Be a Traveling Jewelry Merchant

There must be a little gypsy in my blood, because I think the idea of becoming a traveling jewelry merchant at craft shows and fairs sound just about like the most perfect thing in life.  The freedom of coming and going as you choose, selling things you make and are a part of you, and meeting interesting people all across the country, seems so cool, so romantic, that I don’t know why more people don’t.

While the reality is much less romantic than the concept, there are people who make a living doing just that.  Look at Arizona, where there is a huge seasonal trade in both gemstones and finished jewelry.  People work all year to sell at those big shows, and they make enough to just do it once a year.

Others travel all over, selling at Renaissance fairs and craft shows.  There are books published on the circuits, so you can plan your route from state to state.

Being successful would mean making a lot of sacrifices, and being willing to live on little during lean times.  You would need a lot of self-motivation and the ability to save for rainy days, but to me, the benefits would be well worth the sacrifice.  Imagine the things you could see and experience on the road, from national monuments to hidden treasures.

While being a traveling jewelry merchant is probably not the life for me, it sure does have its appealing points.  Maybe someday, when the kids are grown and life is more settled…

March's Birthstone: Aquamarine

Aquamarine is a beautiful stone, in a delicate and dainty sort of way.  The light blue hues match well with so many things, and looking a quality specimen is like looking into the clear sky or tropical ocean.  Those lucky enough to have March for a birth month get to enjoy this delicate color, and all the benefits and healing properties of this enchanting stone.

Aquamarine is found in Pakistan and Brazil, and is relatively easy to find commercially, but often in smaller cuts.  Faceted Aquamarine is often actually heat-treated beryl, so ask questions when purchasing to be sure you’re getting the real deal.

In crystal healing, aquamarine boosts the immune system, keeps the bridge between heart and throat chakras clear, cools infection and helps to reduce inflammation.  Emotionally, aquamarine encourages communication and creative expression and helps to ease grief, loneliness and other strong emotions.

Because of its range of blues and greens, aquamarine looks stunning alongside natural materials, such as wood and shell.  You can create a fun tropical look with sea shells, or an earthy, sensual look with bone, horn or wood.  Aquamarine also dresses up nicely, and can add a rich, cultured look when it is faceted and combined with precious metals.  It would pair well with quartz crystal, or perhaps even amethyst for an eye-catching contrast.

Aquamarine is fairly expensive, so is generally reserved for special jewelry creations.  Beware of any aquamarine that seems to be priced low, because it is most likely not true aquamarine.

When it Comes to Shopping for Jewelry, Listen to Your Instincts

One of the most important aspects of healing stones is how they make you feel.  I believe we are instinctually drawn to the stones that our body and mind need at a particular time, and for that reason, I recommend going with how a piece of jewelry makes you feel, rather than just how it looks.

There is no deciphering what goes on in our bodies at their most primal level, but I believe we have very strong connections to the earth around us, including gemstones.  Their inherent healing properties are magnified, I believe, when they are in the presence of someone who needs them. 

It explains why you will be drawn, almost magnetically, to a particular stone or piece of jewelry, sometimes even when it is a color or style you don’t care for that much.  I have seen people walk by my booth at a craft show, determined to keep walking, but despite their efforts, being drawn right to a specific piece of gemstone jewelry on my tables.

Gemstones have been used in healing for centuries, so there must be some truth to their abilities, and only our inner senses can guide us when it comes to choosing the stone that we need most.

So, next time you are shopping for jewelry, go with what you instinct tells you, for it knows your true needs better than the rest of you.  Perhaps this world would be a whole different place if we let our inner selves guide us more often.

Does Commercializing Gemstones Diminish Their Value?

Many years ago, gems were a common trade item with a very high value.  If you had one or two gemstones, you could afford to live well.  These days, you can buy a strand of gemstones for a few dollars, and it leaves me wondering if perhaps they are losing their mystique and value, now that they have been commercialized.

The more we produce of an item, the less desirable or valuable it is.  Take a look at the shelves of your local Walmart.  There are not many items there that you would place a high value on, and when said items are used up, most of us don’t give second thought to throwing them away.  Are gemstones the new plastic in terms of worth?

