What A Difference A Year Can Make
Last year at the Tucson Gem Show, I suffered a moral crisis and I almost quit my business. This year I'm having a fabulous time in Tucson and I'm quite in love with my business. My oh my, what a difference a year can make.
Last year I found myself completely fed up with how no one else seemed to care about the environmental and social impacts of the gem industry. I felt so alone and torn up inside. I realized that I was at a crossroads in life. I hadn’t expected to be at a crossroads, but there I was anyway. A choice would have to be made. I could choose to quit my business. Or I could dedicate myself to ethical sourcing on a much deeper scale. No other choice was possible for me. I couldn’t just continue taking care of my own business while ignoring the larger industry-wide problems. It felt too greasy. My soul demanded of me – Go In or Get Out. No more floating in-between.
I chose to go in. Over the past year I’ve completely overhauled how I talk about sourcing on my website. I've got several pages of general information as well as sourcing information for every stone in my store. I go into detail and I’m honest about what I know and what I don’t. I’ve also attended two conferences about ethically sourcing precious gemstones. While the conferences focus on the gold and diamond supply chains, there’s plenty of information that I can transfer over to the healing crystal world.
Now, a year later, I find myself in Tucson again. This time I'm at ease. I spent my first day slowly and carefully sourcing healing stones for my store. I spent the evening working on my book. This book has been writing itself in my head and heart for a full year. It’s finally being poured onto paper. I’ve got 11 pages so far. It’s a start. A new beginning. I have no idea when the book will be done. Months? Years? I’m not in a hurry. The book I'm dreaming into is worth taking the time to get it right.
I’m coming more and more into alignment with my true self. There’s a taste of destiny in the air and I like it. As my first day at the Gem Show comes to a close, I can't help but wonder - who will I be this time next year?
Making Time by Slowing Down
On my second day, I decide I need to take things even slower. I have no interest in feeling busy or rushed. I love knowing I have all the time I need. So I had a lazy brunch at a little diner and had a fun conversation with a Tucson local. Feel energized and refreshed, I saunter over to the gem show. My plan was to visit a known supplier. But on my way, I saw a sign with a rare and precious word - ETHICAL. Of course I had to investigate!
Which is how I found my first new source of 2020. They're a Brazilian family business who mines their own land and works directly with Brazilian mining co-ops and polishing factories. The mother of the family is the driving force behind their strong commitment to ethics. She and I are kindred spirits and took an immediate liking to each other. We both care about the same environmental and social impacts. But she also has among her core ethical standards, "respect cultural identities." This is vitally important in places like Brazil which has many indigenous minority groups. I spend a lot of time going through their inventory, handpicking individual stones. I'm so excited to be offering crystals from this source!
After leaving the Brazilians, I resume my plan to go greet one of my known sources. Once again, I'm waylaid. In fact, I only make it about 50 feet. This time the word on the sign that catches my eye is GREENLAND. High on my wish list is to find a direct source for Nuummite, which is mined exclusively on that arctic island. I step into a hotel room and find: an old grumpy Danish prospector who is good friends with old grumpy prospectors in Greenland, Sweden, Norway and Bulgaria and personally visits the tumbling factories that polish his rough stock. I start asking questions and he starts talking. Turns out he's a wealth of information and stories. I don't even glance at prices, he's exactly who I want to do business with! I got gorgeous Nuummite of course, but you can look forward to lots of brand-new crystals coming out this spring. So beautiful! So powerful! You're going to love these. ♥
Four hours later than I expected, I arrive at the booth of my known source, my Indian supplier for Ruby, Sapphire, and Rainbow Moonstone. They are every bit as delightful as I remembered. They greet me with a hug and then leave me alone to handpick through their stock. I can tell you for a fact that every Moonstone has a rainbow on it, I made sure of that! While I'm picking, I listen to other customers talking. In all my years of attending gem shows, I've never once overheard anyone ask a question related to ethics. I wonder if that might change after I finish writing my book? Wouldn't it be amazing to make a contribution like that?
I've chosen my crystals and wait for one of the owner to be available. We find a quiet corner and talk more about their polishing factory. The conferences I attended in 2019 have taught me additional questions to ask. I like what I hear from them. They like what they hear from me. There's a lot of good energy in the room.
It's nearing sunset and I've got one more errand. I need to pick up a box of crystals that I purchased the day before. Normally this source is bustling with people. But when I arrive, the place is quiet and the owner looks exhausted. We make some small talk and then start joking and laughing together. I learn quite a bit more about the company (and the news was good). Equally important, by the time I leave him, the owner is glowing with energy again. His aura looked much happier and that's as it should be. Whenever possible, we should leave people and places better than how we found them.
The only thing left to do is find myself a good dinner and drink a prickly pear margarita. Cheers to this trip! Cheers to how much life can change in a year.