Harnessing the power of crystals is an ancestral practice that is experiencing a growth in popularity as part of spiritual practices. Research has found that the ancient Maya religion used crystals for “curing and divining” by ritual specialists. Today, the term “crystals” has more than 24 million posts on Instagram and there are now shops and small business owners selling crystals as a form of spiritual self-care and vibemade is among them. Co-founders Grace Alvarez & Eduardo Ramirez Holguin are partners in life and business who were both born and raised in the Dominican Republic. They launched the jewelry company in June 2020 amid the pandemic after observing people struggle to wear crystals near their chakras during meditation, often resorting to velcro or rubber bands. As all entrepreneurs advise, if you see a need, work on fulfilling it and Alvarez did just that with the development of their first piece, the Asha crystal mask. The mask features a moon charged crystal grid, designed to rest each crystal on a corresponding chakras that can be used to enhance meditative practice – no velcro needed.
“Each crystal is resting and activating a chakra,” Alvarez tells HipLatina about the Asha mask. “[With] every single design I tried to be very intentional when you receive your piece, so we make sure that they’re clean so we moon charge them before sending them to you.”
Launching during a pandemic had its challenges but it also came at a time when people were struggling with stress and anxiety as the Coronavirus crisis continued. Leaning on spiritual practices and mental health resources became a survival mechanism for many and crystals is one of the sources that dates back centuries.
“In the Middle Ages, people also thought that crystals would bring a spiritual presence. People had this hunger to have something physical that embodies faith and spirituality,” Stanford medievalist Marisa Galvez told the university’s publication. “People still have that hunger now, and that’s why crystals are so popular. Crystals, in a way, fulfill a spiritual need for some people. Some people go to church, some do yoga, and others collect and meditate with crystals.”
When it comes to vibemade, it was spurred by the idea of improving the meditation experience with crystals and now offers an array of jewelry options. Each box comes with the message: “Set your intention, then open” and personalized with the customers name. Each item also comes with a note about the day the crystals were moon charged. She shares that she’s very intentional about the packaging as much the jewelry itself ensuring that it’s sustainable. She also works with small fair-trade vendors in the Dominican Republic and other small vendors with sustainable mining practices. She shares that she bought all the Larimar crystal supply, a crystal native to the island, from a small vendor in the DR when the vendor was on the brink of shutting down. Everything is packaged at their studio in Harlem, New York and the packaging is 100 percent recyclable and made from up to 60 percent post consumer material.
The Bree Twin beaded bracelet is one of the stand-out pieces and it’s made with Lapis lazuli, considered a crystal of wisdom, that comes with the option to personalize it with a letter charm for free. The cleo crystal bracelet is made with a twin gold chain bracelet including eight pink opal beads, one for each phase of the lunar cycle. Pink opal is ideal for emotional balance and healing. For Alvarez, it’s about providing the power of the crystals but it’s also about giving a confidence boost through the pieces.
“I believe in protection, negativity, that we should be aware of, but I want it to be more like, ‘I want to feel confident today, let me just wear this’ she shares. She also says that wearing the bracelets on your right side is for the energy you want to give off while wearing it on your left side is the energy you want to take in.
Currently, everything is handmade by Alvarez, who studied at Altos de Chavón School of Design, an art college founded in 1984 in the Dominican Republic and Parsons School of Design in New York in addition to having extensive experience as a technical designer. She plans to keep the handmade nature of the products regardless of how big the company gets. That intention is literally in the name, which she credits her husband and fellow designer for.
“We were like ‘vibes’ and ‘handmade’ – ‘vibemade.’ That’s perfect because every single piece is handmade by me and when we grow is gonna continue to be handmade by other people, but that handmade part of vibemade is always going to be there.”
While the line is a haven for crystal lovers and jewelry collectors, Alvarez emphasizes that the goal is to reach all people interested in feeling more centered.
“Vibemade is for everybody. It’s not just for people who are into crystal or fashion,” she says.