After working as a designer for 13 years, Vânia Duarte found an even bigger passion within her. She is now 35 and dedicates herself full-time to her work as a Yoga teacher and to her beautiful brand Surya Cristais, which seeks to bring clarity to the world of minerals by offering high-quality crystals. She defines herself as an intense, indecisive person who at the same time is very thoughtful in the decisions she makes.
By Lara Franco Gomes
Photography courtesy of Vânia Duarte
The world of crystals appeared at a time in Vânia’s life when she felt lost. She had lived for more than 15 years with eating disorders and entering her thirties decided it was time to stop living like that. She set out on a deep healing process with the help of doctors and therapists, but what really felt like an awakening was a book she read by António Duncan: O Caminho das Pedras (The Way of Stones).
She immersed herself in the world of minerals and learned about the physical, chemical and energetic characteristics and benefits of each crystal.
Her brand Surya was born from a need to fill a gap in most standardised information about the world of minerals, creating an online store where people feel at home even when buying from a distance, and where they can find lots of details and information to help them.
LEMON Magazine [LEMON]: What inspires you?
Vânia Duarte [V.D.]: Life in general. Whether in person or online, my yoga students inspire me with their resilience and commitment. All the people and stories that reach me through Surya about people finding find joy, comfort and other personal responses through the minerals they buy at my store. My family, who is my biggest support. My cats, who are great companions in life. The sea that I see from my window every day and which allows me to slow down when I am anxious. The possibility of doing what I really love.
[LEMON]: What’s the best way to discover the world of crystals?
[V.D.]: I usually tell people that less is more because what normally happens is that people get so excited about the beauty of crystals (which I can fully understand) that they end up buying more than they can really give use to. So I always recommend choosing just one and to start by using it daily. Bring him close to you during the day, touch him, write about him and how you feel with him, take a few breaths with your eyes closed. All of this allows the energy frequency of the person and the crystal to come together and make it possible to fully enjoy the crystal.
Then over time and as needed, the person will want to discover more crystals.
Amethysts or rose quartzes are excellent options to get started.
[LEMON]: How can we choose the best crystal for us?
[V.D.]: There are two methods I like to use. In the first, the person has a specific need and knows what they want to work on, but doesn’t know what the best crystal to choose is. There are different crystals with different energies for different needs. For example: if someone is looking for protection but is too sensitive to dense energy, most people would probably suggest Black Tourmaline, which is the strongest protection stone. But I might suggest a blue kyanite or hematite, which are more lightweight in terms of energy frequency and also provide good protection.
The other way I work is with intuition, and that is undoubtedly the way I like the most. Often people come to me thinking about a particular crystal and I tell them to go to the website, open their hearts and mind, and scroll through the images without opening the descriptions. In most cases they end up choosing exactly what they need.
I deeply believe crystals choose us, depending on the energetic vibration we need to work on at the moment.
[LEMON]: Is the start of the year really a good time for new beginnings? How can we use crystals to boost our willpower?
[V.D.]: It will always depend on what stage a person is at, what she wants to enhance for her year and for her life. Usually, warmer crystals are good for bringing that energy boost that comes naturally with the beginning of the year. Crystals such as carnelian, leopard jasper, honey calcite, citrine or tiger’s eye are highly energising. They are crystals that ask you to move forward without fear, that rejoice, that give us the confidence and courage to move on.
Then there are interesting crystals that enhance our mind, that lead us to disconnect from autopilot and allow us to access our consciousness, where we often find the answers we seek more easily but which we don’t hear because of all the noise surrounding us. Wonderful crystals like Labradorite, Amethyst, Pencil Lazuli or Fluorite are highly mystical and help concentration and meditation.
Another thing that is always important for me when setting goals for the year is to have something that helps me keep my feet on the ground, because the truth is that when we are creating something new or entering a new year we have the tendency to aim a bit too high, promising too much. Then with time we lose our breath and things end up fading. So I always think it’s important to have a good grounding crystal with us, with which we can lie on a rug and place at the bottom of our feet to unlock our root chakra, and which helps us to dream but without forcing our head too deep in the clouds, because then things don’t happen.
