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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The 3 Gateways – Mind, Heart, and Body

There are 3 gateways into ourselves: through the Mind, through the Heart, and through the Body. Crystals are experienced the same way – by touch (through the Body); how they make you feel (the Heart) – and via what you think about them (the Mind). I have identified 3 stones that (to me) embody each gateway.

purple Quartz point(s)Amethyst is one – for its power to represent Spirit – specifically in “point form.” I’m talking about a point as separated from a cluster.

Clusters have a different function, to act as Spiritual Cleansers.

Amethyst is the ultimate Higher Mind stone. This is true because it speaks to the connection between Self and Spirit (and how mentality bridges the physical self with the self-conscious, abstract “seer”).

What is your true mission in life? What is your Higher Purpose, or ‘true’ Destiny? These are the types of questions to contemplate in the presence of Amethyst.

These may seem like lofty (or irrelevant) – to those who are not inquiring deeply (and for whom mental considerations are not bound up in spiritual matters) – but folks for whom the Mind is two dimensional, are trapped in a more earthly consciousness. I don’t blame them, but theirs is not the place to judge those for whom these explorations are significant.

I don’t mean to insult the Earth by using “earthly” in a derogatory sense, but you get what I mean (I hope, and if not, read on). Earthly (with a small ‘e’) connotes petty, provincial, non-Global or unconnected awareness. Earthly (with a capital ‘E’) gets into the vast (and deeper) grasp of Terra, terrestrial reality, and it’s connectedness to the all other dimensions, elements, perspectives, and The Universe at large.

Our thoughts, even (and often?) about grander goals and meanings – are immaterial – that is to say, they’re not solid, physical, or tangible. Indeed much of our reality – far greater than most will admit – is virtual (hello: the Internet is not something we can touch).

wet Sugilite - 'the other purple stone' - symbolizes the concretization of Spiritual vision

wet Sugilite – ‘the other purple stone’ – symbolizes the concretization of Spiritual vision

Great in their influence are the unspoken, evocative, and symbolic…in all cultures. And yet these thoughts, symbols, and archetypes can – and do – manifest quite tangibly in our world, particularly when they result in actions and consequences, as they constantly do (all around us – in the news – in our lives).

If the universe was created from a word – and words are merely symbolic – then truly, it can be said that our co-creation of the present and future are bound up in our understandings of (even unconsciously) – and relationships withabstract conceptions.

The metaphysical is intrinsic, it’s everything, or at least on par with everything you can take in with your 5 senses. Those who say otherwise, are living with their head in the sand. It’s time to come out and play. It’s time to have a more nuanced, and inclusive perspective on Reality.

unique Selenite cluster - representing our reach for the Eternal - indeed the mission of every Crystal(?)

unique Selenite cluster – representing our reach for the Eternal – indeed the mission of every Crystal(?)

Indeed our failure to think grandly manifests by default in our permission of the world to remain in chaos, or at the mercy of (mostly human) neglect and species-exclusive abuse of the planet.

The recognition and embrace of interconnectedness is essential to saving the world. This happens on an intellectual level, in the brain, but also on the other levels of heart and body (and of course through Charitable, and socially conscious activism). More on that a bit later…

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In the Healing realm, long distance healing is a good example of psychic action taken – on a higher (or different) plane, which can produce outcomes – or influences situations remotely.

Someone grappled recently – in public (at a conference I attended), and with humility – about “how does distance healing work?” She knew it did, but was unable to explain why (or how). In the interests of this Blog (and getting my thoughts out on it now, as opposed to later (when I could devote an entire Post to it), let me take a stab at delivering an answer to this beguiling question.

All things are happening simultaneously – connected by coincidence (if you’re atheistic) or by design (if you believe in a Higher Power) – but (even to a scientist), they are inarguably happening coterminously [look it up if you’re not familiar with the term…it means “in a way that is right up next to everything else”].

