Today, there are approximately 4,000 known minerals, each with its own set of unique properties. These orderly arrangements of pure substance are, in many ways, as close to magic as we’re likely to get. The potion-like variability depending on the slightest change in environment, temperature or components can create striking results.
“It’s nature,” says Victoria Forster, simply. She co-founded her world-renowned crystals showroom in Notting Hill with her husband Matt, which boasts specimens even the Natural History Museum would be desperate to get their hands on. “People appreciate natural crystals because they’re not manmade and they’re just so unique. Each piece is a one-of-a-kind. Whether people are into the energy side of things or not, they really do change the feel of a room. That’s so powerful.”
Victoria can only be describing as an old soul – knowledgeable and non-nonsense, she looks around the showroom fondly, her gaze landing on the Uruguay amethyst as if it were a friend she hadn’t seen in years. Her wrists are loaded with numerous crystals and stones, some of which she can no longer remove; rutilated quartz, rose quartz, red garnet and smoky quartz, to name a few. Perhaps most mesmerising from her wearable collection is a bracelet of gold tektite: “When a meteorite hits the ground and the heat from the impact melted the sand in the desert,” she explains. “It’s desert glass, for strength of will and determination.”
The wider VenusRox collection has a great deal of gravitas. Some pieces boast colours so deep that there’s no way you could recreate them in paint and others seem to bloom outwards to create ethereal shapes. There’s a palpable sense of age – some of these pieces are thousands of years old. One particularly extraordinary piece is a vast amethyst from Uruguay, formed of three growths with a number of phantoms within each point and additional points of Calcite, which looks a little bit like the pearl at the heart of a huge purple oyster. With such extraordinary specimens, it’s not surprising that the Forsters travel far and wide to find them, making friends with some equally extraordinary people along the way.
“I get to meet some really fabulous people from all walks of life, many of whom we now get to call friends,” says Victoria. “They’re professional treasure hunters. The guy I get all my gold nuggets from, he goes out into the Australian desert alone for three months with a metal detector – they can’t go longer than that because the beep of the metal detector can actually send you mad! He’s passionate about what he does, and when he’s not in the desert he’s off investigating a recently found shipwreck somewhere, but it’s all super secretive.” The pair travel as close to the source as is possible and have had many adventures while searching for the perfect pieces – their heavily-inked passports make it difficult to name a place they haven’t visited.
“We started VenusRox because we couldn’t find the quality of stones that we wanted,” explains Victoria. “The crystals with energy, quality and high vibration, were quite hard to find on the marketplace back then.” Unlike the industrial-scale mining of precious metals and diamonds, the mining of the vast majority of coloured gemstones are small scale ventures, often involving just one or two people with their own tools. The world of crystals as art, jewellery or ornaments is a secretive one, as good sources can be as precious as the pieces themselves, but in spite of the mystery the Foresters can explain, in detail, where in the world each crystal comes from, as every single one is hand-selected.
Whether you’re the kind of person that believes in energies or not, it cannot be denied that there is something special about crystals and gemstones. It is difficult to imagine a time when the intrigue and inaccessibility of these natural experiments, happening beneath the Earth’s surface, will not capture the masses.