the Big Apple: juicy (and sometimes rotten)…something for everyone!

PART ONE – SETTING THE SCENE

When I was new to Boston (nearly 30 years ago), I wanted a Massachusetts Avenue address – and then a “foot” in the Back Bay. All towns have their “it locations” – and I’ve lived and worked (specifically had shops) in a few: Harvard Square & Newbury Street, to be specific.

big city in lights

big city in lights (from last time in NY)

Now in a region – or country – there are also “it locations,” where “everything” seems to happen…and New York City is one of them…not just for New England, but for the U.S. (and the world as a whole, for that matter). So whenever I go to “The City” (and I’ve been many times), I brace myself for the best and the worst life has to offer. Nothing can prepare you for what really happens.

One thing I’m always reminded about is how well dressed (and clean) people stand out from the otherwise squalid environment of urban gloom and grime-covered pavements. It’s like everyone is living on an old movie set that was abandoned by the folks who’d built it, years ago. Of course, there’s new construction and opulence, but the primary feel is one of human overgrowth and decay, kept vital by new blood and throngs of people (from all walks).

Empire State, from the subway

emerging from the subway, into the skyline…the Empire State building

Into that “milieu” – and during a dreary, snowy day – I arrived, by bus this time, because I wanted a change from the mammoth undertaking of transporting a whole Expo display, loading in, setting up, interfacing with a relentless flow of onlookers, and later breaking down…only to make the long drive home (in the middle of the night).

I wanted to travel light, so everything had to fit into a backpack and a miniature-sized, rolling suitcase. This time I’d be doing “Crystal Readings & Wellness Sessions,” which is how I’d billed my Healer offerings for the Awaken Fair (their 2nd time in New York, and my first, with them).

I’ve worked with a lot on individuals – for 60-90 minute minimums – but here I’d be doing 15-30 minute sessions. It’s like “speed dating” for the New Age. But I surprised myself – adapted really well to the format – and I actually like it. You really can make a difference in someone’s life in just a quarter of an hour…by transporting them inward, and forward…and lending them some concrete (or stone, in this case) tools that serve to push their process forward.

Awaken Fair Healers

poster of Awaken Fair Healers

I wasn’t selling anything (but my services) – and because I was being nomadic – I needed to bring the best, but the smallest, of all the key stone varieties I have. On retrospect, I could probably have made due with fewer stones – but I wanted the full gamut, to have all my options open – plus, it filled the table nicely.

I’ve collected a good number of emails from my last to forays to New York – and a smattering of Facebook and other, longer term contacts – so I reached out…saying “I’m coming”…and encouraging folks to pre-book.

I even contacted a fellow Crystal worker [Kufunya Ife!], and asked if she could find me a “gig” [we knew each other in the music business] – and she did(!) – with a shop on 14th Street (Aum Namaste). The owner there was impressed with my credentials & web presence, and booked me for a few hours that Saturday (before the main event, which I’d originally come for, on Sunday). It turns out that I ended up working with a comparable number of people (say, a half dozen each) – both days – including some work on other practitioners (which is always a treat).

Aum Namaste

Aum Namaste shop

I won’t get into the particulars – or my technique – I think I lay that out pretty well on my Services page (on this site)…check that out for some more background…or shoot me any questions you may have [I like that, at CrystalConcentrics@gmail.com].

PART TWO: THE SHOPPING

What’s a trip to New York without some shopping!

Before I got lucky with that Saturday booking – and knowing there was no way I could bus down there first thing on Sunday (I would have had to have left by 4am!)  – I decided to make the journey early on Saturday (at the more civilized hour of 9am), so I could “have a look around” during the day.

I secured a place to stay with some friends – we’ve been meaning to connect for awhile – so thank you Arthur and Lisa…we had some great quality time that night, and first thing Sunday morning.

Rock Star Gems

replete with product (and possibly colored Citrine)

But there were some places – looming legends – I had to check out. I’d heard customers make mention of them, and had to see for them for myself, to learn what the excitement was all about.