However you imagine what causes what, everything in the present is connected inextricably with everything in the past and future.

multi-directional Arkansas clear Quartz cluster, with angled (45-degree'ish) is a 'transmitter' crystal, ideal for shooting intention long distance

multi-directional Arkansas clear Quartz cluster, with angled (45-degree’ish) ‘transmitter’ crystal, ideal for shooting intention long distance

Therefore, it is not unreasonable to expect that my prayer and intention here – can effect your status and experience there – on a Spiritual and/or physical level.

I’m finding that the rules of engagement – or what one can expect – in the waking world, is quite different from what might apply in the Dream State (or while you’re asleep). And that’s just two important planes in our life. There are more (even how vastly different my reality and perspectives are from yours). So we cannot begin to claim that the rules of Physics (or Science), such as we may consider ourselves to know them, apply in the same way in all dimensions. “Everything is Relative” – right?

Enough [pertinent] digression! Back to Amethyst. It sits on the throne of Purple. Purple is a regal color of Spirit – and in the spectrum of colors – as they manifest up through our Chakra system…it’s towards the top. I consider it the gateway between the Conscious Mind and the Spirit (or oversoul) Mind.

I believe that Shape, Density, and Color (the 3 gateways into understanding Crystals) are each of paramount importance in identifying (and “riding”) the energetic wave, function, or offerings of any given Power Stone.

I’ve defined “Power Stones” in other places, including in my “What is Crystal Healing” webinar, but suffice it to say here…how a rock presents itself can make all the difference.

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Imagine all things (or situations) as complex manifestations of G8D.

How very different your lying down, nearly naked in one context – a beautiful thing – can be from the next situation (where threat and terror pervade).

How different the appearance – face to face – of a rabbit may be from the appearance of a Grizzly Bear on your path, hiking.

Rose Quartz sphere - the shape and polishing make its inner essence more accessible - than it would be were the chunk left rough

Rose Quartz sphere – the shape and polishing make its inner essence more accessible – than it would be were the chunk left rough

Appearances are everything – and sometimes nothing – just flimsy veneers over deeper truths.

So it is with stones. Are they are rough or polished? Are they in clusters or in points? Are they large or small? Heavy or light? The answers to these questions all matter.

To learn the language of Crystals, is to know how to interpret all this vital information…and how to factor it in to determining its potential impact on your life (or on the lives of others).

You also have to look deeper – be sensitive to the fact that the same piece might have different influence in the day than the night – or in the context of other Crystals. In short: “it’s complicated” would be its “relationship status,” which is why I abjure pat prescriptions of “this crystal for that situation” (way too simplistic).

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Now about Heart – we think of Love [Unconditional Love is the essence of Rose Quartz, pictured above] as being the ultimate expression of the Heart, and it is – but imagine Love as the gift…what is the wrapping, or better asked…what is the door (or gateway) through which Love travels?

Compassion is that sensation, the context – the realization that another’s feelings matter – or that another being is significant. Without that, it’s hard for true Love (or True Love) to be expressed. That is why I don’t identify one stone for “relationship problems” (or prosperity, for that matter)…some of our wishes and aspirations require further inquiry, and broader definition…to be tackled and addressed appropriately (and in a more sophisticated way). There are no silver bullets, easy solutions, or panaceas.

Back to Love. How authentically can we love the calf in the barn yard, knowing it will soon be slaughtered by our own hand? Is it not Compassion that leads us to send money around the world, to those less fortunate than we?

Compassion of the Heart – has much broader implications for the whole of Creation – just as Broadness of Mind (as discussed above).

Milky 'glitter' Quartz cluster often manifests perfectly the geological embodiment of our concept: Compassion (and/or Nurturance).

Milky ‘glitter’ Quartz cluster often manifests perfectly the geological embodiment of our concept: Compassion (and/or Nurturance).

What stone manifests the energy of Compassion better than Milky Quartz? Wait, where’d I come up with that? It seems like an arbitrary association, or claim.

Not at all. Let me explain. As I’ve said, there is a language to understanding Crystals, it’s just a question of exploring and understanding it.

