How to Work with Crystals?

soothing Nephrite Jade sphere

soothing Nephrite Jade sphere

INTRODUCTION

Such an important question – “How to Work with Crystals?” – with a hundred (and certainly more) answers out there…and only a limited amount of time (and space) to respond to the question…I have to choose my words carefully, which is why I’ve turned this into a blog, as a followup to (and companion to) the live webinar recently recorded (of the same name).

Given the infinite options for Reply, be aware that this answer is of my own, subjective opinion. You have to trust the source of where you get your information – even if it’s your inner self – I know I do. And hopefully, the more material I put out there (that people check out), the more my perspective will become a steady feature in the “Crystal scene.”

I have numerous webinars and classes – they exist for you to get slightly different (but overlapping) views on what I perceive to be the truth. Hopefully, this (and they) will resonate with you. As I get myself increasingly out there, I have been pleasantly surprised by the responsiveness of folks in cyberspace. I got over 400 Joins to my Facebook event page (for the webinar), and you’ll see the number of Likes my Facebook page has gotten (below).

But Facebook isn’t everything – I know that – and there’s not just one view of a great big Cathedral. You have to get a panoramic view of the inside and the outside – and even then – you couldn’t capture the essence of what goes on for the people who go there.

The same is true for the metaphysical world – it’s especially true, actually – where subjectivity reigns over the objective, and individuality is rather appreciated. So read on, with an open mind. Take what you like, leave what you don’t…there’s enough to go around.

THE CIRCUIT

large, beautifully terminated Topaz – the intrabody neural communicator

To answer the question “how do you work with crystals” is most basically:  you create a circuit between what you’re holding in your hand; let it come right through your heart; and up to your mind’s eye. It’s a feedback loop…cycles right back down from you’re seeing…and touches your Soul.”

The goal is to capture and tap into that vibrancy, participating in the presence and movement of essential Life energies.

Each stone you pick up will give you a slightly different experience, or window into that universal flow.

And then it becomes like a dance, as you move from limb to limb, like a nimble monkey on a tree…you know what to reach for…you’ll learn what does the trick.

Working with Crystals is a bit like absorbing a new language. You can school yourself in it and you can be taught – by those with greater experience – who you relate to. But you are ultimately you’re own, best teacher. Just like with food and dietary awareness, you have to listen to your sensation, what resonates (and what does not).

FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT INTO IT

For people who don’t get it at all, this all can be a hard pill to swallow. They just don’t get it – and more than even indifference – they harbor a negative view (for whatever reason) of working with Crystals. An important part of my mission could be turning disbelievers into believers. It would be hard to walk them through the path I’ve taken, because some of what I’ve seen was for my eyes only. Some folks turn to science (or pseudo-science), to prove their point – but that’s not my focus. 

I don’t need to prove myself to anyone. Plus, I have way more fun with those who’ve already got an interest. Wouldn’t you prefer to teach Spanish to someone who’s actually came to your Spanish class – rather than to have to randomly accost folks the students from out of History – to “convert” them into caring about your coursework.

As you become more fluent, it’s hard to go back, or want to try to teach people who are resistant – who’ve got no interest in learning the language. It’s possible as well, that they lack interest in pursuing any other self-development strategy.

Funny how it happens, that closed is closed. And once the flood gates are open, people who are open to Crystals also find themselves open to Herbalism, Aromatherapy, and vice versa.

Then is it true that “doubting Thomases” cannot gain any value from crystals? That’s a sad thought. But I don’t know that it’s even true. I believe that merely having them (Crystals) around – or having others work on you long distance (in spite of any resistance you might have) – could still result in some positive outcomes.

Chrysocolla - combines self forgiveness and emotional expressiveness

Chrysocolla – combines emotional expressiveness with self forgiveness

THE HEALER IS HEALING – EVEN IF THE PATIENT IS UNWILLING

Even if a healer’s efforts bounce back on them (because the patient is not willing) – some good is still coming from the transaction – and serves as cautionary lesson to those working with “the dark arts” (be careful what you project…let it only be positive). Hence the mirror in certain mythologies: to reflect negativity back on itself. Likewise, if you can stay “in the light,” you will always be blessed, even in your worst & dying moments (if that’s even possible to imagine!).

