July 23, 2024
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Pet Stones: the Esoteric Charm of Rock Companions

As you may know if you’re interested in esotericism, rocks are known for their powers. Labradorite is favored by introverts, topaz is revitalizing, and malachite is said to regulate cycles. But did you know that simple stones have recently emerged and are being presented as the new pet? Discover the fabulous story of Pet Stones!


History of Pet Stones

In 1975, Gary Dahl, a copywriter from California, launched a company: Rock Bottom Productions. His idea was easy: to sell companion rocks for $3.95 each. But Gary Dahl went all out with his concept: the pet stone (called Pet Rock) was sold in a perforated box similar to those used for live animals. A Pet Rock Training Manual was also included. Indeed, you could teach your Pet Stone commands like “Stay,” “Sit,” and “Roll over”!

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The idea, often seen as a joke, allowed its creator to sell nearly a million Pet Rocks during the Christmas season of 1975.


Why Adopt a Pet Stone?

A pet, without the drawbacks

Gary Dahl developed this idea after hearing his friends complain about their pets: the pet stone emerged as the perfect solution! Indeed, there is no need to feed, train, take out for walks, or wash it. It’s the simplest possible pet!


A Constant Companion

Some have a pet, others have a cuddly toy even at the age of 30, and some can’t go out without a lucky charm. With the Pet Stone, it’s the same. This rock, as simple as it is, brings presence and comfort to its owner. It’s not just a rock, it’s the embodiment of a presence, a reality created between the Pet Stone and its owner. Beyond the sometimes broken bonds due to screens and social media, the Pet Stone appears as a real and powerful presence like the rock itself.

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The Pet Stone has become a pop culture element, with appearances in several movie and TV works. For instance, the character Pet Rock in Minions: The Rise of Gru, which belongs to Otto, and a POP figure has been created in its likeness. Another example is Rocky, Patrick’s Pet Rock in Spongebob Squarepants (Season 3 episode 27 aired in 2003). Patrick enters his friend in a snail race, which… it wins.


Photos © Universal Pictures / Nickelodeon


A Trend in South Korea

South Korea seems to be the country where the Pet Stone is most prevalent. How can this be explained?

A Tradition in Korea

Firstly, a Korean term refers to an observation stone, a rock resembling a natural landscape: suseok. Highly prized at the end of the 20th century, suseok has become a collectible item, a lucky charm capable of bringing fortune and wealth. An article in the Korea Herald features a testimonial from a 36-year-old man living in Seoul who grew up with a suseok.


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Mass Loneliness

However, the tradition and humor of the Pet Stone are just the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, in Korea, loneliness seems to be a national mood. And it was very present during the 2020 pandemic. There are numerous testimonials from Koreans indicating they bought a Pet Stone during this global shutdown.

A smooth rock has thus become the friend of thousands of Koreans locked up alone at home. They have been able to give them nicknames, dress or paint them, sleep with them, confide their secrets to them, as they might have done with a pet. In the Korea Herald article, we can read that a retailer sells about 300 Pet Stones per month. The main customer is women, between 20 and 30 years old.

A simple solution, but a real problem.


How To Take Care of My Pet Stone?

How to Choose Your Pet Stone?

First, let’s look at this point: which stone to choose? You can simply buy a Pet Rock, which will be similar to all the others. But if you want more originality and uniqueness, you might find your stone in a specialty store or directly from nature. However, be careful: do not take any stone from protected areas.

After choosing the stone of your choice, based on its size, color, species, origin, you can give it a name. Yes, like a baby!


How to Clean My Pet Stone?

Depending on the nature of your stone, there may be contraindications. However, the procedure remains very common:

  1. Heat water in a basin
  2. Add soap
  3. Clean your Pet Stone with a sponge or cloth
  4. Dry it and let it air out


How to Spend Time with My Pet Stone?

The question may seem odd, but it’s very simple.

You just need to act as you would with a friend or a pet:

  • Place it on the table when you eat
  • Listen to music with it
  • Travel with it (in a small bag, in your pocket, around your neck?)
  • Build it a house (in a box with a small bed if you’re handy)
  • Celebrate your respective birthdays
  • The list is endless!



After the initial surprise and amusement, it becomes clear that the Pet Stone is not just a fad. Indeed, it becomes for many a substitute friend in our increasingly (dis)connected world.