Gemstones used to be more valuable because it was difficult to get them.  Now, assembly lines have made their way to the earth, and mass extraction is a common way of getting stones.  With machines and workers, we tear huge holes in the ground to get even the tiniest of stones.  I think this practice not only devalues the stones, but also destroys our world, all for a little bit of money.

Mining practices aside, this huge influx of stones has created a perception of plenty in our minds, and we no longer feel as emotionally attached to stones.  It stands to reason that this will reduce their efficacy in healing, too, because we no longer hold them in the esteem we used to.

While it does no good to wish, I long for a simpler time when stones were valued at their real worth as a part of our world, and not just a commodity to be made rich on.

Books about Healing Crystals

Even the ancients believed stones and gems have healing properties, and this knowledge has been passed down over the years, refined as our understanding grew.  Now, you can find out the healing properties of just about any stone known to man, simply by picking up a book.  There are many books that will tell you some information, but these books about healing crystals are truly informative.

Crystals by Jennie Harding
This is my go-to reference book for healing crystals.  It is organized by color, so you can quickly flip through to see about options for jewelry, and it also has a detailed index in the back.  If you need information about a specific ailment, there is a chart in the back that tells you everything you need to know.  This book is the only one I use when I’m at shows, because I can get the info I need quickly.

Healing Crystals: The A - Z Guide to 430 Gemstones
At just 6.5”x4.5”, Healing Crystals makes an excellent pocket guide when you are out shopping.  You can quickly pull up detailed information on more than four hundred stones, allowing you to make quick decisions when shopping for beads, or for finished pieces.

Crystal Prescriptions
If you want to do your research more easily by symptom, this is the book for you.  Crystal Prescriptions has over 1,200 symptoms listed, along with their corresponding healing crystals.  So if someone asks you what to wear for a specific problem, the answer is just a book away.

Healing Crystals to Calm Allergic Reactions

As we near the onset of allergy season, many of us are cringing with dread at the thought of the congestion, rashes and misery that comes with it.  From the glorious flowers of spring to the stately pine trees, it can be hard to enjoy the beauty of nature when you spend your time sneezing into a tissue.  These healing crystals are believed to help aid the body to prevent allergic reactions.

Easily obtained from Australia, Brazil, Britain and Mexico, hematite is a very common form of iron ore.  It can be magnetized and is very popular in jewelry this way.  In crystal healing, hematite is believed to cleans the blood, support circulation, energize the system and shield from negativity.

Bloodstone is one of the most popular stones in my jewelry.  People are drawn to this stone like no other, and it is easy to see why when you look at its deep green beauty, filled with mystery.  In crystal healing, bloodstone is cleansing to the blood, strengthening to the body and good at promoting overall health.

Rose Quartz
Pale, delicate rose quartz is such a feminine stone.  Its natural beauty pays homage to the allure and wonder of the female spirit.  In crystal healing, rose quartz supports the heart, eases anxiety and awakens the appreciation of beauty.

I find the combination of rose quartz and hematite to be particularly striking, combining feminine with masculine in a look that is hard to ignore.

Perhaps a little hematite, bloodstone or rose quartz tucked in with your tissues will help prevent the need to use them!

Healing Crystals for Building Confidence

There are few of us in this world who couldn’t do with a little more confidence.  Some believe that if you have confidence, everything else just naturally falls into place.  If you are in need of a dose of confidence, try these healing crystals for building confidence.  All three are bright, cheerful colors that blend nicely together in necklaces and bracelets.

Citrine is a pale yellow quartz stone that is reminiscent of the lighter shades on a spring daffodil.  Beware when shopping for citrine, because stones that are dark in color are likely to be heat-treated amethyst and not genuine citrine.    Citrine is said to stimulate creative thinking, free the mind of inhibitions and provide inspiration.  Citrine supports hormone balance, enhances vitality and lifts depression.

Amber is not really a stone, but fossilized tree sap that forms a hard resin, trapping within it anything that was caught in the sap.  You can find complete insects and other fascinating finds in amber.  In crystal healing, amber is restorative to stomach, kidneys and spleen and supports the immune system.  It stimulates a positive mental attitude and restores confidence.  Amber is popular for children’s teething jewelry because it gives off succinic acid that has analgesic properties.

