Do you know where your crystals come from?
Moonrise Crystals opened for business in 2013 in a little round yurt in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. The yurt only had internet access on the porch and lacked indoor plumbing. The neighbors were organic farmers, Fair Trade coffee roasters, and a few mischievous woodland spirits. Julie, the idealistic owner of the brand-new business, declared that ethical sourcing would always be a key value. Before the first dollar was made, plans were already in place to use that dollar to shine Light & Love into the world. Unfortunately, the owner knew nothing about running an online business and barely had a dollar to her name. Fortunately, she was a teacher and writer with boundless curiosity and grit. That would be enough.
Asking Tough Questions
Moonrise Crystals’ first year buying at the 2014 Tucson Gem Show was a baptism by fire. Tucson is the largest, oldest, and most prestigious gem show in the world. Miners, polishers, and wholesalers from almost every country come together to sell their stones to the 50,000 casual collectors and business owners who come to buy. It’s not one show, but rather 45+ shows spread out across the city. Each show has its own schedule and there are both official and unofficial dates. There are no guides, no maps, no signs that say, “Ethical Crystals are over here!” Most stones aren’t labeled beyond name and price, not even country-of-origin. In most cases, questions about supply chains are ignored and dismissed. Sellers and buyers haggle over prices while the noisy songs of crystal energy overwhelm the senses. A small newcomer with inconvenient questions about ethics attracts ire and suspicion. Ultimately, a newcomer can only trust intuition and hope for the best.
That first year, 81 varieties of tumbled healing stones were offered for sale at the Moonrise Crystals website, as well as in satellite stores on Etsy and eBay. Some of those stones like Rose Quartz from Madagascar and Ruby from India are still carried by Moonrise Crystals to this day from the same suppliers. Other stones, like Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan and Malachite from the Democratic Republic of the Congo were purchased that year, but were eventually removed from Moonrise Crystals due to ethical concerns. The number of unique crystals has tripled since that first year.
In 2015, Moonrise Crystals moved to a beach house in Hawaii, surrounded by organic farmers, professional surfers, and Kū’īlioloa Heiau. This ancient Hawaiian temple once trained wayfinders in navigation and offered blessings to travelers. It offered a comforting presence as Moonrise Crystals continued to find its way through the opaque and convoluted industry supply chains.
In 2018, the owner of Moonrise Crystals was interviewed for an article about ethical sourcing in the healing crystal industry. This conversation dramatically changed the trajectory of Moonrise Crystals and led to the moral reckoning of The Day I Almost Quit My Business. It was clear that Moonrise Crystals could no longer play by the same rules. It was time to take a stand and do something radically different. This shift has changed not only the sourcing, but also how Moonrise Crystals approaches spiritual topics. The World Healing Index was created in the summer of 2020, while concerns about pseudoscience were confronted the following winter.
In 2021, research into ethical sourcing led to a new level of analysis based on empirical, mathematical, third-party data rather than trust and intuition.