So I walked from 31st St. to 28 St., to Rockstar Crystals – or actually, I walked by it – ’cause there was no store front! I realized they were upstairs, and walked by the door guy (who greeted me, asking where I was headed), and took the elevator up (one floor). Tremendous splendors awaited me behind the bolted, buzzer’d door.

It’s only one room, and not a very big one at that. I introduced myself immediately to the “boss on duty” (she had a younger woman assistant, too) – taking out my card – and inquiring as to whether they do wholesale. “No,” she was curt, didn’t even take my card. “Well you just blew that” I said to myself, vowing to look, but refusing to buy.

Rock Star shelves

shelves and shelves of product

It shouldn’t be that hard to be nice to people – but in New York, everyone’s bracing for offence – and studiously unimpressed with whomever you are. So I proceeded to look around, rebuffing her handing me a tray (since I wasn’t going to purchase anyway). We later, connected, on some level…but it seemed like “the damage had been done.”

The prices wowed me – many of them higher than mine – and as I often experience among others’ retail wares, I found myself wondering “why should this be so much, and that so relatively less?”

I have a strong, internal logic in my own pricing. If a tag’s high, there’s got to be a good reason. And I can explain it. But then again, I’m not “just an employee” – I’ve been the one selecting every one of my pieces – and I’ve also been around this stuff for 28 years!

Most people price merely as an equation of what they paid, using a standard percentage markup. I think that lacks imagination (but maybe makes up for it in practicality). Being into the metaphysics of what I’m selling, it’s not as simple as that. Crystals aren’t just a commodity, an object to be “moved,” like tennis shoes, or a jar of beans.

Apatite heart

gemmy Apatite heart

“How harmonious is the shape, color, texture – does it stand – are there others out there like it? Can I replace it easily?” These are the types of questions I ask myself. “Would I be willing to part with this for less?”

Anyhow, and conversely – “could I sell this if I bought it for this much?” – the shoe was on the other foot. I had to wonder if the prices I was looking at could work for my customers. Still, I often buy retail (yes, with sales tax!).

If a stone is awesome enough – even if it’s expensive, I’ll buy it anyway – I’m “omnivorous” like that. I consider myself an archive of Power Stones – collecting the best I can find for my classes and private work – it’s an added value to my Inner Circle.

Which doesn’t mean I don’t have exceptional stones for sale too – I certainly do – ’cause I “know” (that inner knowing), that not everything is meant for me. I have to be a conduit – not just a repository – for awesomeness. To that end, I have a new webinar series I’m starting, it’s called “Why it’s Awesome!” But I digress.

Rhodochrosite display

huge Rhodochrosite display

Rock Star is completely and utterly replete with inventory – rolling drawers, bins and trays – even acrylic cases bolted to the ubiquitous metal shelving units. I’m just now forgettings something heavy I’d wanted to get (chunks of blue Quartz). I was totally wowed by the sheer volume of Rhodochrosite – more in one place than I’d ever seen – but no “must have” pieces. I could go on, but you get the idea.

Still, I did manage to overcome my resistance to spending, and put together a modest collection (augmented by New York’s healthy, nearly 9% sales tax). A deep, semi-gemmy Apatite heart, and a perfect pigeon-blood Ruby crystal (ideal on the 3rd eye) came home with me (along with a few other items). I do shop with certain customers in mind, bringing their interests with me on these capers.

Astro Gallery

walking up to the Astro Gallery

Then I walked uptown – a good little distance (the city blocks aren’t short) – to 5th Avenue, where the upscale Astro Gallery of Gems has been since 1961. What a breath of fresh air, relative to the ubiquitous $1 pebble bins of most vendors’ crystal displays!  It’s great to see people valuing their showcasing opportunity (and their specimens) so highly. Yes – not all crystals cost nothing, and yes – many of them are worth more than cars.

