The Mineral Matrix--a step back in time

Today I have a story for you, a little jaunt down memory lane. First I have to say how perfectly fitting this is with the recent theme I’ve been exploring: hidden treasure (if you missed it it’s the theme of my last collection and the other half I’m working on now). The other day I was searching for old photos when I cracked open an old CD book–yes I still have those–and found these photos from 18 years ago I thought I’d lost forever!!

Once upon a time I lived in the Santa Cruz mountains and started a rock shop with my then boyfriend called The Mineral Matrix. There had been a rock shop in that space previously, owned by an old cranky hippie couple who called it Eg-Nore. They liked that it sounded like “ignore” and told us so. There were floor to ceiling boxes filled with rocks and cats and cat pee. It was a dusty, dark, and uninviting place yet I spent a lot of time in there because: crystals!

These guys swindled us into buying what was left of their rock collection and we brought it all home to our deck where I spent the summer making piles. Rocks we could keep I patiently scrubbed in the sink with a toothbrush. But there was plenty we knew we couldn’t sell…it wasn’t the best laid plan! Luckily we heard about the Tucson gem show and went to fill in the holes of our collection and to have enough to put together a shop.

Back at the shop we tore out anything reminiscent of Eg-Nore and created our own much more cheerful hippie space. I painted walls and shelves and I even hand dyed fabric to make the curtains you see in the pictures. We brought in local artist’s work and I of course sold my jewelry. Back then I was making wire wrapped crystal and abalone jewelry, people loved it and I sold lots. 

My story isn’t long, after all those months of preparing and creating I think we only stayed together a few months once the Mineral Matrix was actually open. Another poorly laid plan. But it led to my next journey….one day a man walked in who had a crystal business himself in Sausalito–traveling regularly to Brazil to visit mines and buy crystals wholesale. So I went to work for him! We worked at shows and festivals and I even got to visit Brazil with him and pull some crystals out of the mines myself. But that’s a story for another day. The shop may have stayed open for a year total, hard to recall! 

I’ve revisited this idea from time to time over the past 18 years–if I’d ever want to create another store. It would be vastly different the second time around. But I’m encouraged by this younger me who worked tirelessly to make it happen. What do you think, should I give it another shot?? (sans tie dyed wall hangings–though tie dye is back “in” again:)) And isn’t it the best feeling when you find something you thought you’d never see again? 

PS I'm also curious if you'd like to see more crystals on my site. I have many I haven't listed and the truth is I shouldn't keep them all!

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