As mammals – we are nourished by mothers’ milk – and even if we never knew our mother (or she was not nurturing), that symbolism…of mothers’ milk as sustaining life-breath…remains imprinted in our DNA. Note: a visual/conceptual archetype ripples through our being.

I used the word “breath” – air is free, we breath without control [though some of us chronically under-inhale] – it’s not optional, and it’s everywhere. Mothers’ milk, however, is sometimes withheld (even not intentionally), due to will or circumstance. As babies, we cannot express ourselves precisely, our cry might be about a hundred different things…and yet the mothers’ breast (or milk, from whatever source) in generally soothing.

What is the connection between this soothing nurturance of mother’s milk and Compassion? Not everyone receives it, it is specifically for you. You have been singled out as both deserving and needing of this reward and life sustenance.

Mountain Aragonite, demonstrating that non-Quartz varieties can also manifest The Compassionate One energy.

Mountain Aragonite, demonstrating that non-Quartz varieties can also manifest The Compassionate One energy.

A mother (more than just about anybody else) has a uniquely developed (or ought to) capacity for Compassion. This is why if mother’s ruled the world, they’d find other solutions than war. The notion of sending one’s offspring off into harm’s way is anathema to any child-loving mom.

You’ve heard it said that “there’s nothing like a mother’s love.” The gates of Compassion have been opened up – a mother’s love flows often unmitigated – and so, religions have deified women (just as men have been turned into G*ds, for other reasons). Fertility and the capacity for reproduction and care-giving are just important side effects of a much greater commodity – Love and its context – Compassion.

So what if a stone embodied this thing – more intrinsically and naturally than any picture, person – or idol could? What if there was a stone that simply was: Compassion. There is – and it shows up as more than just in the incarnation of Quartz – there are several other varieties of stone that carry the Compassionate vibration of Milky Quartz.

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Each of these three Gateways (to Mind, Heart, and Body) are ‘places’ – which we define through description – as best we can. They are also bridges. The Gateway, Bridge, or Cross Roads feature significantly in most traditions (you can research it, trust me).

If Thoughts and Emotions operate in mysterious ways, the Body does as well. Even doctors will tell you this. The same procedure can work seamlessly on 9 people, and then fail on the 10th. It could be a thousand things, including the impact of their Mind, Heart, and Spirit on the situation. But the flesh and blood, that thing and shell we inhabit, is its own world.

Citrine is the gateway to the Body. It’s clarity suggests that is not a simply base, massive material…that there is a higher, spiritual component and aspect to it…and we are blessed to have that in geological form. Here’s an interesting geological article all about Citrine.

nice 'faux' Citrine - occasionally extremely beautiful - is better for display than energy work

nice ‘faux’ Citrine – occasionally extremely beautiful – is better for display than energy work

Heat-treated Amethyst, which is what most “Citrine” on the market really is – as with most artificially modified stones – has lost its umph, and is not ideally used on (or to represent) the person.

Treated stones – like Aqua Aura – sometimes take on their own unique energies, quite apart from their source material. That’s worth pursuing, but not in this conversation.

What we’re doing here – and a recurrent theme in my ‘teachings’ – is relating stones back to our own, personal energy systems. That is why I have developed a Crystal Energy Zones poster, which associates 29 Power Stones with our own body.

Without getting into all the subdivisions of the Foundation zone (Solar Plexus down through the Root Chakras) – a worthy topic, to be sure (for some future writing) – let me focus further on Citrine itself. If clear Quartz is a channel (and it’s not as impersonal – or even as effective – as Selenite, in this regard) – and Smoky Quartz is the Ultimate Forgiveness Stone – then Citrine is somehow in between…it represents Ego…in the best possible light.

large natural Citrine - perfect color - with 3 polished sides & 3 natural sides

large natural Citrine – perfect color – with 3 polished sides & 3 natural sides

Ego says “I am here” – in the way that our Body does, too – in the way that a superlative athlete can declare their physical prowess (at the finish line, or sometimes without even having to “say” anything). Ultimately, a healthy body walks hand in hand with a healthy Ego. You take up your space without hogging it, bragging, or belittling others.

