bling”. We are also working on a new product line called the Hands of Spirit Gemstone Enrichment Collection©. Check back with us for exciting details on this!

Check out Hands of Spirit here:

Questions for Mirabai and her family? Ask away in the comments section, and we’ll get back to you.

Kassidy (or more commonly known by her friends as Kass or Sass), was born and raised in the Bay Area, California. As a graduate from the University of Colorado at Boulder, she completed her four years with a soccer scholarship and English Lit. degree. Kassidy finds interest in all things style, beauty and entertainment, feels most complete when by the ocean and living a simpler life, and loves hearing "feel good" songs for the first time, beautiful sunny days in Boulder, and transforming into Beyonce when on the dance floor. Her motto? Keeping the sass alive.