My son was speaking once, to a religious leader – he said “I don’t know if I believe in G8D” – the mentor replied: “that’s okay, G8D doesn’t mind.” The sun still shines, whether people open their eyes to it, or whether it’s covered with clouds. Once you’ve seen it, it’s hard to pretend it’s not there (or to not want to work with it).

ULTIMATELY, IT’S ALL ABOUT WHAT YOU PRACTICE, NOT WHAT YOU PREACH

There are dozens (certainly more) books out there about Crystals, with plenty of knowledge and instruction to offer. I have a lot beliefs in common with many of their authors, and a lot of beliefs that differ from them. Instead of outlining either – making claims or accusations – I think the next, best way I can answer the question: “How to Work with Crystals” here, would be to explain how I work with Crystals…what it is that I do…so you can see the breadth of possibility from the perspective of somebody who’s been  thinking about, and working with Crystals on the daily (for a looong time).

SO WHAT DO YOU DO, ANYWAY?

A prospective client called me: “I’ve been looking over your sites, and I’m a little confused – can you tell me – what is it that you do with the Crystals? Of course, I was happy to answer her, and we spent some time on the phone, with me explaining what I could, in the moment. But then I was like – “wow, all that effort I’ve put into my online presence and offerings, and it’s still not clear – I’ve got to do better, try harder, and come up with some new ways of explaining this art (which is so very important to me).”

MY HEALING MODALITY (the trade)

Basically, I have two approaches to working with Crystals. One, is through my healing modality: teaching, sharing, and applying my knowledge. That is what I call Crystal Concentrics.

You can find out more at CrystalConcentrics.com (my main site) and over at one of my Facebook pages: http://www.Facebook.com/CrystalConcentric (that’s singular, there’s no ’s’ at the end). I’ve accrued more than 10,000 “Likes” there. I feature my personal pieces, not-necessarily-sales-oriented posts, and house all my Facebook Event pages over there.

Crystal Energy Zones poster

Crystal Energy Zones poster

I also have created a large laminate poster of the Human “Crystal Energy Zones” – which identifies the 29 key stones with immediate relevance to our Chakra system.

In follow up to this, I am working on a deck of Crystal Cards, which will cover even more varieties, and be an excellent teaching tool. Ultimately, I have a few books on the back burner, which will tie together a lot of the concepts outlined in my Blogs (including this one!).

MY SALES ‘ARM’ (the tool)

I acquire and sell Crystals through my Power Stone Crystals persona, which you can check out in one of 3 places. Online, there’s my main sales site: www.PowerStoneCrystals.com. And there’s the semi-matching sister page (thought not all the same items will appear on both): http://www.Facebook.com/PowerStoneCrystals.

I have 31,000+ Fans on the latter. The relatively higher following (compared with the Crystal Concentrics page, on Facebook), has to do with how I promoted each, way back when, and people’s penchant for appreciating or buying crystals over really understanding how to work with them.

'the author' Kyle Russell, at the Healing Hands event

‘the author’ Kyle Russell, at the Healing Hands event

Ultimately – the best way to see everything I’ve got available – is in person…either at my Boston area showroom…or at one of the metaphysical Expos I have scheduled throughout the year, in New York, and also in New England. I do plan on making it to other regions – and have some pending opportunities – I’d certainly appreciate your invitation!

THE TOOL VS. THE TRADE

Why is it that folks spend many, many times more on buying Crystals than they do on learning about them, or receiving the services of practitioners? That would be due to the fact that it’s much easier to acquire the tools than to master (or even engage) the trade.

When you see something beautiful – and it has a price tag on it – you tend to go for it. That client’s question – earlier mentioned – demonstrates that we as practitioners, have a ways to go in terms of making our art as easily understood and “consumable” as the Crystals themselves have been.

Imagine, if you will – someone buying all kinds of expensive plumbing equipment – but never learning how to use it. Fortunately – or maybe because they’re that much more beautiful than plumbing equipment – people are way more inclined to buy Crystals than they are to truly study them, or be taught by any experts in the field.