This is the key and gateway to The Body. To understand the subtle and profound message and identity of Citrine, is to crack the code on true communication with one’s Self and physical being.

Many splendors lie deeper, in the Foundation – Carnelian, Ruby, Morion Smoky Quartz, even Petrified Wood (‘the animating factor’) is in its domain – but this Blog seeks only to show you the doors…the “3 big ones” (and how they have tangible import, as well as Spiritual significance, and “connections”)…as Gateways to the Mind, Heart, and Body.

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About the Author: Kyle Russell posts daily on Facebook – sends out Newsletters monthly (and emails sometimes more frequently) – and he leads Crystal Meditations and Workshops. See his Schedule of Events here on CrystalConcentrics.com, and his large variety of fine Crystal specimens for sale at http://www.PowerStoneCrystals.com. Email Kyle@CrystalConcentrics.com to learn more, or with any questions you may have regarding this Blog, or Crystals in general. 

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

Pinterest: http://Pinterest.com/CrystalsPower

Twitter: @CrystalsPower

Facebook for Crystals

Facebook for Crystals

Facebook iconYou know how people say: “I’ll Facebook you” – it’s a turn of phrase, a language unto itself. My title is apt, then…it’s like “French for hello!” In this case, I’m talking about how Crystals are “done” on Facebook. About this I’m no expert, but I used my holiday “time off” (at the end of last year) to apply my interest & expertise to getting some first hand experience…some education about it. I more than dipped my foot into the water. I learned a lot. And I made some new Friends.

KRucial Reggae logoI do have history with Facebook – a lot of history – because of my ongoing involvement in the Reggae music promotions business (check out KRucial Reggae on Facebook). But the audience is different…and so is the content.

Crystal Concentrics page imageUnless I’m mistaken, I only opened my Crystal Powers profile in March of 2012; and my Crystal Concentrics page in September (this past Fall…also in 2012). I’ve ballooned to over 1000 Likes in 4 months!

I must be doing something right. I do have to give credit to my re-commitment to pursuing and sharing this part of myself – awakened by supernatural happenstance in 1987 (the year of the last Mayan calendrical blip: the “Harmonic Convergence”) – and now I urgently need to share what I know with some new audiences. That’s part of why I’m putting effort into these Blogs at my main site (www.CrystalConcentrics.com), as well as doing Classes, Slide Shows, and writing a Book. The urgency has to do with the fact that I can contribute a lot to people’s understanding – differently from “what else is out there” – and I’m hoping to accelerate our own Spiritual process. I want to fully engage what I have to offer, in terms of knowledge and power stones.

Twitter FollowUsOn A little history. “In the beginning” (and this was through my @CrystalsPower Twitter feed to Facebook – which I coincidentally, also set up in 2012 also) – I posted just quotes – and mostly my own. Now, I’m posting images of mine (including of others’ pieces), and re-posting insightful quotes from my Facebook Friends. Change is in the air, and I can feel the opportunity coming for me to sell my stones too (and perhaps others’ as well) online.

Yard SaleIt wasn’t long ago, I thought that after I died, my children would have to “give away” my collection at a yard sale. The mineral, never mind the energetic values, would never be properly recognized, and what represents a lifetime of collecting would change hands for cents on the dollar (if that). I no longer feel that way. I am suddenly confident that I’ll be able to “move” a number of stones sooner, rather than later, including pieces I’ve been “sitting on”/hoarding unnecessarily.

For metaphysically oriented folks – there’s blend of Spiritualism and Materialism in their interest in stones – and I’m no different. For those who don’t “feel the vibes” – I’m not sure what it is – maybe just a job. Surely, the beauty and mystery of these naturally formed artworks is alluring to all.

