One of our adventures with the mothers was also a chance for us to pick up a few Christmas presents and some art for the house. When we leave Rio, someday, we'd like to have some unique and memorable items to remind us of our stay here. To that end, we decided that the mothers needed to check out the rock shop.
Hidden away in São Cristovão is a well-kept secret: Shop dos Cristais. Any visitor to Rio will notice after a brief jog through the Hippie Fair or a tourist loja that rocks and crystals are common souvenir items. Like so:
Of course, a casual glance at the prices they're charging will usually cause most of us to shudder and look for some postcards.
Housed in a labyrinthine warehouse once used by the royal family for their paper importation business, the Shop dos Cristais is the place to look for the best prices on this kind of natural art. (It also caters to the estoteric, "rocks-have-healing-powers" crowd). Carved birds, soapstone sculptures, agate coasters, huge slabs of rock and slit-open geodes sparkling with citrines and amethysts fill the first room, but if you ask nicely and act like you know what you're talking about, someone may show you the other rooms. Room upon room of gemstone marvels, people!
While their collection is not as diverse as that of LEGEP, I find their prices to be quite reasonable. They do NOT have pre-drilled stones for jewelry making, however, and LEGEP does. If you go, I recommend taking a car or getting the number of a local taxi company, as lugging most anything home would be heavy, and it's a bit of a hike out to the main road. Also, as readers of my blog should know by now, ask for a discount if you're paying by cash or check. It can't hurt!