Sunday, 24 March 2013

On loan from Exmouth’s most unusual gift shop

There’s a whole range of stuff on show in Fairlynch’s 2013 exhibition ‘Sea, Salt and Sponges.’ Microscopes, fossils, antique pens, crystals, paintings and some weird Victorian medical equipment including a leech jar. Crystals? Yes, not just the Arabian frankincense crystals which intrigued the 19th century Budleigh scientist Henry Carter but some really beautiful mineral crystals which he mentions in his writings on the geology of India.  Like this intriguing  piece of scolecite from the hills of Poona.

 Or this fine example of chalcedony.

Most of the items have been lent by kind friends of Fairlynch, but the crystals have come from an unusual shop not too far away. Prajna in Sanskrit means ‘wisdom’ and that’s the name of the business founded by Kevin Palmer 20 years ago.  The shop on The Parade in Exmouth offers a full range of crystals and fossils including the weird and wonderful. From angels, buddhas, books and incense to jewellery, fairies, tarot and wicca. You’re as likely to hear Gregorian chant in Prajna as you are Tibetan mantras.


Kevin’s interest in crystals began with the amethyst geodes often seen in jewellery shop window displays. He started the business with £100’s worth of crystals and now has customers worldwide with a website at   He is seen above holding an impressively large specimen of Cavansite, a beautiful and rare mineral which was discovered only in the last 30 years and is found in only a few localities, notably from quarries in Poona, India 


Exmouth-born and bred, Kevin also has a keen interest in local history, having had articles in magazines published and is the author of two books Exmouth of Yesteryear (2000) and Littleham of Yesteryear (2003).  He’s also an artist, pursuing spiritual themes in his paintings.

You might think that a New Age shop like Prajna is unusual for the down-to-earth sort of place that is Exmouth with its traditions of fishing and sunny holidays by the sea. But here we are mid-way between Totnes and Glastonbury noted nationwide for the esoteric preoccupations of many of their residents. And go just a few miles north of Exmouth and Budleigh and you’ll find yourselves in the magical secret landscape of Woodbury Common where beneath the gorse and heather lie the Bronze Age sites that so inspired Budleigh archaeologist George Carter - born in Exmouth of course.

Like Henry Carter some 70 years before, he had spent time in Sindh province, in modern-day Pakistan. Find out more about the secrets of the pebblebed heath and the special meaning of Budleigh pebbles at 

So you could say that the Prajna crystals are feeling very much at home in Budleigh Salterton’s Fairlynch Museum.   

For more information about Prajna click on

Fairlynch Museum’s 2013 exhibitions are open from 29 March through to 30 September, 2.00-4.30 pm, daily except Saturdays. The Museum is open on Easter Saturday. Admission is free.  


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