Whatever the reasons may be that people are drawn to gems & minerals – I see there’s a market out there – and some of my new Friends are reporting some great success servicing it. They do lament “wolves in sheep’s clothing” – posers peddling miracle cures – like the snake oil salesmen of yore. The “real deal” folks assert that authenticity in your approach is what the buyer really seeks (along with good stones & appropriate pricing). So I started looking around, to separate the wheat from the chaff, and maybe get a few new pieces for myself (in the process).

ebay-logo-redesign-2There’s a lot of auctions – like EBay – which I have checked out…and still want to learn more about. There’s so much to learn, for sure, and an astonishing variety of product available (although for some varieties, it can be maddeningly slim). The interface is pretty straightforward on EBay, often multiple images are visible (for any given piece), and the zoom-in capability is a great feature. I still think the size of Facebook images – though simpler (and that’s a good thing) – is still making it easier to really see pieces closer up, and at higher resolution. But some of the vendors – even ones who use or prefer EBay – complained about the service’s surcharges. They also felt that EBay favored the Buyer over the Seller in disputes. They, and others, not even on EBay, have realized they can reach their buying public directly – minus the fees – and do alright for themselves.

One friend was astonished I’d never participated in an auction (of any kind). Sure, I’d seen tons of dealers on Facebook – and I saw their posts – but many are cryptic: no price or (often) no explanation of what we’re looking at (or why we should care about it). Often, I’ve had to beg for info. I’m sure a lot of people give up, move on, don’t bother. The quality of images is sometimes low, but at least you can buy them (if they’re not “Sold” – which another Friend posted: a ton of – unavailable merchandise which had “walked” last year). The auction business model clearly works for a lot of people – Buyers think they can get stuff for less, or set their own prices – and depending on demand, Sellers can be pleasantly surprised at getting more than they’d originally hoped for.

Pinterest LogoI’ve been more used to, and preferred (for several months – since I got into it – also last year) checking out images on my Pinterest account. The quality of images is excellent, but a lot of the pieces are inaccessible – from museums, it seems – and nary a one for sale. I actually found out about a few stones on Pinterest that had a long tail…I could have “had them.”

AmetrineFollowing the image back to its original source posting (which you can do in Pinterest by clicking on the image itself, so see where it originated, or was “taken” from), I learned that one WAS available: an exorbitant Ametrine to die for, located in Europe. Ametrine is the natural occurance of yellow or orange Citrine, within Amethyst. I’m still not sure if it’s always “as-is,” or whether heat treatment enhances it. In any case, I was talking to the company rep about it – and then the company owner, through Facebook – wanting to know their terms (it took awhile…time and distance intervening). Foreign vendors can be obtuse about their Policies: pricing, packing, postal methods, guarantees, returns…unless you ask and nail them down on the details). And I learned a few other things that have to be taken into consideration, but I’ll get into that later.

Suddenly: “poof” – someone else bought the crystal out from under me – I had no idea there was even any interest (apart from my own)! I was irate that they didn’t even ask me first…or not assume that I wanted to have first dibs (given my obvious interest). They said I hadn’t “put it on reserve,” which I didn’t even know I was expected to do. So you’d better say something & secure a commitment to hold anything, if you’re serious about it. To be fair, Sellers have to sift through a lot of tire kickers, and though they (both the staff member & owner) were apologetic, it was ultimately water under the bridge for them. They’re in the business of selling stuff, and if I ain’t buying, why do I matter?

Ametrine i gotFortunately, I was able to find another Ametrine – at a price I could live with – and just one state away from me (though they-top in color, but “a bird in the hand…” The yellow may be less bright – though the others were going to take more pix to give me a better sense of the first stone’s true color (their image was admittedly saturated)…but look at this purple! Plus, this piece has great, grounding energy – which you wouldn’t necessarily expect from an Amethyst variety – Amethyst being more about Spirit than Body, per se.