Bolivian giant Amethyst cluster

Bolivian giant Amethyst cluster (25K)

They’ve got everything from a Lapis table top at 20K to a good selection of high end jewelry. Some of the staff knows more than others, but that’s true anywhere. And they were all nice – polite – and professional (even friendly, imagine that!).

We got into some intrigue around the pricing of a Sugilite – there was a mixup in cost calculation, and the weight was not measured correctly, at first  – but the boss on duty made good (to the best of his ability), and we had some vigorous banter about the behind-the-glass museum pieces (of which there were many!).

I ended up getting a bigger batch than I had at the other place – niceness pays off – and have had them mail it to me. They even gave me subway directions and ran after me, after they’d forgotten to give me my credit card. It felt good to be well received. A bit of good will goes a long way – from customer to seller – and vice versa.

museum quality pieces

museum quality pieces

A new acquaintance can grow into a trusted contact, when it becomes clear that everyone knows what’s going on, and you’re willing to meet them halfway.

TROUBLE AHEAD – LEARNING OPPORTUNITY

I was originally going to share only this last segment, as the full (and only) content of my blog. It was going to be called “Wish I could help (what to do when you can do no right)!”
I’d had such a wonderful weekend in New York – two days of readings – first at a shop, and then at a wellness fair. Great neighbors, beautiful clients, right up ’til the end. That’s when I bit into a bad apple – if it’s fair to say that – and got schooled.
Sometimes your hardest experiences have the most to teach you.
my Crystal Session table

my Crystal Session table

It was going nicely, at first. She stopped by my table and asked what I did – then she went and booked a half hour session – saying that she’d liked my honesty, and was really disappointed by the reading(s) she’d gotten from others (even there).

I did tell her (in advance) that what I do is to inquire as to where she’s at, and that we’d use the crystals to move her along in the desired, positive direction. She liked the idea of holding the crystals. Seemed like a pretty straightforward session coming up.
I can’t give you particulars (without breaching client confidentiality) – it was interesting (her story), but it doesn’t really matter here and now – so we proceeded into the first of several meditations I had planned. I asked her to close her eyes – she opened them immediately – I inquired as to why. She said it was due to her bag, coat, and whatnot…what with all these strangers…which was an understandable concern. So I offered to secure the bag to her chair.
Celestite heart

Celestite heart and cluster

It wasn’t that, it turns out. But things were moving quickly. We’d been talking for coming up on 10 minutes, and I encouraged her again, to close her eyes. She was getting antsy, asking me when I was going to “do something.”

I wasn’t sure what she meant – maybe she thought, as a magician – that I’d make some big revelation, or cause a breakthrough by osmosis. That’s not how I work. I invite people into a shared, sacred space – and together we find things out – together. I don’t work on people – though I can (as with the dead or inert) – I prefer to work with them.
So I pushed the issue a little bit – saying it was key to letting go of the current reality, and making room for new potentialities – that she close her eyes. Maybe it was the “if I can give you even 2 seconds of trust, this whole session will have been worth it” that turned her off.
She snapped, and stormed away, coming back hurriedly to scratch her name off my emailing list.
Smoky oval...beautiful color and energy

Smoky oval – the forgiveness stone – beautiful color and energy

Woah – I felt bad – like I didn’t give her what she’d come for. I’m still scratching my head, wondering what that might have been (that I could have done, to meet her expectation). Doing sessions with certain folks can be like a game that’s rigged – they want something, they don’t tell you want it is, and when you don’t deliver – they get upset.

There’s no pleasing some people. But I still have a lesson to learn.
What if someone can’t close their eyes? They’re that vigilant that they can’t let down their guard for two seconds (never mind one)! I should be able to adapt – not be stuck on my own eight track recording – that being able to “go in” (as I conceive it) is a prerequisite for “doing the work.”
Maybe there’s another way. I should research, ask around. Try something new, for times like this.
milky quartz - nurturance - compassion

milky quartz – nurturance – compassion

But that works for everyone else! I’d never come across this level of resistance before. I’m realizing how compliant most people are with an exercise designed to soothe and relax them. It’s like: most of us know what’s good for us, we just need an opportunity to listen, to take it in…receive.