Jasper is always my choice. Red Jasper has incredible strength and it’s one of the oldest crystals in the world. Many people call it the father of crystals. In recent times I’ve been very connected to Kambaba Jasper, which is millions of years old, comes from the depths of the earth and has a very different energy.
All of these are excellent choices to start the year with strength, energy and creativity.
[LEMON]: Is the place where we store our crystals important? Are some crystals better for the bedroom, or for the living-room…?
[V.D.]: Yes. In fact, I always say that more than having a large quantity of crystals, we need crystals placed in our space with forethought, be it at home or at work. If we understand that everything is energy, we don’t want a lot of crystals sitting idle and without proper use. That way they just generate stagnation in our environment.
As a rule, it’s important to assess our house and what the person wants with the space, but in general I always argue that the bedroom should be as energy-free as possible and that we should keep crystals to a minimum in this part of the house. That said, rose quartz stimulates the energy of love, and howlite or lepidolite can enhance a restful night’s sleep, so these are always a good choice.
Then you should have a good druze quartz in the area where you spend most time at home to move energy. A black tourmaline or hematite at the door to repel dense energy, or a pyrite close to the workplace to boost business expansion are always a good idea. In the kitchen I really like to work with green crystals that stimulate health, bringing more care when we prepare our meals.
[LEMON]: Crystals and beauty care. Can you tell us a bit about this new trend?
[V.D.]: Actually, it’s not a new trend. Queen Cleopatra was well known for liking to use rose quartz in her beauty rituals, whether passed along her face (hence those rose quartz facial rollers or jade for the skin), or as a powder for blush.
Many people think crystals are a new age thing because they are more talked about today, but the truth is that crystals have been used since ancient civilisations. The difference is that today there are more people saying that they like crystals without being ashamed of being called crazy.
Regarding beauty care with crystals, when we put a rose quartz in the cold for 15 minutes and then rub it on our face, we are giving our skin some firming energy. It’s a kind of self-massage ritual that allows us to connect and take care of ourselves.
[LEMON]: What are the best complements for crystals?
[V.D.]: 100% natural incense for those who enjoy it is a good way to clean crystals and envelope them in sacred aromas such as sandalwood, myrrh or frankincense. Wooden boxes are a good idea to store the crystals we are not currently using, as wood is a good insulator and therefore prevents external energies from impacting the crystals after they are cleaned. Selenite bases for crystals we use a lot are a good way to keep their energy balanced, placing them over a base on our worktable, for example. Bracelets and necklaces that allow us to bring crystals into contact with our skin can be good too.
Bath salts allow us to have a good time while doing self-care. A bath of pink Himalaya salt, rose petals and two rose quartz with a lighted candle works miracles for our energy. There is a world of possible ways to bring crystals into our lives.
[LEMON]: And how should we keep our crystals clean?
[V.D.]: There are many different ways to do this and there’s a lot of different information out there, but my favourite is undoubtedly cleaning them with soil. I know that most people say you should clean crystals with salt and water, but I have two reasons why that it is probably the least recommended way of cleaning them.
The water cleaning method was used in ancient civilisations with natural running water to clean the crystals energetically. Water with the force of nature from storms, rivers, seas and waterfalls was used for this purpose. Nowadays, most people live in cities and use tap water, putting the crystals in a bowl with water and leaving them there. But for me I have a very natural view of how we should take care of our crystals, so this doesn’t make sense to me.
Probably the biggest reason why I do not recommend cleaning in water is the fact that many crystals just shouldn’t get wet. Either because they oxidise, because they are plaster-based and break up over time, or because they become toxic in contact with water. Since most people have no idea of the chemical composition of their crystal, there is a risk of damaging it or even having an adverse reaction due to the crystal being in the water.
So, for me, cleaning with earth is the method that makes most sense because we are taking the crystal back to mother earth, the place where it came from, allowing her to discharge energy and return to her natural cradle to regenerate before returning to work with us.
You can place crystals in a garden or in a vase with plants and let it sit for a few days. For those who prefer a more practical method, there is always selenite, which helps make the cleaning of the crystals simpler.