Facebook for Crystals
You know how people say: "I'll Facebook you" - it's a turn of phrase, a language unto itself. My title is apt, then...it's like "French for hello!" In this case, I'm talking about how Crystals are "done" on Facebook. About this I'm no expert, but I used my holiday "time off" (at the end of last year) to apply my interest & expertise to getting some first hand experience...some education about it. I more than dipped my foot into the water. I learned a lot. And I made some new Friends.
I do have history with Facebook - a lot of history - because of my ongoing involvement in the Reggae music promotions business (check out KRucial Reggae on Facebook). But the audience is different...and so is the content.
Unless I'm mistaken, I only opened my Crystal Powers profile in March of 2012; and my Crystal Concentrics page in September (this past Fall...also in 2012). I've ballooned to over 1000 Likes in 4 months!
I must be doing something right. I do have to give credit to my re-commitment to pursuing and sharing this part of myself - awakened by supernatural happenstance in 1987 (the year of the last Mayan calendrical blip: the "Harmonic Convergence") - and now I urgently need to share what I know with some new audiences. That's part of why I'm putting effort into these Blogs at my main site (www.CrystalConcentrics.com), as well as doing Classes, Slide Shows, and writing a Book. The urgency has to do with the fact that I can contribute a lot to people's understanding - differently from "what else is out there" - and I'm hoping to accelerate our own Spiritual process. I want to fully engage what I have to offer, in terms of knowledge and power stones.
A little history. "In the beginning" (and this was through my @CrystalsPower Twitter feed to Facebook - which I coincidentally, also set up in 2012 also) - I posted just quotes - and mostly my own. Now, I'm posting images of mine (including of others' pieces), and re-posting insightful quotes from my Facebook Friends. Change is in the air, and I can feel the opportunity coming for me to sell my stones too (and perhaps others' as well) online.
It wasn't long ago, I thought that after I died, my children would have to "give away" my collection at a yard sale. The mineral, never mind the energetic values, would never be properly recognized, and what represents a lifetime of collecting would change hands for cents on the dollar (if that). I no longer feel that way. I am suddenly confident that I'll be able to "move" a number of stones sooner, rather than later, including pieces I've been "sitting on"/hoarding unnecessarily.
For metaphysically oriented folks - there's blend of Spiritualism and Materialism in their interest in stones - and I'm no different. For those who don't "feel the vibes" - I'm not sure what it is - maybe just a job. Surely, the beauty and mystery of these naturally formed artworks is alluring to all.
Whatever the reasons may be that people are drawn to gems & minerals - I see there's a market out there - and some of my new Friends are reporting some great success servicing it. They do lament "wolves in sheep's clothing" - posers peddling miracle cures - like the snake oil salesmen of yore. The "real deal" folks assert that authenticity in your approach is what the buyer really seeks (along with good stones & appropriate pricing). So I started looking around, to separate the wheat from the chaff, and maybe get a few new pieces for myself (in the process).
There's a lot of auctions - like EBay - which I have checked out...and still want to learn more about. There's so much to learn, for sure, and an astonishing variety of product available (although for some varieties, it can be maddeningly slim). The interface is pretty straightforward on EBay, often multiple images are visible (for any given piece), and the zoom-in capability is a great feature. I still think the size of Facebook images - though simpler (and that's a good thing) - is still making it easier to really see pieces closer up, and at higher resolution. But some of the vendors - even ones who use or prefer EBay - complained about the service's surcharges. They also felt that EBay favored the Buyer over the Seller in disputes. They, and others, not even on EBay, have realized they can reach their buying public directly - minus the fees - and do alright for themselves.
One friend was astonished I'd never participated in an auction (of any kind). Sure, I'd seen tons of dealers on Facebook - and I saw their posts - but many are cryptic: no price or (often) no explanation of what we're looking at (or why we should care about it). Often, I've had to beg for info. I'm sure a lot of people give up, move on, don't bother. The quality of images is sometimes low, but at least you can buy them (if they're not "Sold" - which another Friend posted: a ton of - unavailable merchandise which had "walked" last year). The auction business model clearly works for a lot of people - Buyers think they can get stuff for less, or set their own prices - and depending on demand, Sellers can be pleasantly surprised at getting more than they'd originally hoped for.
I've been more used to, and preferred (for several months - since I got into it - also last year) checking out images on my Pinterest account. The quality of images is excellent, but a lot of the pieces are inaccessible - from museums, it seems - and nary a one for sale. I actually found out about a few stones on Pinterest that had a long tail...I could have "had them."
