I’m sick, and I’m well (the Lessons and Gifts of Illness).

Let me confess, I got a cold. Worse than that…a strep/flu…all wrapped up into one. It’s still making its way through my system. But it’s not as bad as all that. I mean – so what(?!) – I’ve had Cancer before (twice). How bad can this be…

Fenster, or Skeletal Quartz, is emblematic of "sickness in health" - where the interior has been compromised - but the shell and structure remain quite solid.

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

And yet, people belly ache about their seasonal illnesses all year long. The common cold – in spite of what people claim about vaccines being effective [I’m not convinced] – this complex of viruses (if that’s fair to call them) impacts just about everyone in the northern hemispher. And I think it’s emblematic of all diseases, though fortunately, it’s not a commonly fatal (or chronic) malady. 

I thought I’d transcended all that. With the parting of ways I’ve had with Sugar, and anything (chips or nuts) that come in a bag [the rancid oils are harmful]…it’s been literally years since I’ve really been hit by anything like this. What usually happens, is that the symptoms try to get a grip on me, but their effects are weak, and the real deal never fully takes hold. Just a few month ago, everyone in my family got some bad bugs, but I wasn’t touched at all (even though everyone was coughing all over me). Funny how immune we can be sometimes.

I’ve become smug in my healthiness. I might be in the best shape I’ve ever been in, not just physically, per se – in terms of musculature – but thoroughly, from the inside out. I listen much better than I used to, to my Body and Spirit. I mind what I’m eating, set aside time to exercise, and stay on top of my self care quite steadily. Basicly, I’m in a lifelong training to be “a Soul Wisperer.”

So it’s humbling to be “brought down” like this. It’s always a learning experience, though. Illness has much to teach us. The first questions for me become: “what have I done wrong? How could I have avoided this?” 

Chrysocolla - combines self forgiveness and emotional expressiveness

Chrysocolla – combines self forgiveness and emotional expressiveness

Self-blame is cruel, and worsens the cycle of the illness. Self reproach definitely makes it worse. At some point, some serious self-forgiveness is necessary to interrupt the cycle. You have to break that downward spiral…the chicken and egg of negatively overthinking your situation. 

When a stone breaks - it loses its original value - but energy is released, and we find ourselves adapting to the change as having been meant to be.

When a stone breaks – it loses its original value – but energy is released, and we find ourselves adapting to the change as having been meant to be.

But let me sit with the badness, for a moment. When you get sick, your body – the rock on which you stand daily – falters. Of course it’s worse with a more serious (or chronic) illness…you lose faith and trust in you. That basic tableau – within which everything happens to and through: you – it’s no longer what you’ve come to expect, it’s not reliable, dependable. The rules of engagement have somehow changed, and it doesn’t seem very fair.

No, indeed – the Russian Roulette of illness and Death are not fair – our goal is to hedge our bets with prevention and treatment.

Taking this statement further – many of believe we live in a universe governed by a benevolent G*d, but whether jealous our merciful – G8D cannot give us our way 100% of the time. We are each the center of our own reality, but in fact, we are all peripheral to the greater REALITY (and thus, not particularly entitled to any special treatment). This is a bitter pill to swallow, but the sooner we make peace with it, the sooner we can have a more balanced and ultimately respectful view of The Creator.

So back to our compromised self. Being sick is a very damning state to be in – because as a body – if you can’t count on your own being, what can you count on? Your weakened state throws everything into question. You become alienated from a generally beautiful, provident world, and a mostly functional (and otherwise healthy) body. 

The co-mingling of opposites: is the dark in the light, or the light in the dark?

The co-mingling of opposites: is the dark in the light, or the light in the dark? Yin and Yang swirl around one another.

Don’t think for a minute that I look at the world with rose tinted glasses. I’ve seen some of the worst, and I do believe we live in Heaven and Hell simultaneously. But like the glass half full or half empty, I believe you can view the same situation in a more positive or pejorative light. 

For some – and I spent a decade like this (at least) – everything can seem worse, like you’re living in purgatory (at best). And being sick definitely throws you back, deeper into that dungeon. I do believe – especially when I listen to the news (about atrocities committed here and abroad) – that for many, life on this planet, is hell on earth.