Orange Calcite
Calcite is from the limestone group, and is found in about four percent of the earth’s crust, making it quite common.  In crystal healing, calcite enhances creativity, helps solve problems and balances the digestive system.

Combining these three can’t help but create a cheering effect, hinting of summer and sunshine.

Healing Crystals for Joint Soreness

Joint soreness can be a big problem, especially this time of year when most of us have cold, wet conditions to contend with.  If you already have arthritis or sore joints, the cold can seep in and cause considerable pain.  These crystals are believed to help ease joint soreness and may help provide you with some relief on those cold, rainy days.

Green Calcite
Calcite is very common, accounting for four percent of the earth’s crust.  This makes it readily available and easy to find.  In crystal healing, green calcite is said to be soothing and transform anger and jealousy into forgiveness.  It helps to release emotional trauma and supports the immune system.

Azurite, true to its name, is a beautiful deep blue stone that is very rare and expensive.  In crystal healing, azurite enables communication of inner wisdom, enhances intuition and psychic abilities, stimulates creativity and helps to support the voice.  Because of its rarity, azurite is usually only available at specialty suppliers.  A single pendant made of azurite would be rich, elegant and beautiful.

Beautiful pink rhodonite is easily obtained from all over the world.  In crystal healing, rhodonite supports liver function and detoxification, sooths inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis, revitalizes the reproductive system and heals physical and emotional wounds.  Rhodonite is easy to find at most jewelry suppliers in a variety of grades.

A delicate necklace of alternating calcite and rhodonite would be a beautiful spring look, perfect for this time of year.  Combining any of these three with magnetic hematite would be effective and stunning.

February's Birthstone: Amethyst

Amethyst, the birthstone for February, is such a beautiful, and therefore popular, stone.  Deep purple is the color of royalty, and amethyst lovers enjoy the regal beauty of a stone that ranges from a pale, delicate purple to a rich, velvety dark hue that shows us where the color royal purple got its name.

Amethyst is readily available from Africa, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Russia and the United States.  It is relatively hard, with a score of seven on the Mohs scale of hardness in stones.

In terms of healing properties, amethyst is a popular purifying crystal, warding off negative influences and protecting the wearer from environmental stresses.  Amethyst calms the nervous system, eases headaches and enhances spiritual awareness.

It can be carried to calm mental stress, or placed under your pillow to improve sleep.

Amethyst goes very well with darker natural materials, such as bone, horn or wood.  One of my favorite pieces was a bracelet made with amethyst rounds and dark brown bone heishe.  Purple goes very well with silver, too, so sterling silver makes an excellent choice for clasps and findings in a piece made with amethyst.  One of my most popular bracelets combined dark amethyst ovals with dark purple Swarovski crystals and sterling silver accents.  I don’t typically make the same piece over again, but that one sold so well that I reproduced it several times.

Amethyst is a beautiful and versatile stone and because it is readily available, does not cost as much as other semiprecious stones.

January's Birthstone: Garnet

Garnet is a beautiful, rich stone, filled with the depth of a fiery sunset or the glittering red of a night predator’s eyes.  It also happens to be the birthstone for the month of January, and luck souls who can claim this month for their own are blessed with a birthstone that is among the most beautiful stones created.

Garnet is readily obtained across the globe, in such places as Africa, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Sri Lanka, USA and India.  The stones range from reddish brown to ruby red, with a wide variation between the two.

In crystal healing, garnet is a powerful stone.   The two common varieties, pyrope and almandine, carry different healing properties.  Pyrope garnet brings vitality and warmth to the system, improves circulation and enhances feelings of love.  Almandine garnets are grounding, and energize the root chakra.

Garnets help the wearer discard old ways of thinking and eliminate old patterns, while opening the way to vitality and abundance.  They can bring the heart into alignment with a higher expression of love.

One of my favorite combinations is the rich red of garnet with the lustrous delicacy of freshwater pearls.  The two almost seem made for each other, and together create stunning pieces of jewelry that will accentuate the most formal gown, or dress up an everyday outfit with pizazz. 

A pair of pearl earrings with small garnet accents would make a perfect birthday gift for a January girl.  Add a delicate bracelet with alternating pearls, Swarovski crystals and beautiful garnets for a gift she will never forget.