Before that, by a week or so, I got another Ametrine (when it rains it pours). I’d seen some really pretty cool colored points for sale – they’d had that light violet color of the often tiny Kenyan(?) variety – but these were also from Bolivia (and big!). Then I thought about it – they looked just like Amethyst points fallen out of a good sized cluster – and I remembered: I have a superb, deep purple (hand held) point from Brazil already. So I declined.

Ametrine generatorOne of the last to sell (cause they did go within days) was an actual Ametrine generator (ie. it stands with its point upwards – and as they often do – it had a flat, polished base, for stability). I went for it, because I’ve been trying to acquire an Ametrine for years, and the price / piece never seemed right before. I developed rapport with the Seller (as I have with everyone, above and below). This one was just right – it was a bit bigger than I expected (images can be deceiving) – but that could also be ’cause the seller’s hand might be bigger than mine.

Ametrine bottomOften, you can’t see the full color of an Ametrine unless you turn it in the light, or take it outside. Check this photo out, of the same piece above, but looking up from under it, in proper light. You can see how the yellow often shows up in alternating 6ths of the crystalline structure.

Back to dimensions. Relativity (or size, from different perspectives) – matters – as I learned with my next purchase. This one was another result of some long time hankering. Although I have a few rough “nothing” pieces, and a Pinterest board devoted to Opal (and irridescent stones, which are also “light active”), I’ve long admired it (Opal, that is) – and in particular, Ethiopian Opal – because of its rich, deep colors, and what they call “flash” (the way color is scattered so brilliantly).

Ethiopian Opal Beads, vendor imageSo when I saw the strands pictured here (to the right), I inquired. They were coming from India, which I thought was strange. It turns out they have the bead-making factories. They get the rough from Africa, and process it on their own facilities. The package arrived in perfect shape [in fact every vendor did an excellent job in padding their pieces safely for transit]. It was temporarily delayed in Delhi, because they needed a street address – not true for all senders (especially Stateside, where PO Boxes are okay) – but that makes perfect sense. If you want something signed for, make sure the address you give will work for the delivery service.

Opal strand receivedThe problem was – in person – these beads (the bottom most, darkest strand) were miniscule. Look at this pitiful handful to the left. Tell me they’re even the same beads that I thought I was getting(?), based on the picture above! Fact is – if you allow for radically different color reproduction, the bead variations line up (so it is the same piece). But you can see why I might be pissed off.

Opal within Lava necklacesMy own personal necklaces are 64cm long, and this was was only 45cm [get used to it – centimeters are here to stay – and they’re what most people, even Americans, use]. They barely fit around a my neck(!), never mind over my head [which I prefer…so that I don’t need a clasp]. Check out how my Lava necklace dwarfs those beads I’d just gotten in the mail…

Nowhere had the length of the strands been posted, nor had I been told the size of the beads, in millimeters. But I hadn’t asked either, which was my mistake. My own eyes had lied to me – I should have inquired and took out my ruler – done the conversion and been a better educated buyer.  I shared my disappointment, regardless, and lambasted the wildly inaccurate color reproduction of this vendor’s sales shot. I never did get an apology. I was humbly offered a break on future purchases [the return mail expense would have been prohibitively stupid], and he asked if I knew of a good, used camera he could buy, to take better images in the future.

Lesson learned. At least the “bigger” beads have fantastic flash. Someone’ll buy it from me, or my daughter will make some great earrings out of it. Later on, I’ll get something else from him. His efforts to save face (and his reputation) worked. We’re still Friends.

My Facebook profile: Crystal Powers now attracts a number of Vendors, as well as people outside “the business,” that I just know and like (and think might enjoy my content). Just watching my Wall, I see pieces come up, and again, most of them don’t have too many specifics. I learned that one reason people can be cryptic, is that they don’t want competitors coming in and undercutting them, or trying to steal their hard won audience. I recognize (and feel that impulse) from the music business, too.

To open up my further my “truth in advertising” rant, as far as images are concerned Online, let me tell you another recent story. The moral is both to share with you my “powers of selection” (which you’ll see were a no-brainer), as well as to reiterate the importance – for vendors – to represent their pieces correctly.

