How Gemology has built a skincare brand around trace elements found in gemstones
Founder Chrystelle Lannoy has long been a gemstone enthusiast, and in 2004 she followed her intuition to use them in skincare and to create her very own brand, Gemology. Having spent more than a decade in the industry, working for big multi-national companies, Lannoy is considered a pioneer in her field. We speak to Gemology Cosmetics’ International Business Developer Margaux Rieutort about the intriguing science behind the brand’s gemstone power.
CHRYSTELLE HAD ALREADY SPENT SEVERAL YEARS IN THE SKINCARE BUSINESS BEFORE SHE CREATED GEMOLOGY. HOW DID SHE COME UP WITH THE IDEA?
Since she was a little girl she had a passion for gemstones. She was really intrigued by them, and she had the intuition that the stones could have an effect on the skin. When she had this idea for Gemology, it was really based on intuition. She didn’t know if it would actually work, or if it was just a concept.
HOW DID SHE DO ALL HER RESEARCH?
So she was lucky enough to have a husband who has a PhD in biology and pharmaceuticals. He had his own company and his own lab, creating formulations for big brands. So she worked with this lab for three years on developing the brand. Ingredients like these stones didn’t exist back then. So it was really brand new. When she first went to the lab with her ideas and told them she wanted to use gemstones, they all looked at her and said, “What? You want us to use a rock?” [laughs]
So she had to do a lot of research. She wanted to use it as an ingredient, but she also wanted the products to be paraben-free, ethanol-free and so on. So no preservatives. That was also tricky.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MAIN GEMSTONES YOU USE?
We use 20 gemstones throughout the line. In each product we use about one to three stones. Chrystelle is always exploring new ideas. In 2014 we introduced a new stone, blue amber, which is a stone that changes its color. It’s able to stimulate the immune system.
So peridot for example contains a lot of magnesium to stimulate the cell energy. This is in the White Pearl Serum.
We also have an anti-stress face serum with peridot. We use all those trace elements and those stones in order to stimulate a specific function of the skin.
The iron from sapphire for example stimulates the collagen synthesis to strengthen the skin.
Ruby, which contains chromium, regulates the lipolysis, so it’s very good for combination skin products.
Jade is rich in silicon, so we use it in dry skin products.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE STONE?
Diamond – the diamond line has been our bestseller since the launch. The diamond cream was one of the first products that Chrystelle formulated. When she started, she launched three creams – diamond, ruby and sapphire. So the three have been following us ever since.
When the lab saw the results of the diamond cream, they didn’t believe at first the results they were getting. This is the only stone that doesn’t have any trace elements but the soft focus effect of the diamond is so strong and so wonderful that we’re able to have these immediate, visible effects, improving the radiance and the youth of the skin.
Customers want immediate solutions. With the diamond line, when you apply it, you see results immediately. For the formulation, we combine it with hematite for the serum. Hematite has the strongest concentration of iron, so it’s a real collagen synthesis booster. It’s very strong, and if you combine it with diamond, you improve the radiance.
Sapphire is also rich in iron, but we use it for sensitive skin in that case to also boost the collagen synthesis and we combine it with lapis lazuli to strengthen the skin. It’s rich in sulfur, and sulfur soothes the skin and improves the strength of the skin on a daily basis.
HOW MANY PRODUCTS AND TREATMENTS ARE THERE?
We have 18 face treatments and 13 body treatments, and we have about 45 products.
WHERE IS GEMOLOGY AVAILABLE?
In 28 countries. Asia is our strongest and biggest market. In Macau, Gemology is available at the Iridium Spa at The St Regis Macao.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BRAND’S BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR?
The launch in China. It took a long time. It’s very tough, but it’s such a beautiful and nice market to be in. We’re still in the launching phase.
WHAT IS GEMOLOGY CURRENTLY WORKING ON?
Every year we have a new product. This year it was the White Pearl line.
But we’re always working on new products. We’re looking at a complementary product right now, so maybe some perfumes and so on to complete the whole Gemology experience. It’s to make it more of a sensorial experience.