Granted, Crystal experts are not to be found on every corner. Books, fortunately, are (to be found more readily) – but unfortunately (to my mind) – many of them are spreading much misinformation. Luckily, because we’re all so unique, each effort to shed light on the “magic” of Crystals – succeeds in quite different ways – and there’s something out there for every level of interest and capacity to absorb information.

IMG_1774

closeup of a (rare) bi-color Amethyst cluster – the yin and the yang

And – failing to look into them more deeply – there’s always the beauty…the awe…of a wonderfully majestic creation, dating back millions of years, which will outlast us, and taps into our archetypal perceptions of color and form.

THE SCALE OF TEACHING

For me – working with, and sharing my knowledge about Crystals – flows from the more visual and collective, to the most in depth and personal:

1) The Slide Show, Talk, or Presentation is more like a lecture, but a fascinating one (to be sure). Two examples of my offerings are “A Pinterest Tour” of my 60-odd boards, by which I’ve classified thousands of museum quality images; and “Where the Earth Meets Sky: from the rocky landscape of the Galapagos to the mountain spiritual center of Machu Picchu.” These can be delivered live, or virtually, and make for ideal webinars (hint, hint: keep an eye out for them).

2) The Crystal Meditation is a gathering of individuals, ready to step out of the ordinary, and join a guided journey, as well to join in to group sharing. It is split into 3 segments. The first is a rooting into ones own biological, emotional presence (without stones). The followup introduction of Crystals to the hands will show how different this practice is from “normal” contemplation. Crystals act as a sort of touchstone, or lightning rod…aligning the astral, the physical/ephemeral, and the earth-foundation/constant together. Lastly evoked are layouts, connecting the group with the larger continuity and cosmology of time and space. Between each of the 3 Meditations, we go around and speak our truth in the moment.

Natick Jan 23

group photo, after a Crystal Meditation

3) The Class, or Workshop involves Meditation, as above, but includes an instructional piece – be it an exploration of “the Heart Chakra (and the 6 stones that pertain to it),” – or “the Wonders of Quartz (a whole Chakra layout, comprised exclusively of Quartz varieties).” 

I offer this content (and many more topics), both live and online. My growing library of webinars makes it so that wherever you are, we can explore, and work together in building our knowledge of Crystals.

4) The Crystal Reading, is a gateway into your own personal situation. It’s not a Psychic Reading, whereby your hidden present, past, or future are spontaneously (or laboriously) revealed by a clairvoyant. Instead, it’s a straightforward inquiry, by which you answer questions regarding where your Spirit finds itself right now, and we discuss what hopes it (your Soul) and you have, regarding your next steps – or what directions (or needs) you might be looking to explore – to “get to the next level” in your personal development. This can be a one time thing – conducted live or long distance – or part of a larger “treatment plan” of ongoing sessions.

Nirvana Quartz - cohort of the higher self

Nirvana Quartz – cohort of the Higher Self

5) The One-on-One, Individual Sessions are a series (generally starting with 4 meetings), that focus exclusively on you. There’s no group, it’s not a sample or glimpse, it’s an in depth exploration – using Crystals and sacred space (where we set up safety and security) – to be in (and allow) the presence of your Spirit to come out (not physically, but metaphorically), to be seen and contemplated. Whether your mission is to embody: to be more present, grounded, and connected positively in your life; or whether transcendence, journeying, and other dimensional travel is your yen…that will be our mission.

I’ve used this work to exorcise and put unwelcome entities to rest – identify and remove major blockages – and simply for rebalancing and invigorating folks who want to feel better in themselves.

6) Self-Care and Development. Here’s where we come full circle, back to my self, and your self, solo. How can we use Crystals on our own? Let me count the ways – because there is so much is to be learned and implemented – from all the approaches above.

having that special Crystal around, on your desk or in your pocket…to invoke the positive messages and feelings you associate with it (during your daily life);

3 matching Blue Fluorites

3 matching Blue Fluorites

taking time to really sit with a special Crystal (or group of them), taken in hand, laid out in what I call a “constellation,” or carefully arranged on an altar…here’s where your meditation can bring you down (in a good way) – settle you – or help you ascend…to that place you know you need to get to. I do this also at night, before bed: taking hold of a Crystal that captures a lesson of the day, or a hope for the night, and/or tomorrow;

Which brings up…

– Projection and Prayer (this can also be done in groups). It is seeking to materialize health or better luck & circumstance for oneself, or others. This can be an advanced practice…but can also be done by children. Anyone can learn, try, or experiment…engaging in this vitally needed activity.