Back to me, and my immediate answers about what might have contributed to my current situation. One theory, is that I left the fan blaring on me while I slept sweatily last week, and it destabilized my aura (wreaking havoc on my overall metabolism). More than half the people I spoke to agreed that this could well have been the culprit.

The symptoms also began the night after I had Chinese food from a restaurant I like, but don’t totally trust the cleanliness of. I do believe that germs from an unusual source can tip the scales. A variety of causes can conspire to make you sick.

A third theory is connected to the fact that I tend to overeat. Too much (of even healthy food) can backlog – with nutrients going bad, getting “caught in the filter” – which then require cleansing (or evacuation), through the illness

Amber & Jet are light density power stones - and because their weight is less than their size would suggest - they tend to wick away blockage and tightness.

Amber & Jet are light density power stones – and because their weight is less than their size would suggest – they tend to wick away blockage and tightness.

Worst case scenario – if the raw material (of what you’re eating) is not that healthy – “the backlog” can result in the inexorable growth of pathological tissue – chronically (or fatally) complicating cellular function, a prime example being inflammation, and of course: Cancer.

Whatever the “real” cause of your situation – and, as stated, there can be several – and while disease can often be a fluke of chance (certainly it’s always an unwanted guest with destructive intent) – disease is also, and very often (to its credit) – a healthy response to an unhealthy situation.

Let me pause, and draw attention to “the fluke factor” – bad luck (remember?) – s**t happens. In as complicated a world as we live in, lightning bolts (and tornadoes) do strike. Yes, there can be “favorable” conditions and standing out in a field may be riskier than being in your car. But when that wind starts to blow, can’t nothing stop it.

Every natural disaster reminds us how little control we ultimately have. And disease, ultimately, is a natural disaster. So you have to “give unto Ceasar what is Caesar’s” – let go and hold on simultaneously – try that on a hang glider!

All and still, just as there are (seemingly incontrovertible) Laws of Physics, a great deal of what happens around, and to us…is logical.

What else is your body supposed to do, when you treat it so? We’re too busy to cook or make proper food. We’re too busy to take any time to stretch, or work out (as much as our body may want, or need to). It’s no wonder your physical person develops a grudge and wants to “get you back” for your neglect. All it’s looking for is some R-E-S-P-E-C-T (like the song).

Nirvana Quartz - like Elestials - represents the higher, deeper, more ancient self.

Nirvana Quartz – like Elestials – represents the higher, deeper, more ancient self.

Every time you don’t listen to your Soul, you’re stacking the deck against you.

And we’re all willing to take the hit – whatever treatment or sick time (later) we need – that’s somehow “worth it” to get those things we need from our paycheck. Well guess what, your paycheck won’t always be there, but your body always will be – and once it’s gone – none of that other stuff will matter anyway. People need to start paying attention, doing everything they can before they get sick (not just after, when it’s often too late).

Work, our job, our “have to’s” excuse every mistreatment of our own primary (and personal) system. And yet, if we pause, and take care of ourselves – others, and we ourselves – tend to think we’re being selfish, self-indulgent…the worst…we can’t justify the down time! 

And also – by behaving like this (taking time out to take care of ourselves) – we’re likely/surely bound to become indigent…because there’s no money in self care. There’s only money in “other-care” – taking care of everyone else – that’s what pays (and has any moral currency). That “other” you’re servicing can be your boss or a client – heck, even (or especially?) “the man” – as you pay your taxes and comply with the prevailing laws of the land.

Would you still be doing what you do if there was no money coming in from it? If the answer is no, you have some serious answering to do to your inner self. We pay the price for our compromises.

And then there’s “the children” – the primary conservative force in our world (if you think about it) – why would we take risks or not tow the line…when we have to look out for, and provide for them…children first (remember?!). 

People even avoid Divorce on account of children. Not to say that they’re not (in addition to saving a primary relationship) worth it, but to demonstrate the fact that self denial (for many reasons) is woven into our own very individualistic and narcissistic (in other ways) culture

Nephrite Jade - particularly water worn by nature - is the ultimate emotional soother.