The whole thing was triggering too – ’cause I’m a child of an alcoholic – so (back then) there was a perpetual guessing game as to what her motivations, needs, and desires were (my mom). I gave up early (trying to figure it out). It’s hard enough – as a child (and an adult!) – to get in touch with what you’re really feeling about something.
It’s devastating when you have to prioritize where someone else is coming from before you’ve even had a chance to identify where you, yourself, are coming from. We are not mind readers – maybe that’s why I never became a psychic – I try to deal with what’s presented, and to dig a little bit, but gently. As a stone guy, I like to deal with the tangible, as much as I’m into Metaphysics.
Labradorite - imagination stone

Labradorite – imagination stone

I do see a continuity between the manifest and the unmanifest. And I’m happy to traverse the veil to explore – what’s inside vs. outside, past vs. future, real vs. imagined – these are all fair game. But when there’s an inner storm raging so fiercely that I can’t get in – or won’t be let in – all bets are off.

Folks like that will do what they do. They need a different type of professional. I mean, if someone comes to me with a broken arm – I can’t tell them to will it back together – I’ll shew them off quickly to the ER.
Still, I can’t help but to replay (now, as then): “Was I not sensitive enough to her cues? How else could I have approached her? What did I do wrong to provoke her outburst? Maybe we can rewind, and try this whole thing over again, only doing it ‘right’ this time?”
How many times had I said that same thing, as a child. I looked at her email address (this failed client) – still legible through the scribbles – and let it go. She didn’t want me getting through then – it’s best that I not trouble trouble by trying to get in touch with her now – let it be.
another session - feeling it

another session – feeling it

You can’t fix everyone – not everyone wants to be “fixed” – maybe there’s something about the way they are right now, that’s working for them. What I have to offer is not for everyone. I and those who need me are best served by not chasing down those who dislike or don’t connect with me – even if they had at first – ’cause people change their minds.

I just noticed an “Unsubscribe” from my newsletter – someone who’d registered for not one – but two of my free webinars! I’d spent two hours presenting, baring my soul to them -albeit anonymously – and I no longer deserved to have their email address.
I’ve had people attend my events, and later tell me that’s not what they’re looking for. Like many avid entrepreneurs I know, I am passionate about serving those who want me to serve them, and we simply can’t get caught up in everybody else’s drama.
Fenster, or Skeletal Quartz, is emblematic of "sickness in health" - where the interior has been compromised - but the shell and structure remain quite solid, if perforated

Fenster, or Skeletal Quartz, is emblematic of “sickness in health” – where the interior has been compromised – but the shell and structure remain quite solid, if perforated

Still, I take this all with a grain of salt, and as a learning opportunity. You have to take the “bad” with the good – just like a visit to the big City – absorb what enriches, nourishes, and improves you. So I am grateful, not just to my progressively moving clients (and the helpful staff at the shops I visited), but to everyone and everything else…you are all welcome in my world.

Like they say “if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.” Or if you believe in Reincarnation, what kills you might actually make you stronger, or better for the lesson it taught you…in the next life. Since we have no tangible guarantees of an afterlife, it behooves us to take our schooling seriously, and use it to improve our game here and now…while we’re still on the court.
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About the Author: Kyle Russell has been working with Crystals since they were “revealed” to him, back in the Harmonic Convergence of 1987. He’s built on his now intrinsic knowledge – through experience – working with clients and buying & selling ever since. In addition to this Blog, he issues periodic newsletters, leads Meditations & Workshops, and presents at metaphysical Expos. To reach him, and get his updates, please email Kyle@CrystalConcentrics.com.
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Crystal Pricing – it’s in all the eye of the beholder

Boston Mineral ClubPART ONE – the principal of it

I joined the Boston Mineral Club recently, and overheard one of the elder gemologists say “unlike in most industries, there’s no standardized system for pricing minerals.” A lightbulb went off for me. Of course, I thought – that’s so true!

