WE'VE just spent three days looking for affordable amethysts. Used to be we could buy smaller pieces and they'd be priced based on weight. Now they're mostly priced per piece. It's almost like they've become collectors pieces, they're being sold at collectors prices.
It's inevitable that amethyst prices would rise, considering that crystals are not like fruits which are produced regularly from the same trees. Many crystals take thousands of years to form and grow. Once mined, it will take years and years and years to replace them.
I have no doubt that time will come when they'll be mined out. The demand for crystals is worldwide, and their popularity keeps growing.
Nine years ago, in the early days of our business, we used to buy amethysts from the crystal shops in Manila and bring them to Baguio.
At about our third visit, the male helper at one of the shops there asked us if we wanted to buy direct from the importer and we assented. Although a bit fearful because the guy was a stranger and he was leading us to a sparsely populated part of Manila, we followed him. The importer there gave us wholesale prices. We were then able to sell amethysts at Manila prices.
And then the importer changed business. We now had to go back to buying from the middlemen, until we decided to search for amethysts and other crystals outside the Philippines.
When we first met David, who has amethyst mines in Brazil, the prices of the amethyst were incredibly affordable even with shipping and customs duties.
However, every time we'd go back, David's prices would rise. I remember with a bit of sadness how inexhaustible the supply of amethyst used to be. Now? It's like the smaller pieces have suddenly become rare. What we mostly see are the really big and heavy ones. Even the number of shops specializing in amethysts have grown less and less.
We haven't seen David for about two years now, maybe he's looking for another mine. Probably he's in Uruguay or Madagascar where there are other amethysts mines aside from Brazil.
What we know is we haven't found smaller ones for a while now.
What's so special about our amethysts?
We have a client who purchased a large fish shaped amethyst cluster from us. She used to be the black sheep in their family. There used to be a lot of dissent and hard feelings between her and her siblings, but now, their relationships got better and more peaceful. You could say she has become the screw that binds them all together.
Amethyst is a stone of peace. Its beautiful purple shade is synonymous with tranquility. Good sleep. It's energy is gentle and calming. It is always good to have an amethyst in the home. There is a special Feng Shui technique with the amethyst so married couples have a smoother relationship.
I have to reiterate, before crystals can give you their gifts, they have to undergo a certain process.
Back to our search. Chiara and I had resigned ourselves to bringing home a few pieces. I had began coordinating with the shipping company already and sent Chiara to pick up our purchases when she came running back. She was excited about a batch of some newly arrived amethysts in one of the shops.
They were being sold by weight. And their sizes were just right, not massive, not very heavy. Answered prayer.
When we went to get our bags from the hotel, we saw a white feather just beside our luggage. Angel sign.
Angels and amethysts.
Did you know that amethysts are associated with Archangel Michael?
Get yourself an amethyst before they do become rare. See us at #29 Sari-sari Section, Baguio City Market from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Monday to Saturday.
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on October 13, 2017.
Latest issues of SunStar Baguio also available on your mobile phones, laptops, and tablets. Subscribe to our digital editions at epaper.sunstar.com.ph and get a free seven-day trial.