The topic of ethical sourcing is a huge one – where do we draw the line?
When I opened in September of 2016, I had no idea what was about to happen. You see, I have been an ethical collector since 1990. It was not a popular stance to take, even then as a customer. I would always ask the vendors that I purchased from “How did this come out of the ground?” and “Who took this out of the ground?” Some shrugged as if they didn’t know, but never gave an answer. Many did not respond with words, but only a scowl and obvious disgruntlement, even walking away from me in their own store. It was terrible customer service, since I was asking innocently and with interest, and never in an accusatory tone. This is why I never understood why they got upset at me. I was also so good at giving them the benefit of the doubt that I thought they must not know… later finding out that they most certainly DID know. (by the way, they also were upset when I would ask them about the properties of crystals differing in polished vs raw stones, but that is another article.)
It has always been important to me, the standards by which my healing stones were brought into my life. So, when I opened shop, it was obviously something that I was going to let people know they could feel assured of: that I knew how my stones came out of the ground and who took them out of the ground.
When I opened, 100% of my inventory was from ONE source, a small family run business in Africa. I had actually come across them many years prior after looking for an alternative to a man that I was spending a lot of money at his store. He got MAD AT ME FOR “BUYING ALL HIS BEST STUFF”. I thought, WHAT NERVE! I had just spent $1500 in two weeks in his shop. In hindsight, I am thankful since it got me looking elsewhere for a more authentic and ethical source for my stones.
In September of 2015, I saw some larger citrine quartz clusters- I had not seen such large crystals of citrine in clusters before. I turned to my then husband and exclaimed, “I have to make this available to people!”
I took a full year of carefully acquiring stones, looking every day and spending more money that I had. At that time, I was debt free and had a cash downpayment ready for a farm. Needless to say, having a license to buy rocks was very dangerous. But by taking my time and researching the back story to each item that I was considering for purchase, I was able to confidently amass a large inventory of ethically mined minerals, and ethically sourced from those areas that are most violated. For example, the minerals coming out of the Congo were acquired from individuals who brought their self-mined specimens to this African family and asked them if they would buy them. So, I have purchased with only one middle person between the miner and me.
When I opened shop, I had no idea what was going to happen… to be continued…