BYU student Zach Burkard uses his lifelong love of rocks to create meaningful jewelry for his business Centered Stones.
“I have always loved rocks,” Burkard said. “As a kid, I always had rocks in my pocket that I would collect from the world around me.”
Burkard is passionate about creating ethically sourced jewelry. He does this by contacting the person who mined the stone so his customers can know where the stone came from and be confident in its quality.
“I’ve spent the last two years mining stones and compiling enough that, starting next year, every piece of jewelry I make will be made from stones I mined, cut and polished myself,” Burkard said.
Burkard works alongside his girlfriend, Olivia Rigby, to mine stones and create jewelry to sell at local markets.
“We typically pick out the stones that call to us and really experiment with the designs,” Rigby said. “The fact that everything is handmade and mined by us really sets Centered Stones apart from the rest.”
Burkard explained that stones and crystals can be healing and he hopes to create unique and beautiful ways that people can keep those healing properties on them at all times.
Burkard started his jewelry-making business in July 2021. He explained that the motivation to start Centered Stones came from the spiritual influences around him. While serving a mission in the Philippines, Burkard was introduced to the Buddhist religion.
“The Buddhist religion really opened my mind to new aspects of spirituality,” Burkard said.
After returning home, Burkard attended a retreat in Mexico where he was certified in energy work and guided meditation. Burkard credits his sister-in-law, Brea Burkard, for acting as his guide in the world of crystals.
“Zach has always had a natural curiosity about stones and crystals, especially when he would come to my house and see all the crystals I would have laying around,” Brea Burkard said. “He has been like a sponge when it comes to learning about what all the different crystals and stones mean and how they can help us.”
Brea Burkard explained that crystals and stones are a gift to humans from the earth that can support the energy in their lives. She explained that having crystals in your life can better connect you to the earth and yourself.
“You know you’re going to be getting a higher quality of stones when you buy from Centered Stones,” Brea Burkard said. “It’s like shopping at Walmart versus Restoration Hardware.”
Zach Burkard explained that Utah has been a very conducive environment for starting a small business, especially because so many people in Utah are entrepreneurs and small business owners.
“This is really something I treat as a hobby and passion project and as soon as it becomes something that is money-focused I try to pull myself back and find the joy in doing something I love,” Zach Burkard said.