Instagram Spotlight is a new column featuring the minds behind wonderful, weird, and wildly popular Instagram accounts. Each interview will be accompanied by an Instagram takeover, which you can see by following @Broadly.
A visit to Amaris Rivera’s Instagram account, @Amarisland, is an immersive, sensual and extremely purple experience. Once there, a visitor is immediately guided into a tight-knit community focused on crystals, sound healing, and meditative practices led by a highly-knowledgeable and empathetic Rivera, who goes by the name Gem Sorceress.
Today, over 200,000 people follow Rivera on Instagram, but she never expected such a huge community of followers and fans when she first joined the app.
Her only intention? To heal herself. After falling ill and taking leave from college in the late 2000s, Rivera rediscovered her childhood crystal collection in an effort to restore her health. "[Crystals] were there for me when I felt really alone and unwell," Rivera told Broadly. "Once I dove deeper into my healing process, I started sharing inspirational posts and my own experience with my health journey."
Almost three years ago, Rivera opened up her own online boutique to accompany her Instagram page. The site, aptly named Amarisland, operates as a one-stop healing and wellness shop and sells crystals, minerals, and any other wares one would need to start their own journey. "Crystals changed and helped my life so immensely and drastically, I needed other people to benefit from them, too," said Rivera.
Broadly spoke with Rivera about her history with crystals, the immense healing community she’s created, and how she manages to respond to every direct message she receives.
BROADLY: When did you first start your journey with crystals?
AMARIS RIVERA: I first started expressing interest in crystals to my family when I was around two years old. Even as a baby, I was really into digging in the dirt and I would collect rocks from my backyard. My parents took note of that and would take me to abandoned mines and crystal shops where I would pick out stones and experience the earth. From there, my journey with crystals just kept developing. I wore this pyrite necklace that I would never take off for years and it just kept going from there.
Do you still have the necklace?
I do! It’s so funny that I still have it.
What gem best describes your personality?
I probably would go with Smoky Quartz, Amethyst, and Rose Quartz to name a few.
Amethyst I really enjoy primarily because it’s purple and I’m really drawn to purple energy. Obviously, you’ve seen my Instagram and everything is purple. I love that color and it’s definitely an extension of my personality.
Rose quartz is the stone of unconditional love and for me, I’m all about love. I don’t have a judgemental personality and I see everyone in the world with love goggles. That stone is also a part of my personality. Lastly, Smoky Quartz is a very grounding stone. I’m a Taurus, so obviously I’m very connected with the earth and smoky quartz is a grounding stone. It’s great for protection, rooting your root chakra to the earth and becoming more stable.
What advice do you give a newcomer to crystals?
When it comes to starting your crystal journey, it’s important to go somewhere where you can see a crystal. Even if you’re looking online, you will gravitate to crystals that you’re drawn to. But really, they have an energy and they’ll choose you.
Something important to keep in mind is to know your intention or goal. When a crystal calls to you, keep in mind what you are seeking in your life and work with it to develop an energetic relationship in which the manifestation of your intention can take place.
It's important also to remember that crystals are tools, and healing and progress with crystals requires you to be willing to put in the work mentally, physically, and emotionally to see the growth you desire. Essentially, if your thoughts are focused on your intention, crystals will be your mirror and enhance the manifestation process.
In terms of knowing about healing properties, it can be a little overwhelming. I recommend a book called The Crystal Bible which a lot of people really love. It’s chock full of information about the healing properties of crystals. While books like The Crystal Bible are definitely helpful as a beginner, remember that your experience with a crystal may be completely different than the experience someone else would have. So, go with how you feel and follow your intuition.
People are so drawn to your account. They comment on posts and have conversations with one another and unlike elsewhere on the internet, they’re really kind to one another.
From the start, I’ve been open and authentic with my journey. The whole purpose behind my Instagram is to connect with people on a deeper level. For that reason, I’ve drawn people to my account who are seeking to find progress in their life. They’re looking for more positivity in their life.
Of course, there’s always the very rare person who comes on and tries to troll. For me, I chose to never respond in a hateful way because it’s useless to do so. Ultimately, I’m extremely open and I respond to everyone’s comments. I also respond to everyone’s messages because I genuinely want to be there for people.
You respond to every DM you get?
I do my best. After Instagram featured me, it was crazy. I got swarmed with messages and I’ve been doing my best to get back to everybody every single day.
Every message that I send to people is unique to them. I don’t just copy and paste. A lot of the time people are asking me pretty deep questions about their life or crystals and I respond in a genuine way. It takes time. But for me, it’s what of the most important parts of what I do. I do it for the healing and the spreading of love. It’s great.
A true labor of love.
That’s the perfect way to describe it.
On another note, what’s your favorite gem-related hashtag? And why?
One I enjoyed using a lot was #crystalhealing because people are sharing information about crystal healing and the metaphysical aspects of crystals. Then, of course, there are the gorgeous photos.
What kind of photo or Instagram post do you like to be tagged in?
I really enjoy being tagged in horoscope posts about Tauruses. Those are really fun and they’re usually very funny. Somehow they’re always spot-on, too. Which is mindblowing. I just crack up about that. It’s cool that people read about Tauruses and they think of me.
I also enjoy being tagged in purple pictures.
Who would you tag as your #WCWs?
My friend Noel, @VitalHerbals, she has a natural body product business and basically forages all of the products herself. All the plants, all the flowers that she uses in her products she uses herself. I think she’s one of my #WCW because she has really informational posts about how you can get involved making your own healthy remedies.