Nephrite Jade – particularly water worn by nature – is the ultimate emotional soother.

It’s like: we’re being goaded to take care of ourselves – in ways that make other people money (like through cosmetics, sports clubs, the clothing industry) – but not necessarily in ways that may cost nothing, but still achieve the desired effect of personal, lasting gratification, or satisfaction. 

They say the personal is political – it’s true – the world feels more holistic (to me) if you can see how you connect beyond your self, right out into the Universe (another benefit & practice of my Crystal Concentrics Meditation). 

Maybe there’s nothing you can do about it – your problem, or the world’s problems (or so you think) – but be honest about what you could really be doing (but maybe aren’t), the ways in which your hands feel tied, how you’re stuck, and how that may be impacting your health and well being (never mind that of the planet).

Why can’t it be simpler – you just “got a bug, got a disease” – it’s not your fault at all, and there’s nothing you can do but fight it. This is the medical, strictly physical perspective. And it has its place. Car’s shocks are gone…fix ‘em…don’t ask about the bumps you keep driving over (which caused the damage in the first place), or “why me,” or “what’s the bigger lesson here.” 

Foggy, or Girasol Quartz is a unique variety - it represents the unknown - and the unknowable...an important factor to consider...and be in the presence of.

Foggy, or Girasol Quartz is a unique variety – it represents the unknown – and the unknowable…an important factor to consider…and be in the presence of.

Suit yourself – however shallow or deep you want to look – if everything happens for a reason (“the Fluke Factor” aside, though even that is an omnipresent reality to contend with) – I think it behooves us dig a little: explore the metaphysical context of your situation. I’m saying (on top of all the types of factors already explored): it could be evil spirits at work; it could be your own past lives catching up with you; the possibilities are limitless.

There’s also “the Fog Factor,” which is that it may not be for us to ever figure out what’s happening, exactly, and why.  

In any case – I’ve gone off on a few (relevant) tangents – I want to bring the conversation back to my own process…regarding the illness that’s come front and center…into my life. I’m banking on it’s being metaphorical for you and your own experience of illness, which could be more than informative…I’m hoping educational…in helping you think about (and hopefully improve) your own situation.

The purpose of this Blog is to be relevant, to apply, and to be of more general utility beyond my solo journey and meanderings.

What I realized – especially early on – is that the illness is not the only game in town. When it first was settling in, I saw it coexist, and in context, relative to the rest of me (which was not in duress). 

Herkimer Diamonds are the picture of health - impenetrable - allowing light, but nothing else, to pass through.

Herkimer Diamonds are the picture of health – impenetrable – allowing light, but nothing else, to pass through.

Holding a larger sense of healthiness and positive continuity, makes being sick more tolerable…gives one hope…and gives you a sense that even if not in the moment, you will overcome. Yes – your throat may be burning, or you may have a tumor – but there are another x-billion cells doing just fine…let their voice be heard. 

I’m remembering my Crystal Meditations, in which we take time to center into the body – that really helped me to acknowledge and get in touch with those other, healthy cells – and call them into play, see and acknowledge them for the good job they’re doing maintaining my overall health. 

My spiritual practice of being with Spirit-apart-from-Body also helped, because I could know that the Spirit was unscathed by what I was going through – damaged, hurt, concerned, for sure – but somehow (also) immune to it all. 

I had to have Faith that “this, too, shall pass.” Even now, a week in [which is how long it’s been taking me to finish this blog], while the unproductive cough has sunken deep into my lungs – my capacity to write an account of my experience is an act that will survive the pathology – and I like the way that demonstrates our eternal capacity to recover and/or transcend. Again, the Power of the Word.

Look at how much more Anne Frank has impacted people in death than she was able to in life. Not everyone can look forward to such a posthumous “reward,” but by being in the moment, doing the best she could with what she had (and grappling with the demons that presented themselves at the time)…she created something more valuable than she could know in the moment.

Basalt - one of the more ancient of stones - here shattered and was polished by the wind & sand over eons, to make a ventifact that is powerful in clearing and protecting.