Following the image back to its original source posting (which you can do in Pinterest by clicking on the image itself, so see where it originated, or was "taken" from), I learned that one WAS available: an exorbitant Ametrine to die for, located in Europe. Ametrine is the natural occurance of yellow or orange Citrine, within Amethyst. I'm still not sure if it's always "as-is," or whether heat treatment enhances it. In any case, I was talking to the company rep about it - and then the company owner, through Facebook - wanting to know their terms (it took awhile...time and distance intervening). Foreign vendors can be obtuse about their Policies: pricing, packing, postal methods, guarantees, returns...unless you ask and nail them down on the details). And I learned a few other things that have to be taken into consideration, but I'll get into that later.
Suddenly: "poof" - someone else bought the crystal out from under me - I had no idea there was even any interest (apart from my own)! I was irate that they didn't even ask me first...or not assume that I wanted to have first dibs (given my obvious interest). They said I hadn't "put it on reserve," which I didn't even know I was expected to do. So you'd better say something & secure a commitment to hold anything, if you're serious about it. To be fair, Sellers have to sift through a lot of tire kickers, and though they (both the staff member & owner) were apologetic, it was ultimately water under the bridge for them. They're in the business of selling stuff, and if I ain't buying, why do I matter?
Fortunately, I was able to find another Ametrine - at a price I could live with - and just one state away from me (though they-top in color, but "a bird in the hand..." The yellow may be less bright - though the others were going to take more pix to give me a better sense of the first stone's true color (their image was admittedly saturated)...but look at this purple! Plus, this piece has great, grounding energy - which you wouldn't necessarily expect from an Amethyst variety - Amethyst being more about Spirit than Body, per se.
Before that, by a week or so, I got another Ametrine (when it rains it pours). I'd seen some really pretty cool colored points for sale - they'd had that light violet color of the often tiny Kenyan(?) variety - but these were also from Bolivia (and big!). Then I thought about it - they looked just like Amethyst points fallen out of a good sized cluster - and I remembered: I have a superb, deep purple (hand held) point from Brazil already. So I declined.
One of the last to sell (cause they did go within days) was an actual Ametrine generator (ie. it stands with its point upwards - and as they often do - it had a flat, polished base, for stability). I went for it, because I've been trying to acquire an Ametrine for years, and the price / piece never seemed right before. I developed rapport with the Seller (as I have with everyone, above and below). This one was just right - it was a bit bigger than I expected (images can be deceiving) - but that could also be 'cause the seller's hand might be bigger than mine.
Often, you can't see the full color of an Ametrine unless you turn it in the light, or take it outside. Check this photo out, of the same piece above, but looking up from under it, in proper light. You can see how the yellow often shows up in alternating 6ths of the crystalline structure.
Back to dimensions. Relativity (or size, from different perspectives) - matters - as I learned with my next purchase. This one was another result of some long time hankering. Although I have a few rough "nothing" pieces, and a Pinterest board devoted to Opal (and irridescent stones, which are also "light active"), I've long admired it (Opal, that is) - and in particular, Ethiopian Opal - because of its rich, deep colors, and what they call "flash" (the way color is scattered so brilliantly).
So when I saw the strands pictured here (to the right), I inquired. They were coming from India, which I thought was strange. It turns out they have the bead-making factories. They get the rough from Africa, and process it on their own facilities. The package arrived in perfect shape . It was temporarily delayed in Delhi, because they needed a street address - not true for all senders (especially Stateside, where PO Boxes are okay) - but that makes perfect sense. If you want something signed for, make sure the address you give will work for the delivery service.
The problem was - in person - these beads (the bottom most, darkest strand) were miniscule. Look at this pitiful handful to the left. Tell me they're even the same beads that I thought I was getting(?), based on the picture above! Fact is - if you allow for radically different color reproduction, the bead variations line up (so it is the same piece). But you can see why I might be pissed off.
My own personal necklaces are 64cm long, and this was was only 45cm . They barely fit around a my neck(!), never mind over my head . Check out how my Lava necklace dwarfs those beads I'd just gotten in the mail...
Nowhere had the length of the strands been posted, nor had I been told the size of the beads, in millimeters. But I hadn't asked either, which was my mistake. My own eyes had lied to me - I should have inquired and took out my ruler - done the conversion and been a better educated buyer. I shared my disappointment, regardless, and lambasted the wildly inaccurate color reproduction of this vendor's sales shot. I never did get an apology. I was humbly offered a break on future purchases , and he asked if I knew of a good, used camera he could buy, to take better images in the future.
