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Caribbean Jewelry Designer Finds Success By Adding An Art Gallery March 31, 2021 (0 comments)


St Croix, USVI—Jewelry designer Nicole Gariepy knew in high school that her career would somehow be connected to jewelry. Her original plan was to manage a jewelry store—and to that end, she pursued a gemological education at GIA (Gemological Institute of America)—but ultimately she realized that design was her true passion.

Today, as a successful jeweler on the island who owns Fantasea Jewelry, she was recently the subject of a feature article in the Virgin Islands Daily NewsImage: Fantasea Jewelry via Virgin Islands Daily News

From the article:

For Gariepy, Fantasea is a celebration of island life, capturing the magic and the beauty of living on an island. She finds inspiration not just in the physical beauty of the island, but in the energy, kindness and authenticity of the people.

Gariepy works with gemstones and precious metals. Her designs are fluid, like the motion of the ocean. She works with a lot of blue gemstones because they are reminiscent of the water, but she also branches out into other colors and symbols of the Caribbean.

Not surprisingly, as a resident of a Caribbean island, her Sea Turtle collection was inspired by the projects dedicated to their preservation on the island, and her Eye of the Storm collection pieces feature a center moonstone to represent peace and calm of any storm, whether an actual hurricane or personal upheaval.

A sea turtle in sterling silver and blue topaz, above, and a pendant from the Eye of the Storm collection in gold and diamond with a signature center moonstone, below, by Nicole Gariepy.

Speaking of hurricanes, it was Hurricane Maria that inspired her to get a physical space, says the article. A friend, Tina Henle, was planning to close her family’s art gallery after 27 years on St. Croix, but still wanted to have some kind of presence on the island, so the two decided to collaborate.

Gariepy is not the first jeweler to recognize the collaborative power of art. In December 2020, Shoppers at Cooper & Binkley Jewelers in Brighton, MI collaborated with a local gallery on an installation of Michigan-centric art, while Bove Jewelers in Kennett Square, PA, brought in a mini museum’s worth of valuable original, signed works of art by such renowned masters as Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Marc Chagall, Andy Warhol, and many more into the store. 

Meanwhile, in St. Croix, Fantasea offers a broad range of works by various talented members of the Henle family, as well as Gariepy’s jewelry. She says she’s open to bringing other artists in as well.

Read more here.

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