Sugilite rough, selectionTake this selection of available Sugilites, this time from another European Seller. Which would you choose? I posted the question on my Wall, and everyone agreed with me. The “Purple Heart” won out, so I ordered it.

Sugilite receivedBut guess what, when I got the piece in the mail, I went back to the online album, and was shocked to see that my stone looked nothing (in color) like “the original” (I thought I was getting). Here we go again!

I asked why, and it turns out that Sugilite is always wet when offered to Buyers – so they can see the “true” color – what it would look like Sugilite, wetpolished (or cut, for jewelry). So I wet my piece, and I brought out the color (albeit temporarily). But that color was still not the one originally represented to me on the web. It’s a beautiful chunk of Sugilite, and I have a request in for a bigger one – sharp edges, crisp texture – but it’s not what I thought I was getting, happy as I am to have it. So beware: the way a crystal looks on screen is not necessarily (though it ought to be) the same as what the eye sees.

My advice goes out to all Vendors – “hold your rocks up to the screen, after you’ve uploaded any given photo – and if it’s not matching…find better way to get your images representing your merchandise. You owe that to your buyers!”

Now I bought several other pieces – and I could go on, ad infinitum about what they were – and what the process was that I went in acquiring them. However, this Blog is getting a bit long in the tooth, and I want to leave you with one more caution, as well as on a positive note.

Tourmaline cluster “Objects are smaller than they appear.” This we’ve learned, above. But there’s more. The story above notwithstanding – there are a ton of truly amazing pieces, very well photographed, up close – that are really tiny…and you should prepare yourself for that. Take for example, this finely terminated Tourmaline. I didn’t buy it – yet – but I’m thinking seriously about doing so. Looks to be about 4-6 inches, right. That’s 15.24 centimeters (sounds even bigger in metric)!

Tourmaline cluster by handBut guess what, with the perspective (provided by the Seller, who I’d gotten one of the Ametrines above from) – using the hand and fingers – you get to see what you’re really dealing with: spectacular for sure, but veritably small. So I recommend, almost better than using a only a ruler (which is more scientific), or listing the measurements [be ready with your conversion formulas] – just get some proper perspective by seeing a piece handheld. That’s the best way to show people not only that your color reproduction is pretty much faithful, but how big the stone really is.

For my purposes – metaphysically – you have to ask yourself: would I want to put this thing on my forehead (would it even balance?)…cause that’s pretty much the only place it’ll be of any use (aside from in a museum case).

To conclude, it’s been a great less-than-a-month. I’ve met a bunch of great people, several of which I haven’t even mentioned here, and some relationships we’ve launched have got some promising plans hatching. I haven’t shown you everything I purchased – it’s not necessary – but what I’ve shown all illustrate a point. Try to make sure you know what you’re getting, before you throw down. Size and color can be in the eye of the beholder.

Mere measurements can also fail to convey the true vibe of a stone. Keep your eyes (and your “third eye”) open, maybe get some advice from an expert (hint, hint). I might not know everything, but I know what I know – which helped me navigate the experience of buying on Facebook. Twenty five years experience Offline helped me navigate my Online purchasing – if not always before my purchase – certainly afterwards. And politeness, or professionalism goes a long way towards maintaining relationships, even if things get complicated.

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Kyle Russell, Crystal Concentrics founderHope to see you regional folks at my events coming up (calendar/schedule for dates) – wish me luck in my book-writing (I have several planned) – and visit my other links here:

Facebook Page:

http://www.Facebook.com/CrystalConcentric

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

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

Pinterest: http://Pinterest.com/CrystalsPower

Twitter: @CrystalsPower/

Two events I had, in early 2013 (as of this writing): on Tuesday, January 29th, a Slide Show (showcasing the highlights of my travels to PeruGalapagos, Italy – and including a guided tour of my virtual Pinterest collection) – and on Saturday, February 16th: a Crystal Healing Basics Class.