Diamonds may have a ‘universal’ price code – but even there – you can find a lot of variation in cost-for-product…and if you’re not an expert yourself, who can you trust?

Folks you know – folks you’ve seen demonstrate their knowledge, experience, and selection – you can (and should) trust them. And trust yourself, over all. If you think it’s worth it (to you) – and you have the money – they go ahead and buy it…without any regrets!

question mark diamond

question mark diamond

But who really knows what a Crystal is worth? If there was some ONE person who knew it all, it wouldn’t be much of a game anymore. It’s ultimately “all in the eye of the beholder.”

The Seller is the gate keeper – the ultimate “decider” – but every one has their bottom price. Unlike mainstream shop attendants, most dealers have the flexibility to give you a break. So play with them…bargain. Worst thing they can say is “no!”

I’ve done that plenty myself – making preposterously low offers – it can’t hurt. But I never question people’s prices – especially in front of others, or on Facebook – I think that’s a big no-no.

I asked one such naysayer “why would you want to ‘yuk someone else’s yum’ – I mean – if that’s what they’re charging, it’s their business (after all), and if someone’s gonna pay what they’re asking, then more power to the both of them!”

a decent sphere - like this golden rainbow Calcite sphere - should cost over $100

a decent sphere – like this golden rainbow Calcite sphere – should cost over $100

I’m not into the high end, jewelry or gem stone business, preferring minerals. I do specialize in finer specimens, but within the (I think) more modest range of $30-$200.

I think of that as “affordable” – and that if you can’t spend that type of change on something that really matters to you – then perhaps you should find a cheaper hobby.

Amazingly, a lot of people think that is a lot to spend. I don’t know what that says about our economy, people’s living conditions, or our priorities. People are spending $50 a week on coffee and donuts…so it’s hard for me understand why they can’t seem to find the same amount for something that’ll last forever…and give them satisfaction many times over.

I feel like I’m holding the torch solo – sometimes – for people respecting the value of good Crystals, and the effort that goes into finding, and presenting them in a way that truly honors their special value.

Aragonite 'sea horse' floating cluster

Aragonite ‘sea horse’ floating cluster

The reason my prices aren’t what you’ll see at a local rock shop (or gem show), is that I am neither. This is a boutique operation. Every piece is hand picked because of some unique quality, and my prices reflect that TLC.

A wholesaler I met with recently said “I can’t go there – I can’t look at individual pieces – everything has to get marked up by weight only.” How could I compete with – and why should I be compared to – folks buying directly from the source?! That’s not my place in the pecking order – my ‘ecological niche’ is post miner, post international shipper – serving up that special sauce for retail buyers with great taste.

All and still – and excuse me for tooting my own horn here (if I don’t, who will, aye…though you may want to look at my Buyer Testimonials) – but I’m pretty confident that I have a broader variety of true power stones than most operations I’ve seen out there – be they online or in person – mom and pop or major importer.

Every time I leave a gem show or wholesaler – I thank my lucky stars: I get to walk away with the good stuff – while they’re stuck with literally tons of 2nds and 3rds…stuff I wouldn’t even want to give away…but their margin (hello, everybody’s got ’em) takes that into consideration. Plus, they have volume on their side.

Have you seen some of the truly high grade stuff displayed at Museums, and even Gem Shows? It’s on sale for really big numbers? People are asking $800 for a pebble here, and $4000 for a cluster there. Try complaining to those guys about pricing.