– Charity (and Repair of the World): doing any or all of the above, for others (and Nature) who are in so much in need…is a must. The sick and the dying, the passed on, and the suffering. We live in a world that is comprised of both Heaven and Hell, mixed in varying proportions (depending on where you find yourself, and whose life you happen to be living). Aging, entropy, unfairness, and Evil are all factors – as well as Beauty and Grace, Benevolence and Compassion – which we are tasked to identify and work with and balance, as constructively as we are able.

unique Selenite cluster - representing our reach for the Eternal

unique Selenite cluster – representing our reach for the Eternal

IT’S ALL ABOUT G8D

Whether you’re devoutly practicing a religion or not; believe in a higher power – The Force or whatever – working with Crystals can certainly tap you into The Divine.

Polytheists, Pagans, Animists – we’re all aware of greater powers in our midst – and that we ourselves are formidable forces (for good or ill). Even negligence is a force to contend with. It’s all about tapping into the Energy that’s all around (and within!).

Working with it, running with it, taming and shaping it – or resisting and avoiding it – these are factors we need to grapple with.

I believe that for all the complexity and wonder of the physical world – there is an equal and “opposite” (or simultaneous) “dream time,” or metaphysical world – and that is the one that Crystals both tap into, and straddle, bringing into being what was not previously manifest (and projecting the manifest back over, beyond “the veil”).

Ultimately, these are rocks – objects – quite plain and permanent. It’s really a trip. “How to Work with Crystals” is really an exercise in playing with the constant and the mutable, the “objective” and the relative.

IN ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION

Now have I thoroughly confused matters? Has my argument become too long in the tooth? Astrophysicists have found that the more we know – the more we want to (and don’t) know. Learning will never die, there is always more to explore.

Why should this be any different. Every field has its limits, or its next frontier. And every modality has its merit, too. I would never propose to devalue complementary (or even opposing) practices. Every approach to healing is worthy of exploration.

I personally connect uniquely (and primarily) with the Crystals, which have led me on this ongoing journey of discovery and sharing.

Celestite egg

Celestite egg

I hope you now feel more informed on “How to Work with Crystals” – my having outlined both how we can engage them (through “the circuit”) – and how I have created a spread of curriculum…teaching through the written word and images, as well as the engagement of groups and individuals…each method taking on a different form and delivering a new dynamic to the process.

DIFFERENT VIEWS OF THE SAME EDIFICE

The webinar of this name “How to Work with Crystals” is more improvisational – it was recorded live – and I say things that don’t appear here. Likewise, points are made “on paper” that are not covered in person. So it really behooves you to experience both – as my written personality is different than my spoken self – and all my “incarnations:” the Presentation, the Meditation, the Workshop, the Webinar, Individual Sessions, Prayer & Charity, as well as Solo Time have unique contributions to make to our overall understanding and process.

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About the Author: Kyle Russell has been working with Crystals for 27 years. Although he’s been collecting and working with people throughout that time period, the past few years have seen a resurgence of primary attention being devoted to this cause. The reason is that he feels he has something unique to contribute – not only in terms of content, conceptually – but physically, in terms of delivering outstanding power stones to the community. It’s a holistic endeavor, and complements his personal choices around health and wellness, as well as maintaining his own well being (he survived Cancer, twice). Please don’t hesitate to be in touch at CrystalConcentrics@gmail.com, with any questions, or to followup, with feedback. 

Expo/Festival madness – the view from across the table

AnGee Lewis and Kyle Russell, on opposite sides of 'the table'

AnGee Lewis and Kyle Russell, on opposite sides of ‘the table’

What’s it like for a vendor at the shows you go to? I thought you might like to know, since the minority of us are standing on “this side of the table.”

Most of you (readers) are on the other side of the table… browsing like bees – going from flower to flower – exhibitor to exhibitor.

Yours is the choice. It’s a buyers’ market. If a vendor’s display (and selection) doesn’t suit you, you’re movin’ on!

