Most rock shops are retail outlets. Others are dealers that sell gems, minerals, and lapidary supplies.
Sales staff must be familiar with different types of gems and crystals. They may also need to know their symbolic significance. Although some customers may come in with an idea as to exactly what they want, staff may be asked for advice. Loose stones are generally placed out in boxes. Most of the rocks sold are of low intrinsic value. They include quartz and rose quartz crystals and common rocks such as calcite and citrine. Amethyst is also fairly common, and popular in collections.
More valuable stones such as tourmaline and topaz may be kept in a secure area. Shops may also sell simple jewelry, although are they are seldom made with precious gems such as diamond. Beads made of certain stones are also popular, especially garnet beads. Many rocks come in different colors. Agate is often striated in many shades.
Some stones are sold in their polished form. Shops also sell geodes, which can be broken to reveal crystals within. Fossils are also popular additions to rock collections. Workers need to be able to identify them. Workers need to know which minerals are sedimentary and which are volcanic.
Workers may also be asked the provenance of rocks. In some cases, which quarry stones come from is known. In other cases, the stones may come from collectors, or from locations such as beaches. An older, disused quarry may be a popular destination for rock hounds after it has been worked out.
Managers sort stones by size and shape and price them. They work with quarries and collectors to obtain stock. Rock shops are generally physical, online vendors also exist. Their continuing popularity is fueled by the attraction to the stones for use as decoration.