Growing up in the Dominican Republic, Grace Alvarez remembers hearing her aunts pray very intentionally. to a specific Virgin Mary or Saint who would favor their specific need. When she moved to New York and entered her late twenties, her personal vision of a higher power evolved into a guiding energy that never left her. In her journey to connect more with this special energy, she began to learn and practice meditation. It was in this process that she was introduced to the healing power of crystals.
“During the first few months of the pandemic, practicing meditation with crystals gave me the peace and clarity I needed to focus on the development and launch of Vibemade,” Alvarez told POPSUGAR. in a recent interview.
She co-founded Vibemade with her husband, Eduardo Ramirez Holgi. As spouses, 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 Chavon, which allowed them to continue their studies at Parsons in New York. The couple’s career trajectory is impressive, having collectively interned and worked for big names including Oscar de la Renta, Rebecca Minkoff, Alexander Wang and Kith.
The inspiration to create this new way of wearing crystals first came to Alvarez in 2019. After noticing a friend strapping crystals to her chest to rest them in her chakras, she saw an opportunity. Alvarez immediately purchased jewelry-making supplies and began learning how to use the tools with YouTube tutorials, creating the first Vibemade jewelry, the Asha Crystal Mask ($250). In the midst of the pandemic, after a few months of confinement, they officially launched Vibemade in June 2020.
A designer with over 10 years of experience, Alvarez integrates crystal healing into her own personal care and spiritual practice. Regarding wearing crystals during her meditation practice, Alvarez says, “I feel like it enhances the experience of feeling more grounded.” She also noted that crystals can be a great help when a boost of confidence or a sense of calm is needed. Her jewelry is a reminder of the intention she has set for the day – she will spot the bracelet on her wrist and remember that “good things happen.”
Due to its popularity among celebrities and the influence of social media, the power of crystals has been at the forefront of wellness conversations in recent years. Although there is no scientific research to back up the claims, many holistic practitioners believe that certain stones have many wellness benefits. A Stanford professor of French and Italian composed a comprehensive history of the relationship between people and crystals through the centuries, and she discovered that crystals inspired the writing and poetry of medieval authors in unexpected ways.
When it comes to Latin spirituality, the use of crystals in holistic practices is nothing new. Alvarez says that “our ancestors believed in an intimate reciprocal relationship with a higher power…they believed that through nature they could heal their souls” and that evidence suggests that crystals were considered by our ancestors to be “powerful healing energy vessels”. Alvarez notes that our Afro-Latin ancestors in particular embraced the use of crystal amulets for energy protection.
“I believe there is a mutual attraction between crystal energy and your energy.”
As a growing number of Latinx people reclaim ancient healing practices, many don’t know where to start when it comes to matching crystals or getting the right crystals to set intentions, manifest and protect themselves. . “I believe there is a mutual attraction between crystal energy and your energy,” says Alvarez. However, if you find that doesn’t work for you, she suggests looking for crystals that can meet your specific soul needs. “Crystal sellers usually provide full descriptions of each crystal’s properties…it makes the crystal shopping experience fun and personal,” she says.
The idea behind Vibemade was to create a convenient way to carry your crystals with you. “At Vibemade, we are very intentional about jewelry design – all of our pieces are designed to be close to or activate a specific point to focus energy in the body,” she says. Alvarez points out that they carefully source materials like metals or gold, which are energy conductors, from small, fair-trade vendors, and ensure they are sourced sustainably and ethics. Handcrafted with intention, they make the pieces as they are ordered, number them, and load the crystals under the full moon. Even their packaging is 100% recyclable and made from 60% post-consumer materials, doing their best not to 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 the ‘Traveling Crystal Mask Fellowship’. small action, we have photos that we have used for social media and for our product photos on our website,” says Alvarez, who hopes to give visibility to aspects of her Dominican heritage in the brand, voice and This year they have incorporated pieces of Larimar, a stone unique to the Dominican Republic and known for its beautiful, rare blue variety.
“We are a brand for anyone who could use an aid in their spiritual journey and/or those looking for a confidence boost,” Alvarez said. “I hope our design and our brand story can inspire you to add healing crystal jewelry to your personal jewelry collection.”
To learn more about Alvarez’s work, visit Vibemade on Instagram and check out his unique and powerful crystal jewelry.
Image source: Matthew Gordon