I’m the little  guy, here. How is it fair that I should occasionally get grief for charging the cost of a good meal on arguably outstanding product?

worthless lot I returned

worthless lot I returned

Let me tell you a little story about unreasonable pricing. There was a guy I bought a whole parcel from recently, for $140 online. I failed to get dimensions, trusting the source – but when I got it – the little ‘puddle’ was worth $30, maybe. There were tiny points that looked huge in the photos (which is why every piece I sell online is photographed ‘in-hand’ – to show relative size). Others were broken. The Citrine was all irradiated (undisclosed by the Seller), and the ‘Lemurians’ turned out not to be. He didn’t even have an “All Sales Final” clause, but he wouldn’t take them back! I put them in the mail and said “don’t even refund me – keep the money as a cushion for yourself, or give it to a charity – I could never accept this overpriced garbage.” The black Tourmaline was all I wanted to hold onto, but to do so would only suggest the legitimacy of any part of the transaction.

I don’t know if it’s yard sales, volume sellers, or rock hounds who can offer great selections for under $30 – but if they’re out there – have at ’em.

As I say to some folks: “you can find another stone like this out there – but you won’t find this one anywhere but here, today.”

One of the favorite claims made (and I hear this one a lot) is: “I have one just like that” – or better yet, with additional glee: “and I paid $4 for it!” Awesome, I’ll say: “show me a photo of it.” And they disappear into the ethers.

You know what they say about opinions…

it's just a $3 tumbler - right(?) - wrong: it's a hand polished Celestite, worth a lot more

“This is just a $3 tumbler – right?” Wrong: it’s a hand polished Celestite, worth a great deal more.

Sometimes what I buy costs me more than someone else may have found it for. I’ve heard braggadocio like “I can get that for this amount.” I’m like “cool, let’s talk, maybe I should be buying it from you!” Again, the magic vaporization trick.

Some folks just like to hear the sound of their own voices…

In addition to my markups reflecting the considerable time spent choosing ‘greats’ from lesser pieces, they reflect miles driven to faraway places (you know the price of gas!); hours spent sorting through what’s been gotten; the cost of storage bins; display boxes…this isn’t an overhead-free business.

I see plenty of shop owners buying keystone, and charging a standard markup, but that doesn’t do justice to specifically selected stand-outs. And that’s not even taking into consideration a piece’s metaphysical attributes!

awesome Smoky Elestial I saw in a 'local rock shop' with a price tag of $150 more than I'd sold a similar piece for

awesome Smoky Elestial I saw in a ‘local rock shop’ with a price tag of $150 more than I’d sold a similar piece for

I also find myself in stores scratching my head – “why the heck are they charging so much for this?” Tell me that hasn’t happened to you! And yet…they must have their reasons.

Sometimes a rock is just plain worth more, or the seller has put a premium on it, they just don’t want to part with it for less. That’s their prerogative.

Again, you do have choice. You can buy anywhere. Let me repeat, this time for all vendors: “if you want this stone, from this source, this is what it’s going to cost you.”

PART TWO [optional] – the nitty gritty (behind the scenes)…fine print details

awesome, giant Scheelite I have my eye on

awesome, giant Scheelite I have my eye on…it’s here for no other reason than that I like it

I’ve covered some important ground, so far, but I want to address (in this Blog) some more topics that have come up through feedback from customers and the curious. They’ve inquired about pricing on my For Sale page: www.Facebook.com/PowerStone.

As you can see, I have more to say than will comfortably fit on a Post or Comment, so here goes. I so love the flexibility of being able to ‘stretch out’ in my Blogs.

Facebook iconTo begin with, the question: “to price or not to price?” Why I never used to, and why some people still refuse to do it publicly (like on Facebook)…is for a bunch of reasons.

Unlike on one’s own site – mine is www.CrystalConcentrics.com, but I haven’t yet launched my new shopping cart system…it mostly just hosts my blog) – Facebook is (pretty much) an open book. That means that any and everybody can comment (and they often do).

Heckling on price or steering customers elsewhere happens, and it’s not cool. That’s why, even though I used to publish a range (“under $50” or “under $400”) – I have always urged people to “DM” me – that is, direct message me for details.

“DM” is my own challenge to the generally accepted “PM” or private message abbreviation most commonly used. Although I have this request on virtually every item description, I’m astonished that people still prefer to Comment with questions, instead of writing me directly, as I’ve requested. The result – regrettably – is that I don’t notice their outreach till months later, if at all.

