By Ameera Steward
The Birmingham Times
Thyme Randle could feel the difference every time he took off a beaded necklace that he wore, which contained rose quartz, hematite, and black obsidian stones. At the time, he was a sous chef at a restaurant in Lakeview and one day the manager gave a set of stones, that belonged to his father, to Randle.
“It just sucked me in,” Randle said, adding that he would ask people how to characterize different stones. When he got tired of asking, he did his own research.
“I started reading about how stones are supposed to touch your skin; how when you carry stones, … you’re supposed to already be in a tranquil, understanding state,” said Randle.
The more he learned, the more the stones started to speak to him, sending him back to the piece of jewelry he originally tried to craft. He had tried to make jewelry, and when he couldn’t, he put it aside.
The 40-year-old persisted, however, and he now specializes in creating crystal and copper jewelry at his home or on the South Side at Alchemy, a clothing shop owned by his friend Ace Graham.
“The pieces are environmental,” Randle said, “When I say that, it’s like, the energy I try to put in the pieces. I try to put the environment of what I want for the piece. … I would go to the park and make pieces, but within that clothing store, I really [feel the] swag and fashion and energy. The energy we have and the confidence we have in us has to come from what we’re wearing.”
Randle’s customers are mostly people who are at a point in their lives where they’re trying to make a transition or change.
“They’ve tried other methods, as far as meditation, … for focus, … for confidence,” he said. “I’m for the people, so there’s no judgment. … It’s just for the people. … It’s just for the common person, … everyday, working class. Some of them are artists, some of them are not from America. … [My jewelry is] usually for the common person who’s interested in wearing art and energy.”
Randle tries to keep at least 10 pieces on him that are just ready to go, generally bracelets and necklaces, because some people are specific about the energy they want and the particular gemstones and colors they want. His jewelry incorporates various materials—copper, sterling silver, gold wire, crystals, and gemstones—that he gets from different sources.
Most of his metals come from a website, “especially precious metals like pure silver and pure gold,” he said, because the website breaks down the purity and composite of the metals. The stones come from another website and from the Tannehill Park Gem and Mineral Show, which is held locally every year. He either orders stones in the shape he wants or uses them in the form he buys them because “with stones, when you cut and chip them and those different things, that’s a different form of jewelry making … that requires big equipment and proper equipment.”
As Randle kept making jewelry, the more he wore it, the more he and the stones became one, he said. Over time, when people would ask him about the pieces, he would tell them, “Relax yourself, put them on, and pay attention. … Think about the colors.”
When dealing with people and jewelry, Randle said, “We have to have a conversation first. … I want you to feel me out. I want to feel you out.”
He wants the customer to know the piece is customized for them. He wants to talk about what they want as opposed to just giving them what he has.
Substances in gemstones and metals are in us, Randle said.
“Crystals are ingredients of the earth, and [their components are] already in us because we come from the earth. Each emotion we have … [is] fueled within us by a chemical reaction that’s fueled by what we eat, fueled by the minerals and composites in our bodies, … fueled by the feelings we have.”
For example, citrine is the stone of abundance, and the makeup of the stone is what gives us the confidence to “go out and grab what we want,” he said.
“You have to feel gemstones. You have to relax yourself. You have to be at point where gemstones can help heal you from the inside out. If you’re doing the right things on the inside, as soon as you put on the gemstones, … as soon as you meditate, as soon as you walk into the earth and the environment, you’re automatically connected.”
When it comes to jewelry, crystals give off energy and the metal helps move the energy into you, Randle explained. Copper, for example, is good for blood circulation, joint pains, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, and more: “[It] usually pulls and pulls and absorbs at a faster rate than other metals, so, … in other words, the metals [serve as] conductors of the energy.”
Copper reacts differently to let you know what’s going on in your body. For instance, if it turns your finger green, you more than likely have acid in your body, he explained.
Randle, who was born in Long Beach, Calif., and moved to Eutaw, Ala., at age 8, never considered selling jewelry. When he wore his pieces, though, people would ask how much he would charge for the pieces. It began with one friend asking—and now he’s makes and sells more than 100 pieces across the city.
“All the orders are custom made per person,” Randle said. “It’s more of a personal thing. … With the type of jewelry I do, it’s kind of labor intensive.”
Follow Randle on Instagram @myundergroundcook or Facebook @Thyme Randle.
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