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Chaney: Busted Crockery Becomes Jewelry
As my wife has graciously green-lighted my many international journeys, it’s fair play to bring her back at least one gift from every place I visit. On a recent trip to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, international shopping maven/fellow journalist Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon heard I was seeking a spousal souvenir and suggested ib designs. This small design studio/jewelry shop in Christiansted offers chaney, shards of colorful china, some centuries old, that wash up on the beach and are sometimes found on old sugar plantations (most of which now seem largely abandoned due to a number of factors, including the rise of the sugar beet and the abolition of enforced servitude). Cruzan kids used to smooth off the edges of these pottery pieces and use them as play money. At ib designs, they mount these randomly found, one-of-a-kind chunks of china in sterling; prices range from around $50 to around $250. I bought the one in the center of the picture, with tree-like blue designs – my wife said she liked it (the proof: she wears it). Greaves-Gabbadon mentioned that when it comes to shopping in the Virgin Islands, “people tend to focus on St. Thomas and St. John, and in those places you’ll find big names at good prices. But if you’re looking for smaller, artisanal products, St. Croix is the place to be.” Shopping lesson learned.
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