Moving on: wholesalers (even from other countries) have been known to come in and try to undercut you to the interested party, or separately message them, trying to steal the sale. Also not cool…and it doesn’t serve anyone, in the long run.

I learned this lesson the hard way – a LONG time ago – when I had 2 retail stores selling international clothing and jewelry. My suppliers started opening up direct-to-retail shops in the neighborhood. What happened? The bottom fell out of the market (for me and for them).

Jewelry show display

Jewelry show display

Sure, I want to get buyers the best possible prices, but after awhile, know that if the margin becomes too slim, it becomes pointless even to carry the product (never mind photograph it, post it, talk about it, etc.).

Remember, all vendors also have to have a huge amount of money tied up in inventory – to stay stocked – so they’ve got to believe in their product (and the pricing they’ve chosen).

In my case – you’ll also have to take into consideration that when I walk into a private healing session with a client (or a class) – sporting thousands of dollars in stellar material – that stuff will never be sold. It’s being held strictly for therapeutic purposes. It’s like water being tied up in the glaciers, never being turned over, even for the price that was paid. Think of all that capital out of circulation.

I can’t sell any one piece for less that I think it merits. That being said – you should know that my regular customers sometimes enjoy major discounts – as much as 30-40% off! It’s, ultimately, about making the sale – having product move, in the larger flow of Life energy – and creating the space for new and different items.

One more factor the Buyer should account for: privately held collection pieces not earning for the Seller. One wholesaler I met doesn’t have that problem – he saves nothing – but I can’t think of many who can resist holding onto some precious Crystals for themselves.

How do you even begin to price a giant elestial double terminated quartz(?!)

How do you even begin to price a giant Elestial double terminated Quartz(?!)

In all fairness, you (or I) really have no idea what the Seller actually bought the merchandise for, or what their overhead may be.

Just today, I bought some pieces Retail, because they’re that special. I was willing to ‘overspend’ because I know those pieces have their ‘rightful owners’ out there, and I’m their steward (until such time).

I can’t speak for others – but I spend a lot of time dealing with product – I take photos of everything; have paid for a sophisticated in-the-cloud inventory system; and have many other time and material costs which are incurred (behind the scenes) to bring you the best selection I can.

I am prepared to sit on an item if it doesn’t sell (cause it’s that good) – and if it does go (especially if it’s unique) – I may have a real struggle trying to replace it. So sometimes, it’s better to hold something until the right buyer comes along. Thankfully) they are out there. I am so grateful for the discerning customer!

Volume, which is the lifeblood of wholesalers, is not the prime motivator of this metaphysical retailer (though it is for some). If you have a storefront, and lots of folks coming through, you want to move as much product as possible. My goal here is to focus on quality over quantity, and to match the buyer with the right stone for them, regardless of price.

I take extra time talking or emailing with people – to make sure we ‘get it right’ – and that’s part of why I have a 100% satisfaction rate. When a total stranger (online) makes an inquiry – I do ask for their email, to followup – and build the relationship. If they refuse to share that with me [I’ve never abused someone’s contact information], chances are: they won’t be that great to do business with. Another way of thinking about this is – what if someone walked into your store with an invisibility cloak – and balked at you asking them to remove it before talking to them?

As stated, valuation is not a rigid science – costs can change over time. I wouldn’t want to be held accountable for outdated pricing (“but in November, you said this cost such-and-such”)…especially if later, I find that the piece has become that much harder to find (or sudden abundance lowers the price it can command). Not posting exact numbers used to give me the flexibility to bargain, too – if it made sense – or I’d just hold out for my highest asking price.

purple Flourite bowl

unique purple Flourite bowl

Having been in the business 25 years, I’ve seen a LOT of rocks, from what’s in the shops, to gem shows…a great gamut of retail and wholesale offerings. I’ve even sampled what the museums are sporting (though I’m sad that it’s always behind glass)! I’ve got a pretty good sense of what is out there, what’s not likely to come around again, and what’s a fad.