I thought it would be enriching if you had a glimpse into what “we” go through. Hence, me writing this particular Blog. But a story is never just a story. It’s all about what we learn from it – or wish to convey (or “teach”) – through our experience.

NYC at night

rolling in to NYC at night

A few weekends ago was a textbook example (for me), of what it’s like to showcase at an Expo. Part of what made the experience particularly special – for me – was the fact that it was the first such show I’ve done in New York City.

I’d been there before, to wholesale to shops – 20 years ago – and also to perform, as a musician (more recently)…but this was different.

You can be sure it crowded my mind for weeks, leading up to the event. I bought new product – specifically to fill out my inventory for the occasion – I wanted to impress!

That entails selecting, buying, transporting, unpacking, pricing, photographing, and the uploading (to the web) dozens of specimens (cause that’s what I try to do with everything I get…put it through my inventory system). I also decided to overhaul my display M.O. as well – so I purchased velvet trays and pads – as well as a carrying case.

my entire display (including tables) on 2 dollies, in my hotel room

my entire display (including tables) on 2 dollies, packed into my hotel room

I laid out all my flats and boxes in advance, choosing only what would fit onto the two dollies I was bringing.

I had a 6-foot-wide by a 9-foot-deep space to fill. That’s an odd dimension, and took some advance planning.

The organizers had promised to provide a 4-foot table, which turned out to be a 6-foot table. That would have been good news for some folks, but not for me, ’cause I’d mapped out every square inch in advance.

I figured it out, though. It helped that I had gone to Costco, and purchased an actual 4-foot table, as well as a 6-footer – of which I’d already had two – but this newfangled one folds in half (which is nifty).

The goal is to streamline and to simplify, going forward – to make your life easier – because you can be sure challenges will come up, unforeseen. Like how was I gonna unload into the hotel from a busy downtown side street?

If registration as a vendor was required before I could even load in, who was going to watch all my stuff (or my car!)? And where, exactly, was I gonna fit an oversize vehicle (my full sized passenger/cargo van is about 7 feet tall) in a city than can barely accommodate “normal” driving machines?

the view from the 18th floor - where the Expo happened - looks the same as it did 70 years ago

the view from the 18th floor – where the Expo happened – looks the same as it did 70 years ago

Enter the brilliance – and generous response – which came from my asking my friend Nigel to come along. I’d reserved a 2-bedroom suite, on account of my family coming, but it turned out they couldn’t leave town. So I offered my bro from the music world the opportunity to have a weekend in the city – to do whatever he wanted – which he did(!)…so long as he could help me load in and out. He even drove us part of the way back (what a blessing)! We’d been meaning to catch up for months, so that was just fine by us, and it turns out he made some great connections of his own (at the Expo) that weekend.

I’ll only mention in passing that the hotel didn’t have my reservations (I’m finding this out at 11:15pm, after we’d just rolled in) – or that when Expedia lopped off my 4th night there, I ended up paying more (for the 3 nights that I did stay there) than I’d been on the hook for originally (for 4 nights!).

Snafus – things you can’t anticipate, and couldn’t begin to include in the price of your product – but they’re costs nonetheless…the cost of “bringing Crystals to market.” I hope buyers recognize that we vendors absorb these myriad tangible – and emotional costs – wishing (sometimes fruitlessly) to make them up on the “back end,” with some big sales. One of my fellow vendors reported more in sales to one big customer than all his others that weekend, combined!

8 main elevators, 1700 rooms(!)

8 main elevators, 1700 rooms(!)

As we were pushing my 10 large bins out of the freight elevators – on the 18th floor (a bellman had gruffly sent us ’round the back when we tried to load in to the main elevators) – a different group of exhibitors was loading in too. They asked us what we were selling.

“Crystals” we replied.

They were not pleased – since after having been told there were “only 2 Crystal vendors,” there turned out to be about 4 major vendors – and another handful of exhibitors with meaningful crystal displays.

It creates an atmosphere of competition for everyone (when there’s already lots of folks selling “the same thing”) – which can be healthy – and good for you buyers. But everyone selling sees their earning potential drop. It also hurts our (needed) margin when buyers get to pit us against each other for the lowest prices.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the end buyer’s benefit (hello: I’m a retailer) – but part of my mission in telling this story (can you tell?) – is to demonstrate the types of liabilities & costs we encounter at every turn (as vendors).