Lesson learned. At least the "bigger" beads have fantastic flash. Someone'll buy it from me, or my daughter will make some great earrings out of it. Later on, I'll get something else from him. His efforts to save face (and his reputation) worked. We're still Friends.
My Facebook profile: Crystal Powers now attracts a number of Vendors, as well as people outside "the business," that I just know and like (and think might enjoy my content). Just watching my Wall, I see pieces come up, and again, most of them don't have too many specifics. I learned that one reason people can be cryptic, is that they don't want competitors coming in and undercutting them, or trying to steal their hard won audience. I recognize (and feel that impulse) from the music business, too.
To open up my further my "truth in advertising" rant, as far as images are concerned Online, let me tell you another recent story. The moral is both to share with you my "powers of selection" (which you'll see were a no-brainer), as well as to reiterate the importance - for vendors - to represent their pieces correctly.
Take this selection of available Sugilites, this time from another European Seller. Which would you choose? I posted the question on my Wall, and everyone agreed with me. The "Purple Heart" won out, so I ordered it.
But guess what, when I got the piece in the mail, I went back to the online album, and was shocked to see that my stone looked nothing (in color) like "the original" (I thought I was getting). Here we go again!
I asked why, and it turns out that Sugilite is always wet when offered to Buyers - so they can see the "true" color - what it would look like polished (or cut, for jewelry). So I wet my piece, and I brought out the color (albeit temporarily). But that color was still not the one originally represented to me on the web. It's a beautiful chunk of Sugilite, and I have a request in for a bigger one - sharp edges, crisp texture - but it's not what I thought I was getting, happy as I am to have it. So beware: the way a crystal looks on screen is not necessarily (though it ought to be) the same as what the eye sees.
My advice goes out to all Vendors - "hold your rocks up to the screen, after you've uploaded any given photo - and if it's not matching...find better way to get your images representing your merchandise. You owe that to your buyers!"
Now I bought several other pieces - and I could go on, ad infinitum about what they were - and what the process was that I went in acquiring them. However, this Blog is getting a bit long in the tooth, and I want to leave you with one more caution, as well as on a positive note.
"Objects are smaller than they appear." This we've learned, above. But there's more. The story above notwithstanding - there are a ton of truly amazing pieces, very well photographed, up close - that are really tiny...and you should prepare yourself for that. Take for example, this finely terminated Tourmaline. I didn't buy it - yet - but I'm thinking seriously about doing so. Looks to be about 4-6 inches, right. That's 15.24 centimeters (sounds even bigger in metric)!
But guess what, with the perspective (provided by the Seller, who I'd gotten one of the Ametrines above from) - using the hand and fingers - you get to see what you're really dealing with: spectacular for sure, but veritably small. So I recommend, almost better than using a only a ruler (which is more scientific), or listing the measurements - just get some proper perspective by seeing a piece handheld. That's the best way to show people not only that your color reproduction is pretty much faithful, but how big the stone really is.
For my purposes - metaphysically - you have to ask yourself: would I want to put this thing on my forehead (would it even balance?)...cause that's pretty much the only place it'll be of any use (aside from in a museum case).
To conclude, it's been a great less-than-a-month. I've met a bunch of great people, several of which I haven't even mentioned here, and some relationships we've launched have got some promising plans hatching. I haven't shown you everything I purchased - it's not necessary - but what I've shown all illustrate a point. Try to make sure you know what you're getting, before you throw down. Size and color can be in the eye of the beholder.
Mere measurements can also fail to convey the true vibe of a stone. Keep your eyes (and your "third eye") open, maybe get some advice from an expert (hint, hint). I might not know everything, but I know what I know - which helped me navigate the experience of buying on Facebook. Twenty five years experience Offline helped me navigate my Online purchasing - if not always before my purchase - certainly afterwards. And politeness, or professionalism goes a long way towards maintaining relationships, even if things get complicated.
Facebook Profile: http://www.Facebook.com/CrystalConcentrics
Facebook Group (for New Englanders): http://www.Facebook.com/Groups/CrystalsNewEngland
Two events I had, in early 2013 (as of this writing): on Tuesday, January 29th, a Slide Show (showcasing the highlights of my travels to Peru, Galapagos, Italy - and including a guided tour of my virtual Pinterest collection) - and on Saturday, February 16th: a Crystal Healing Basics Class.