Yes, even in the crystal world (or especially?), there are phases and fashions. New finds get milked (become all the rage, like Fluorite bowls – a purple example pictured here – were “happening” just a few years ago…and then they’ve disappeared since. Am I gonna charge more for something like that? You betcha.

New Age names & qualities (like the “Auralite 23” phenomenon) get slapped onto pieces that had otherwise gone unnoticed. These in particular – end up fetching a ridiculous premium – but oddly, I find myself liking (and buying) them regardless. If it’s worth it, it’s worth it.

I have priced pieces for the long run, not just based on what I paid for them. I have to take into consideration what I estimate their long term value will be…mindful of the current market, but also of its future.

pair of Saphires

blue and yellow Sapphire

I do get some surprises, at times. Because much of my stock has been accumulated over 10 and 20 years, even my pricing can get out of date.

Take for example these Sapphires (pictured left and available here, on Facebook). I don’t even know what I paid for them – an I was willing to basically give them away – but now, they apparently fetch upwards of $50 a gram(!), currently.

Some vendors are in a hurry for turnover – others like attracting the lowest bidders – not me. That’s part of why I don’t do auctions. I’ve held some stones a quarter century, and don’t mind holding them some more. I’m really not comfortable ‘giving them away’ to someone who doesn’t truly appreciate their value.

That can happen after I’m gone. But if I have anything to do with it, I’ll have all my inventory properly codified and transferable, so anyone can know from looking at my archives what these pieces should sell for.

I passed up the 18 carat Gold bracelet I once wanted, and any big rings, for this diversified investment in a different kind of earth bounty. I give thanks to Mother Earth, Gaia and “the G*ds” – however you want to call him, her, or them – for giving me the eye (and occasionally, the full wallet) to have come this far in my collecting. I’d like to think what’s happened up till now is the tip of the iceberg of what’s possible.

As you can see, I value my time and inventory highly. The reason I’ve taken so long in writing this Blog post – days, probably, over it’s various incarnations – is that it really matters to me what you, the reader, think. I have to present every angle I can think of, to make sure you can see my nuanced perspective (and become as informed as possible).

twin pair of giant Candle Quartz

twin pair of giant Candle Quartz

My mission now, is to share and to educate, so that more people will appreciate the worth of Crystals – not just for their rarity (or beauty) – but for their unique energetic qualities (even if that lends a financial boost to their price tag).

I boast a piece’s metaphysical merits only when I have personal experience indicating this would be appropriate, as opposed to some others’ making claims, attributing to them a laundry list of supposedly scientific and magical attributes.

Ours is a fine line – the metaphysician sellers’ – between what is, and what is imagined to be. Sometimes how we feel matters most. I just want to be wary of the “Emperor’s Clothes” syndrome – where everybody believes something just because everybody else believes in it – or some “master” went and put it down on paper. That feels spurious, and not sufficient basis for a shared belief.

There are treasured varieties out there that I just ‘don’t feel’ – but again – I won’t ‘poo-poo’ another’s gig. If it’s working for them and their customers, then as I’ve heard said: “who G*d bless, let no man curse!”

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blogger Kyle Russell, also founder of Crystal Concentrics and Power Stone Crystals

blogger Kyle Russell, also founder of Crystal Concentrics and Power Stone Crystals

Hope to connect with you, email: CrystalConcentrics@gmail.com

Facebook Pages:

http://www.Facebook.com/PowerStoneCrystals (strictly For Sale items)

http://www.Facebook.com/CrystalConcentric (new modality, inspirations, and personal collection pieces)

Facebook Profile: http://www.Facebook.com/CrystalConcentrics

Facebook Group 1 (for New Englanders):                                       http://www.Facebook.com/Groups/CrystalsNewEngland

Facebook Group 2 (for chronic rock spenders):                                       http://www.Facebook.com/Groups/Gemoholics Anonymous

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