Aubrey Dolbeck uncovered her first gems in the mountains of Tennessee in February 2020. To most people, Dolbek’s initial finds were blobs of dirt. But after tediously cutting and polishing, Dolbeck birthed a captivatingly-cut Amethyst.
The 21-year-old credits her Tennessee trip as the starting point for her business Passionflower Gems. Her shop focuses on crystals, candles and jewelry.
Before starting a new project, she said the most important thing is to find purpose and intent within the customer’s request.
“I like to ask a little bit about what they're going to be using it for,” she said. “And that way, I can charge it in a way that's going to be most beneficial for them.”
One of Dolbeck’s first sales was for a friend who was pregnant and wanted a blessed candle with intentions set on the birth and life of her child. Dolbeck blended lavender and black tea, setting intentions for fearlessness and hope. She said it was one of the most special requests.
Dolbeck mines and handpicks her crystals and gems, drawing inspiration from Florida’s nature. Most of the time, Dolbeck likes to mine on parts of her property in High Springs, Florida. She said she looks for gems native to the southeast such as calcite and sodalite, but the variants of quartz are the most interesting ones she finds.
“It's just a matter of really taking your time and a lot of sifting, a lot of digging, and just finding literally the diamonds in the rough,” she said.
Kayla Wright found her diamond equivalent with Dolbeck’s necklaces. The 21-year-old psychology major at Santa Fe College was also one of Dolbeck’s first customers. She said she stumbled upon the business’ Instagram page and has since purchased hoop earrings that have selenite crystals as well as a couple of necklaces.
Wright said she recently began connecting with crystals and their energies. Although there are skeptics, she said it’s about receiving the good energy put into the crystals.
“I guess if anyone takes a testimonial to heart and wants to get into crystals or just wants a cute little necklace or earrings or anything, passionflower gems is not a bad place to start,” she said.
Aside from the actual products, Wright said she appreciates Dolbeck’s hard work. On her first order, someone took Wright’s package from her house. Dolbeck followed up on the order, and upon finding out about the mix-up, recreated the item and hand-delivered it.
Alex Morales, too, felt the good intentions behind Dolbeck’s shop.
She originally bought crystals for their appearance but quickly began to feel the warmth and love Dolbeck put into the crafts.
Morales bought a rose quartz ring wrapped with copper wire from Passionflower Gems and said it's still her favorite craft from the shop. She said she loves that everything Dolbeck makes is cleansed by the sun and put together with positive vibes. Whenever anxiety creeps up on her, she wears her crystal necklace to feel better.
Dolbeck and Morales met during a photoshoot where Dolbeck would model for Morales. Morales gained interest in Dolbeck’s creations, following her closely on Instagram.
“She's such a creative person, and she obviously puts her all into everything that she does,” Morales said. “You can tell that something is an Aubrey original, as cliche as it sounds, everything is made with complete love and intention from her. It’s not just crystals, you know, it's art and it's love.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic put a pause to her business, Dolbeck said she intends to open up at a farmers’ market or vintage market.
A year from now, Dolbeck wishes to travel and cut some of the more rare gems like emeralds, rubies and diamonds. Although those gems are notoriously hard to cut, she would still like herself and her business to grow.
Spontaneity usually sparks Dolbeck’s best creations, and random middle-of-the-night ideas often lead her rushing to her desk. She also looks to other platforms like TikTok and Pinterest to get her creative gears spinning, but tends to maintain the simplicity and shape of her crafts so each buyer can appreciate their natural beauty.
“It just takes the time and the care that people possess to really bring out that beauty in something that other people might otherwise throw away.”
Contact Melissa at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @melissahernandezdlc.
Melissa Hernandez de la Cruz is a fourth-year journalism major at the University of Florida. She loves to travel, create photography, enjoy new cultures, and is a fellow history junkie. Apart from being a citizen of the world, she also shares birthdays with legendary artists Bruce Lee, Jimi Hendrix, and Bill Nye.