Dominican crystal jewelry designers are all about healing

Growing up in the Dominican Republic, Grace Alvarez remembers hearing her aunts pray very intently; A specific Virgin Mary or Santo that will favor their specific needs. When she moved to NYC, and as she entered her late 20s, her personal vision of her higher powers developed into a guiding force that never left her side. On his journey to become more connected to that particular energy, he began to learn and practice meditation. It was in the process that she was introduced to the healing power of crystals.

“In the first few months of the pandemic, practicing meditation with crystals gave me the peace and clarity I needed to focus on developing and launching VibeMed,” Alvarez told PopSugar in a recent interview.

She co-founded VibeMed with her husband Eduardo Ramirez Holgi. As husband and wife, collaborating on a brand came naturally and easily. Both born and raised in the Dominican Republic, they studied fashion design and communication design at Altos de Chavón, which led to the opportunity to continue their education at Parsons in New York City. The couple’s career trajectory is impressive, having collectively interned and worked for top names including Oscar de la Renta, Rebecca Minkoff, Alexander Wang and Keith.

The inspiration to create this new way to wear crystals first came to Alvarez in 2019 After noticing a friend velcroing crystals to his chest to rest his chakras on, he took a chance. Alvarez immediately bought jewelry-making supplies and began teaching herself how to use the tools with YouTube tutorials, creating the first Vibemade jewelry, the Asha Crystal Mask ($250). In the middle of the pandemic, after months of lockdown, they officially launched Vibemade in June 2020.

A designer with over 10 years of experience, Alvarez incorporates crystal healing into her own self-care and spiritual practice. Regarding wearing crystals during her meditation practice, Alvarez says, “I think it enhances the experience of feeling more grounded.” She also notes that crystals can be a great help when one needs a boost of confidence or a sense of calm. Her jewelry is a reminder of the intentions she sets for herself for the day — she’ll catch a glimpse of the bracelet on her wrist and remind herself that “good things are happening.”

Due to its popularity among celebrities and social media influence, the power of crystals has been at the forefront of the wellness conversation in recent years. Although there is no scientific research to support either claim, many holistic practitioners believe that certain stones bring many health benefits. A Stanford professor of French and Italian has compiled an extensive history of the relationship between humans and crystals over the centuries and found that crystals inspired the writing and poetry of medieval writers in unexpected ways.

When it comes to Latinx spirituality, the use of crystals in holistic practice is not new. Alvarez says that “our ancestors believed in an intimate relationship with a higher power … they believed that through nature, they could heal their souls” and that evidence suggests that crystals were seen by our ancestors as “powerful vessels of healing power.” . Álvarez points out that our Afro-Latinx ancestors adopted the use of crystal amulets specifically for energy protection.

“I believe that there is mutual attraction between the energy of the crystal and your energy.”

As a growing number of Latinxs recover ancestral healing practices, many do not know where to start when it comes to crystal pairing or getting the right crystals for intention setting, manifestation and protection. “I believe that there is a mutual attraction between the energy of the crystal and your energy,” says Alvarez. However, if you find that this isn’t working for you, she recommends looking for crystals that can meet your specific soul needs. “Crystal sellers usually provide details on all the properties of each crystal … it makes the experience of shopping for crystals fun and personal,” she says.

The idea behind Vibemade was to create a practical way to carry your crystals with you. “At Vibemade, we’re very intentional about jewelry design—all of our pieces are designed to be near or activate a specific point for concentrated energy in the body,” she says. Alvarez notes that they carefully source materials such as metals or gold, which are conductors of energy, from small, fair-trade vendors and ensure they are sustainably and ethically sourced. Handmade with purpose, they make the pieces to order, number them and charge the crystals under the full moon. Even their packaging is 100 percent recyclable and made from up to 60 percent post-consumer material – doing their best to not add waste to the environment.

“My advice is to start with small actions that have a big impact to help you build the business of your dreams. We have created a ‘program’ among our friends called “Sisters of the Traveling Crystal Mask.” With those small steps, we Got the photos to use for social media and for our product shots on our website,” says Alvarez. She hopes to give visibility to aspects of her Dominican heritage in the brand, voice and products This year, they included pieces of larimara, a stone unique to the Dominican Republic and known for its beautiful rare blue color.

“We’re a brand for someone who could use a help on their spiritual journey and or someone looking for a boost of confidence,” Alvarez said. “Hopefully our design and brand story can inspire you to add healing crystal jewelry to your personal jewelry collection.”

To see more of Alvarez’s work, visit Vibemade on Instagram and check out her one-of-a-kind, powerful crystal jewelry pieces.

Image Source: Matthew Gordon

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