Basalt – one of the more ancient of stones – here shattered and was polished by the wind & sand over eons, to make a ventifact that is powerful in clearing and protecting.

I’ve never been one to painstakingly plan and strategize – I, too, put one foot in front of the other – try to make for the steadiest footing that makes sense (and feels right, in the moment). My vibration is very steady – though I see what a flash in the pan I am, on the grander scale – which is why I like the Stones…they go on forever

Indeed, while we are so very fragile – and can sometimes be challenged to find any part of us that is steady and sound – Power Stones are there, if we allow them to be…an extension of ourselves (and Creation)…that is solid and eternal

Some people use Religion for solace – and I do too – it surely has its place. And I’ve argued elsewhere that the two are not incompatible. But what I like about the mineral world, is that it both precedes our human experience, and it will outlast us…making it somehow more elemental than anything we could dream up (through our various cultures). By associating with the mineral world, we borrow some eternity, draw from its strength, and share in its capture of Life & Creation energy. 

So have I used crystals to get well? I mean, isn’t that the point, to use them for our service? Yes, and no. Crystals are not tools, like guns and scalpels, created exclusively to do our bidding. That is a beef I have with “the literature,” which seems to suggest as much. It’s the whole Biblical thing about us having been given dominion over all things earthly. Yes, that may seem so – and is a power that we have – but it’s also a responsibility, which people don’t tend to grasp, or hold onto as well. 

Large, beautifully terminated Topaz - the intrabody neural communicator - facilitating your body talk and internal functioning.

Large, beautifully terminated Topaz – the intrabody neural communicator – facilitating your body talk and internal functioning.

Everybody wants the easy part, the quick fix, which is why I don’t give “crystal prescriptions” – “you have this problem, take/use that.” It’s more complicated than that. And also, I’ve had a major breakthrough, in terms of understanding how Crystal energy work is not, nor should it be compared with Medical work.

Indeed, this is also why I don’t believe in gem elixirs – because I don’t think they should be ingested – that is the role of other substances (herbs, medicines, food). An important distinction must be made between physical treatment and metaphysical treatment. They are not, nor should they be, compared or used in the same way (or for the same purposes). 

Crystal Energy is meant to be seen with the Eye – interpreted and working through the Mind, or Imagination – and looped through the Body via Touch (the cycle).

Science is the wonderful art of identifying and working with the recurrent, visible laws of Nature. But not all such laws (of the Natural World) are consistent, measurable, or tangible. The metaphysical world may never be quantifiable in the same way, which is why I have no agenda for bringing Crystal energy into the mainstream, through scientific justification…can’t be done…and shouldn’t be. 

In the metaphysical world, the law is often that there is no law – that we can see and perceive tendencies and subtleties – but that Reality is relative, subjective, untamed. We can coax it, shepherd it, but it goes its own way, in its own time. The myth of control has been debunked.

Wet Sugilite - 'the other purple stone' - symbolizes the materialization (or concretization) of Spiritual vision.

wet Sugilite – ‘the other purple stone’ – symbolizes the materialization (or concretization) of Spiritual vision

I take my remedies (and there are many): steams, elderberry, lomatium root, food grade vitamin C, echinacea, cranberry juice…the list goes on…and they all did their thing (heck, even aspirin helped!). But in the absence of a trusted Crystal Healer, I had to rely on all the previous work I’ve done with Spirit, to tide me over, and give me strength in my weakness

I feel too many (most?) people reject, or pass over the potential of working with a true energy healer – because they want the tried and true – and don’t want to take chances (or make changes). I notice they mostly don’t want to look at “their stuff,” or do the hard work of going through the valley to get to the other side.

