The Crystal Collector

This story is inspired by a phone call from an anonymous caller who told me that they often watched a young lady picking her way through the rough clods of earth in the Algarve countryside in order to harvest crystals. They told me to investigate, so I did!

The crystal collector turns out to be 20-year-old Bliss Lloyd Pack, who tells me she first discovered quartz in the soil around her family home when she was a child. Now, she finds collecting them to be a meditative and creative process.

“I find them in the fire breaks where the soil has been turned over. I remember first discovering one as a child and being blown away by the magic of them. When I collect them, they have been lying in the sun and so they feel warm, like they have come from the centre of the earth. I find that very calming. During COVID, I felt very grateful to be able to get outside, appreciate the environment and collect crystals.”

Bliss credits the Waldorf School she attended in Figueira, which her parents helped set up, with teaching her to be creative and appreciate the environment and local landscape. “We mainly learnt outside in the open air and craft was a big part of the curriculum; we knitted and made crochet tops. When I was younger, my mother set a jewellery making box with tools in front of me. That is when it started.”

It was, therefore, natural for Bliss to think of creating jewellery with the quartz, which she cleans with a toothbrush before holding in place with wire. “People visiting Portugal always like the crystals as they are a small piece of the beauty of Portugal.” She sells the quartz necklaces and earrings at the Moinho Velhos yoga and juice detox centre, where she works and on her Instagram account. Her success has inspired her to follow a creative path, and now she would like to train to be a silversmith.

I was totally unaware of the abundance of quartz in the Algarve and will put it on the list of the magical natural wonders the region has to offer.

Bliss may have inherited some of her artistic talents from her family. Her paternal Uncle was the late Roger Lloyd Pack, aka. “Trigger” from Only Fools and Horses. He used to visit his brother and family often in the Algarve. Bliss recalls, “One time as a joke we all went to Only Fools bar in Lagos. My Uncle Roger went incognito and we thought no one had recognised him, but as we were leaving one of the staff came over to him and said ‘Alright Dave’! It was so funny!”

Did you Know

Quartz crystals form as an igneous mineral when molten magma and lava cool and solidify. With its long record of volcanic activity, the Algarve possesses a geological history of these igneous rocks. 

For example, Luz’s Black Rock contains the remnant of an old volcanic plug in the cliff. As they erode through millions of years, the quartz crystals are released and can be found in the natural environment.


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