Fortunately, everyone was selling something a little different. And everybody had their unique strengths. But without an unlimited audience passing through, there’s only so many dollars to go around. If they don’t spend it with you, they’re spending somewhere else!

tasty (standing) Cobalto-Calcite & cubic Pyrite cluster I sold

tasty (standing) Cobalto-Calcite & cubic Pyrite cluster I sold

I got one “insult” (that’s how I heard it) – “you’re the most expensive crystal seller in the place” – from someone who’d just walked away, after making a purchase (from me!).

He and his wife had come by and hammered me on pricing earlier, but then walked away – even after I dropped the total (on just 2 pieces) lopping off 20 bucks – which turned out to be a whopping 22% discount!

Most vendors are stretching it, to give you 5-10% off. I’ve seen it, cause I’m a buyer too (and they know I’m a dealer).

I enjoy giving breaks in general, but in particular when someone’s really enthusiastic, and buying multiple pieces.

I was actually rattled by that experience, though (and that doesn’t usually happen for me). A buyer from the previous day came by (very happy, with his new necklace, which he’d gotten from me ), and I confessed (after saying something nonsensical): “I’m a mess.” I drove 4 hours Thursday night, and then we loaded all my stuff up to the room, going to sleep way after midnight.

Friday, I set up from 10am till 3:30pm, just taking things out and organizing them. That’s over 5  hours on setup! You couldn’t tell me to set up any faster. Some things take the time to “do right.” I didn’t just lay bins out, or put out jewelry boxes…I took everything out…and put all into play with that new velvet-pad display-system I mentioned earlier.

Crystal Energy Zones poster

Crystal Energy Zones poster

I was also excited to put out my new Crystal Energy Zones poster – which I’d created specifically in time for this particular Expo. It condenses the various Chakras down to 4 key areas, all all of which are pertinent to the human body. These are “populated” by the 29 varieties of power stones I find essential to working with our own energy system [email me at CrystalConcentrics@gmail.com to get your copy].

The place was open to the public from then (3:30pm) till 10pm on Friday. That was another 6.5 hours on the floor – and I had just one meal throughout (and one bathroom break) – from start to finish! I’m a big eater, but you can be sure my stomach shrank to accommodate the long intervals between meals.

I wish I had photos of them all – there was the African sorghum meal – the Chinese Indian dish – and even raw coconut (which tided me over each afternoon).

me trying out the Coco-Jack coconut opener (with the inventor there)

me trying out the Coco-Jack coconut opener (with the inventor right there)

On Saturday, the hours were 10am till 9pm (count ’em: 11 hours); and Sunday was 11am till 7pm. With the long drive home to Boston looming ahead – after a 2 hour load out (that turned Sunday into a 16 hour day) – I had earned the right to reach the end of my tether.

Fortunately, this guy’s friend – whose sweater I’d complimented – offered (and delivered) a 5 minute Chi Gung massage session right there, with us standing in the aisle. It was heavenly, actually, and revitalized me…mostly to receive positive energy from someone who wasn’t trying to undercut the value of my hard work and display efforts.

I take this thing quite seriously – I’m gonna share with you a blog soon about the life cycle of a crystal: how it gets into my possession, as well as what it goes through before it gets into your possession. You’d be surprised by the number of hours (and dollars) that goes into developing a selection the likes of which I’ve been showcasing at events lately.

I was vindicated that after having frequented all of those other vendors, those prickly buyers returned to me because guess what – they didn’t find what I had elsewhere – and they ultimately came to appreciate the value of my pieces (though they wouldn’t admit that).

Quasi - with his new pieces - for embedding in a pendant

Quasi – with his new pieces – for embedding in a pendant

At other shows, my average sale is $30-50, but this time it was $50-100. That’s not because people are buying a dozen $5 stones – or three dozen dollar pieces – I don’t carry those. My pieces start at about twenty bucks because too much less isn’t really worth the time I put into them. My niche is to shoot for a cut up – just over the average – including both the stones I acquire & the collectors I’m aiming to attract.

