Berks County native Jacob Daniels has been making and selling jewelry locally and online since he was 13. Now, he and girlfriend Lindsey Bohn have their own West Reading storefront.
The Gem on Penn opened on June 12 at 611 Penn Ave., the culmination of Daniels’ lifelong fascination with crystals and Bohn’s dream of owning her own business.
The shop advertises gemstones, jewelry, crystals and art.
“We felt it definitely fit the vibe of West Reading,” Daniels said, noting gem shops are few and far between in the region. “I’ve been involved with crystals most of my life and we just wanted to bring some of that to the community.”
Daniels, 26, and an Exeter High School graduate, has been interested in crystals since he was 5 years old and began creating jewelry at age 13, initially selling his work at an area hair salon.
He later started his own online store, Doctor J Jewelry Design, selling wire wraps and crystals — but it wasn’t until he attended the Tucson Mineral Show, the world’s largest annual gemstone convention, that he decided to turn his passion into a full-time career.
“From there it was hook, line and sinker that this was what I was gonna be doing with my life,” Daniels said.
With Doctor J Jewelry Design, Daniels has had the opportunity to collaborate with artists and jewelers from all over the world. Now, he’s collaborating with Bohn’s business acumen to bring The Gem on Penn to life.
Bohn, 22, and a graduate of Hamburg High School, earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting at Penn State Berks in December.
Going into business for herself has always been a goal.
“My whole life I’ve been wanting to open my own business,” Bohn said, adding she had previously thought about starting a nail salon before meeting Daniels. “It’s perfect. I can be my own boss and with my accounting background I can do the taxes and manage the books.”
The couple started dating in August, and while Bohn wasn’t previously involved with crystals, she had an appreciation of jewelry and wound up diving into the hobby head first.
Then, Bohn and Daniels experienced love at first site when they found the eventual home of The Gem on Penn.
“It’s such a great spot,” Daniels said. “Great local shops. The atmosphere is unmatched in this part of Berks County.
“When we found 611, we knew right away it would flourish.”
The Gem on Penn also has art from local vendors available in store.
Daniels feels having a brick-and-mortar location can help expand his footprint in the industry beyond ecommerce while simultaneously helping more people get involved in the hobby.
“It’s great meeting local people, great to see youths come in with their parents,” Daniels said. “And parents are so happy because kids have a local crystal shop, which brings our hearts joy.
“We see ourselves in these young collectors.”
And for the uninitiated, gemstones are for everybody, Daniels said, issuing a reminder The Gem on Penn’s products can be used for home and office decor, or that custom jewelry can be designed around the stone of your choosing.
“We’re bringing some of nature’s beauty to The Ave,” Daniel said. “It’s a place that promotes good energy, and there’s a crystal for everyone.
“If someone’s having a rough week, we probably have a crystal for that. If someone wants to be able to speak their mind more and have confidence, we have a crystal for that. And we try to hit a variety of price points, so it’s not your average crystal shop where you walk in and have to break the bank.”