My work ultimately has to be demonstrating why and how it’s worth it (to work with Crystals). Alas, I have not trained someone else to take my reins, or do what I do (yet). But I’ll keep on keeping on. Bit by bit, these blogs (and my eventual books and other publishing projects) – as well as the events I host (live and online) – as well as my showcasing at Expos, will together put my footprint on this important area of human endeavor. 

giant DT elestial closeup - these stones are Keepers of the Wisdom - you can always rely on them to know what is to be known

giant DT elestial closeup – these stones are Keepers of the Wisdom – you can always rely on them to know what is to be known

Were it a bigger, life threatening illness (this pesky cold/flu), I would have wanted to have some energy work, for sure. Being very independent, and untrusting of authority per se, there are very few folks I’d trust or want to work with (or “on” me). I’m leery of generalizers and “false prophets.” So my memory and source work with Crystals has had to carry me through, until such time as I can work the gears and have the Soul energy flow again, unfettered (and uncomplicated). 

It’s helpful to know – it flows here, right beside me, through me – even when I don’t see it, or feel it (cause I’m so busy feeling crummy). I’m reminded again of the response a spiritual leader gave my son, when he (my boy) confessed that he’s not sure he believes in G8D: “that’s okay” he was reassured: “G8D doesn’t mind” (the assumption being that G8D is always there, whether you see him/her, or not). 

Our role is not to question or even to seek the Universal Life Force (per se), but rather – to simply let it be (it’s all around, and within us)…to let it flow through us. Stop trying so hard. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t “have it” already. 

Independently from applying meaning or causality to your illness – to have it “make sense” – we often hear folks saying their illness (regardless of the cause or outcome) has taught them something, and for that they are grateful.

Malachite - "the emotive" - demonstrates the wending ways of Feeling - and helps allow you to access and express your inner knowing.

Malachite – “the emotive” – demonstrates the wending ways of Feeling – and helps allow you to access and express your inner knowing.

Had I not gotten those 2 bouts with Cancer, I would have never changed my diet or thought patterns, which I think would have done me in the third time around. Hitting a dead end forces you to make a turn, take a new path. Being sick now – and stuck somewhere without Internet – has enabled me to capture these words in a way that feels more relevant because I’m actually going through some real discomfort (and an extraction from my element) in the moment. My hope is that you’ll be able to make some sense from this collection of thoughts.

Our journey is laden with lessons and gifts. We just have to see them for what they are, or can become. Gloom and doom will never spawn life, for you or others. That is why I have to assert: “I am sick. And I am well.”

To review – I have explored some of the things that happened, which “put me at risk” – as well as the lessons to be learned, including a discouragement of self-blaming. It’s good to correct your course, and know where you’ve gone wrong, but beating yourself up about things will not fix them.

I’ve discussed the Fluke Factor (of chance) and the Fog Factor (of uncertainty), as well as the need to connect the microcosm with the macrocosm. Avoidance does not really serve you, nor do excuses, however good they may be at distracting you from your path. Try to see the good within and around you, and draw strength from both.

The world does not revolve around you, but you should certainly hold your place in the merry-go-round. Reach out and seek healing, from allopathic and alternative sources, they’re all here to serve you. Know that there are limits to control, and that ultimately, our fate is in the hands of forces much larger than we can imagine. 

Enjoy Life while you’ve got it!

**********************

About the Author: Kyle Russell has been working with Crystals for over 25 years – inducted into working with them through a supernatural experience – but building on the knowledge and evolving it through sharing…via in-person and virtual offerings, including an extensive social media presence…and a growing, written record of his thoughts and observations. Feel free to reach out to him, and learn more about his Awareness, and how it can help you. Email Kyle@CrystalConcentrics.com.

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Crystal Pricing – it’s in all the eye of the beholder

Boston Mineral ClubPART ONE – the principal of it

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

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

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

question mark diamond

question mark diamond

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aragonite 'sea horse' floating cluster

Aragonite ‘sea horse’ floating cluster

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

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

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

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

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

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

worthless lot I returned

worthless lot I returned

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

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

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

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

You know what they say about opinions…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

awesome, giant Scheelite I have my eye on

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jewelry show display

Jewelry show display

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

purple Flourite bowl

unique purple Flourite bowl

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

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

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

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

pair of Saphires

blue and yellow Sapphire

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

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

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

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

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

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

twin pair of giant Candle Quartz

twin pair of giant Candle Quartz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Facebook Pages:

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

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