“The past is a foreign country,” author L.P. Hartley famously wrote in his book The Go-Between. Perhaps that’s why we hold on to the postcards…
Local Topanga small business owner Jessica McGraw brings the earth’s magic into homes and everyday lives with crystals, minerals and healing jewelry. Her business, Baltic Mermaid, was created with an appreciation for natural healing remedies and the earth’s natural gifts. Originally founded in 2014 to offer Baltic amber and gemstone teething necklaces and adult healing jewelry, Baltic Mermaid has since expanded to include crystals and 14k gold-filled jewelry as well. All of the jewelry Jessica sells is handmade with love in Topanga.
When did you start your business in Topanga?
I started Baltic Mermaid in April of 2014, and at the time we were living in Woodland Hills as we had moved there briefly from Topanga. We moved back to the canyon in 2018 and have been running Baltic Mermaid from my home office since.
What was the catalyst to build up shop and grow a business through selling crystals ?
Baltic Mermaid was first created when my oldest daughter was a baby, I wanted to create more stylish Baltic amber jewelry than what was on the market so I started my own line incorporating other gemstones with the amber. This allowed me to stay home with my daughter while working from home. I have always loved and collected crystals, rocks and fossils since I was a kid. After a few years of running Baltic Mermaid I decided to incorporate crystals into my business. Now my husband, kids and I get to play with crystals all day and live in a crystal shop. It’s pretty amazing.
Where do you source your items? And any advice to avoid counterfeit merchants?
With knowledge, time and experience you learn which crystals are typical candidates to possibly be heat treated, irradiated, dyed or lab grown, for a beginner this can be hard. That is why it is important to trust your crystal dealer. I source my crystals from all over the world as different stones come from different regions. I love to go to gem shows and get to know all the people who bring their crystals, but I haven’t been able to go due to covid. Luckily, from meeting people at these gem shows I now can work with them virtually.
How has COVID-19 affected your small business?
I am very fortunate to have already had an established online business before covid, and now that people are home more I think they are doing more online shopping. I am surprisingly busier than ever. I also think (or maybe am hoping) that people are becoming more interested in alternative healing and nature. Since I am fortunate to be so busy I have been able to give back and donate to multiple non-profit organizations.
When did crystals become known as a healing technique?
Crystals and minerals have been used as healing tools probably since the beginning of time. The Sumarians from the 4th millennium BC used crystals in their magic elixirs, there is a record of crystals being used in traditional Chinese medicine dating back to the 3rd millennium BC. The Ancient Egyptians used crystals for protection and in jewelry and were often buried with them, the Bible (Old Testament mostly) also has mention of using crystals.
Who taught you about crystals when you first started?
I have really just always loved reading and learning about crystals on my own. I am always still learning and amazed by crystals and how they are formed, there has to be just the right conditions, minerals, temperature, etc. and then the earth makes magic.
Do you think each person has a crystal that represents them, similarly to astrological signs?
I don’t know if I think each person has one crystal similar to a zodiac sign. There are crystals that correlate with zodiac and astrological signs but I feel that crystals can change for a person as their mood does (day to day) and with different points in their life. I do feel that people are drawn to certain crystals and that may change depending on their circumstance. You can follow Jessica’s journey with Baltic Mermaid’s shop on Instagram @baltic_mermaid