Foxtail Gallery is a hidden gem in Old Town Clovis. Actually, it’s a treasure trove of hidden gems — and minerals and fossils.
The gallery has been open nine years and is chock-full of crystals, stones, jewelry and more for enthusiasts and investors.
“We have anywhere from little polished rocks for kids starting rock collections all the way up to high end mineral specimens for serious collectors,” said owner Ethan Eliason.
He and his father, John Eliason, own Eliason Lumber in Fresno, and have collected minerals for as long as Ethan can remember.
“This,” Eliason said, looking around at the sparkling gallery, “started out as a collection. My dad has always collected fossils and minerals from mineral shows. The collection grew big enough that we decided to start a business out of it.”
At first, the father and son tried to sell minerals out of their lumber yard, but “we realized fairly quickly that a dirty lumber yard isn’t a good place to display nice stuff,” Eliason said. “So we started looking for a storefront.”
The duo looked at several locales in Fresno before attending One Enchanted Evening in Old Town Clovis about a decade ago, Eliason recalled.
“It was packed, shoulder to shoulder. We made the decision right then and there to move into that spot on Pollasky (Avenue),” he said. “We were there for four years until we outgrew that store and moved into here (at 614 Fifth St.). We really wanted more of a gallery setting.”
Upon entering the Foxtail Gallery, named for the family’s Shaver Lake property on Foxtail Lane, customers navigate past custom wood carvings created at Eliason Lumber, rock carvings from the Shona tribe of Zimbabwe and stunning amethyst cathedrals.
At the center of the store, in neat rows of bowls, are the shop’s bestsellers: tumbled stones. Kids love to carry around the smooth beauties in their pockets, and some people show up with handwritten lists of stones they need to complete their collections, Eliason said.
“One thing we never expected when we started the business is that a lot of people come in here to buy rocks for metaphysical purposes,” he explained. “Every stone has its own healing quality, or something along those lines.”
Amethyst is said to be a natural stress reliever, agate brings courage, aventurine attracts luck and citrine is a stone of light and happiness, according to the reference books sold in the store.
Employee and jewelry designer Karen Conley said amethyst, citrine and quartz are popular requests.
“It’s because we’re all energy and these have energy — they come from the earth,” she explained, motioning to the tumbled gems. “More people are coming into get stones than ever before. Quartz is an energy transmitter and amplifier. People come in for black tourmaline a lot because it deflects negative energy.”
Those customers carry the stones around in a pocket or in a pendant necklace, Conley said.
“A lot of times people will come in and they’re not sure what they’re wanting, but they’re attracted to a certain stone, and, sure enough, we look it up and it’s what they needed for getting through a difficult time or different things,” she said. “The stones all have different properties. I can never dispute any of it, because if it works for them, it works for them.”
An interest in rocks, minerals and their origins isn’t necessary to appreciate their beauty as decorative pieces. Lights shone on or through large crystals can accentuate any decor, and the gallery also stocks furniture featuring gemstones.
“We put a glass tabletop on top of an amethyst geode,” Conley said. “And you can incorporate them in your home like a natural work of art — the earth made it.”
Traffic was heaviest during the holiday season and winter break, when Conley saw many families discovering the shop for the first time.
“Kids love it. Collecting minerals is just fascinating to kids,” she said. “A lot of them are really interested and they collect and they know a lot. They’re like little sponges and just absorb that information.”
Various customers come in for varied interests, just like the people who work in and own the store.
“My interest is in perfect specimens,” Eliason said. “How it comes, straight out of the ground, is what really interests me.”
His father tends to go after larger pieces, like the huge geodes displayed in the gallery and at the family’s lumber yard.
Conley’s background is in graphic design, but she’s been selling jewelry exclusively for eight years. She enjoys creating one-of-a-kind, often asymmetrical jewelry the stones’ natural colors as her artist’s pallet.
“I’m kind of painting with stones, choosing them for color and texture,” she said. “I use a lot of old ethnic beads, like metal beads from Ghana.”
Nearly every content is represented in the goods sold at Foxtail Gallery. The Eliasons deal directly “with the people who are over there digging it out of the ground,” Ethan said.
“We have minerals from everywhere. We have a lot of good stuff from Europe, Asia, Australia, South America, the United States. We try to carry a variety of localities,” he said. “One of our newest endeavors is the Ethiopian opal. It’s fairly new to the market compared to the Australian opal, but it’s rivaling it in quality.”
While the Eliasons have been invited to different mines around the world, “a lot of them are kind of dangerous, unfortunately,” Ethan said. So they catch up in Tucson, Arizona, each year at the largest mineral show in the world.
“We meet with everybody, see what they dug up that year, see what’s new,” Eliason said. “Every once in awhile there’s a mineral find in a new locality.”
As the word gets out about Foxtail Gallery, customers are reaching out from farther away, Eliason said. “We’re shipping as far as the East Coast through Ebay,” he said.
614 Fifth St.