I’m catering to folks who’ve been around, who’ve seen most of what’s out there, and are searching for more – for special – for unique. And that doesn’t have to be big and pricey. Take for example, my new friend Quasi’s purchases: a small Polar Jade piece (with its own type of texture) & a family of DT’s floating together like Herkimer Diamonds (which came from Morocco). He makes pendant breast plates, and these were just right for him.

"galactic mountain range"

“galactic mountain range” prase Quartz

Alternatively, I also sold some very special, more expensive pieces. Take for example this rare, crystallized, green Prase Quartz I called “Galactic Mountain Range.” Coincidentally (and happily), I sold another, single “point” of this material online that weekend.

But that was about as expensive as I expected to go. Most people – except those in the know, who were really curious – didn’t even notice my Ethiopian Opals (which run even higher in price range).

I barely have any Crystals that can fetch over a G. And that’s on purpose. Yet I saw some items pushing over $1000 mark – even stretching into the several thousands – at other booths.

One visitor even complained (regarding another vendor) – about an item that seemed way out of proportion in price – relative to smaller pieces of that same material. To the vendor’s defense, I’d have to say that larger pieces are sometimes more rare, and cost more than their aggregate weight in smaller stones, because it’s hard to find that variety in larger dimensions. All and still, it was oddly reassuring to notice that “fault” can be found with every vendor. Nobody’s perfect.

I do have a pet peeve – though – about strange, incongruous pricing. I try to have an internal logic behind the price of every single piece I carry. If you care to know, I can explain it to you (for any and every item I carry).

Smoky Quartz and other, darker items

Smoky Quartz and other, darker items

I don’t price based on a blanket markup – as I imagine most people do – particularly wholesalers, who can’t be bothered with sorting through their lot (that’s our job, as retailers).

I price each piece based on a variety of factors. There’s size, color, texture, rarity (even within its type). Purchase price, replaceability, and personal “wow” factor all matter.

All these variables come into play…but this internalized list (the “axes of analysis,” as I call it) goes on and on! It would be hard to capture in words. There’s ultimately no substitute for the years of experience I bring to my pricing (and selection!).

The competitive vibe among sellers is actually something a lot of us have been overcoming (especially at the bigger shows). It’s so petty when venues block healers from reaching their audience, or sharing what it is they have to offer.

For all intents and purposes – if they did “open the gates” – the new arrangement would have every promise of creating a win win situation (for all of us). But no, we all want to be gatekeepers. “If you want to buy or be well, you have to come through my portal.” Sounds like Religion (but I won’t go there).

Papaya Quartz

Papaya Quartz

I find that it breaks the ice – with all but the most negatively minded people – when I buy from them, even at retail (though I certainly prefer – and merit – wholesale pricing). I’m an omnivorous buyer, I go for the good stones, wherever they may be (and whatever they cost).

I love the light hearted comradery that happens “on the floor.” There’s a sense that we’re all in this together – and that when we’re travelling from afar – we’re at the mercy of the organizers (who are ultimately “responsible” for bringing people through the door).

Indeed, there’s a little bit of an “us vs. them” feeling amongst the vendors, relative to organizers. It shows up in how we react towards the space we’re given; or even down to how the electricity is served up.

Our electricity kept getting unplugged…and had to be taped to the wall. It was a little annoying to have paid nearly $200 for access to a socket that was already there in my own booth space. And it wasn’t even that professionally set up (the wall plate wiggled). Three different sellers were being fed off of one outlet. Shimmying it tighter to the wall was the only method by which we could “stay juiced.”

Hospitality matters too – and shows up in areas such as making a special food line for us vendors – vs. relegating us to fending for ourselves (as if we were in the wild), amidst the throngs of festival goers.

Jewelry show display bins

Jewelry show display bins

Back (a bit) to my pricing philosophy and perspective. Some people think that because one person’s selling a bunch of tumblers in grab-bag-baskets for a couple of bucks each, that they’re not making a good margin of profit. Think again – they’re making as good a margin as anybody – and those nic nac accessories and non-rock, “shiny objects” that fly off the shelves…they’re there because they’re easy markup items. I was offered a few, to carry, but I declined…saying “I’m just a rock guy.”

