I met Sara while looking into Ethiopian opals and she had such a nice write up on her site I asked if I could post her article on my blog (above) and do an interview with her. This is Sara:
Hello. My name is Sara Giller and I live in England. I have a website called Crystal Vine which has had a presence on the web for the last 10 years. I now work full time as a mineral dealer but my life began as a teacher.
I got my degree in Education back in 1984 and started work teaching mathematics mostly to children with special needs. The last 9 years of my teaching degree I worked for a Support Service helping children with emotional and behavioural problems.
I used to collect fossils and pyrites as a child on the Cornish beaches when we went on holidays but my interest got re-kindled when I went on holiday to Israel and came by a mineral shop with large slices of unusual agates. I became hooked.
Much later I decided to sell minerals as a hobby. I used to show at craft fairs until I discovered Rock and Gem fairs. It wasn’t until I went part time in education around 1996 that my life started to change and I was able to attend the Ste Marie and Munich Mineral fairs in Europe and start to obtain better quality minerals. I haven’t looked back since then. I now go to the Tucson mineral show as well and have a fairly active site. My products have evolved and I now have a passion for opals, especially Ethiopian opals. I am, I think the only one in the UK dealing in these opals in any quantity and of the highest quality.
I imported a Diamond Pacific pixie, which is a set of diamond wheels, so I can now polish my own opals, and am on the look out for a diamond trim saw for slicing them. I have met a Goldsmith who lives nearby who can make jewellery for me so times are quite exciting. I have diversified in what I offer and sell fine mineral specimens, rough diamonds, opals, some collectors’ cutstones and fine quality carvings.
I keep a small collection myself, mainly of items I think are one off’s, like certain quartz formations, or quartzes with unusual inclusions, as well as mineral specimens that are too good to pass by. As a dealer I am now very selective in what I buy and only look for aesthetically well presented specimens with little damage at a fair price.