Please don’t think that because some rocks sell for $1 to $3, that all rocks cost – or should cost – that amount. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on purchases I have no guarantee will ever sell. That’s what you do when you’re really into it.

Be driven by the product, not the cost. There are more important things to life (and Crystals) than the numbers. It annoys me to no end when people just look for the price tag, and then drop the piece, as if it has no other intrinsic worth than the dollar sign sticker which is stuck to it.

blues and greens - from Turquoise and Amazonite - to Crysoprase, Jade, and Chrysocolla

blues and greens – from Turquoise and Amazonite – to Chrysoprase, Jade, and Chrysocolla

Another pet peeve I have is when people come up out of nowhere – as they did specifically at this show, searching for Shungite – and ask “do you have such-and-such?” Just ’cause somebody’s written a book about it recently – extolling its virtues – doesn’t make it the best thing since sliced bread!

When it’s revealed that I don’t have it (whatever it may be…”Natural-ite” was another favorite…that made me laugh), they disappear again. Never mind that I have some of the best specimens of the key, classic varieties (and some hard to find rarities too) right there for the viewing, which they’ve completely overlooked. That just shows me they’re into the trends, and have no real depth to their interest in Crystals.

As I was packing up, after the close of the show, a woman walked up and asked casually “can you explain about Crystals, and what they do for you?” lackadaisically. I’m like (in my head): “really, you can’t seriously care about the truth of the matter, never mind what I have to say about it.”

pendulums galore

pendulums galore

Back to pricing – I have a pricing paradigm that I’ll share with you sometime too – it’s a way for you to understand better what you should expect to get for under $10 (as a retail buyer) – between $20 and $40; $50 and 90; over $100 – and over $200.

Another insider tip on my M.O. – if I don’t believe in it, or even get it – I don’t carry it (which I suggested above).

Take pendulums, for example. I don’t use them, but I know many who do. And I appreciate their aesthetic, as well as how helpful they can be (if you are into it). So I buy the best I can find – but not an overabundance of them – and I do display them.

Aqua Aura point(s)

Aqua Aura point(s)

Another variety I don’t use personally – but recognize the power of – is the treated Aura Quartzes. Precious metals are powdered, and fused to the surface of Quartz in a vacuum, at high temperatures. I’ve noticed they can become quite brittle – but they’re oh so pretty – and have a special, different, and larger than life aura.

My mainstay are real specimens  – including polished pieces – which I don’t necessarily consider “worse” than rough minerals.

I had a couple of people call me “hard” because I couldn’t go down indefinitely on the price of a standing Amethyst mini-cathedral. I’d rather hold onto something – wait for someone who appreciates it – than give it away beneath cost (or at a price that really doesn’t respect the piece).

Having been in the business 25 years, I know what will and won’t come around again.

Enough of my bellyaching! I don’t want to lose your ear – you’ve indulged me this far – but to get what we go through, you really have to understand this psychological tug of war that’s going on between us and folks who really don’t get it.

I had this same experience in the music business, where folks think you’re just “playing.” They don’t see your doing years of rehearsal, schlepping, late nights, driving tired behind the wheel, banging on doors for gigs. It ain’t easy work, but (somehow) we keep at it – we actually love it no matter what!

milky white Aragonite cluster lit from beneath by a light box

milky white Aragonite cluster lit from beneath by a light box

To tell you the truth – it’s self sourcing – energetically. I could be around Crystals (and all of what that entails) every single day, all day. Some of my best stretches have been spent exactly that way!

But you know the other reason we do it (and put up with all the BS)? It’s the folks who do get it, who recognize what you’re doing (and what it takes to deliver what you’re delivering). They make it worthwhile.

When I thought all was lost (that Saturday), and that I had no hope of recouping my expenses (never mind my product cost, or the worth of my time), I had a handful of good people come through. I’d just met them – for the first time(!) – and that carried me through.

Take also, for example, these encouraging words from a colleague afterwards: “You had a terrific display (and at least three attendees remarked to me that your crystals were of much higher quality than anything else at the show)! I think you really brought something special to the floor.” Feels good!

Or, from an elder, old time friend and fellow Crystal energy worker, based in NYC: “So good to see you again, I’m so proud of you. You have a great collection. And I like that you honor Earth Mother’s gifts.”

What else can I say?