It’s not often I show my face around here. Usually I’m sharing photos of my jewelry, or of other gorgeous people wearing my pieces. The truth is, I’m not comfortable in front of the camera. But I recently decided to step outside of my comfort zone and booked a photoshoot with Brilliant Studios here in the Turks & Caicos for my website.
As I share these images with you, I thought this would be a good opportunity to share more about myself — the artist behind Atelys Jewelry.
My love affair with jewelry began when I was a young girl in the Dominican Republic. I vividly remember my grandmother’s jewelry, and how I couldn’t wait until I was older so I could wear it all. I would try on her jewelry every chance I got.
When I was 13, I began experimenting with designing jewelry myself. But rather than making something from scratch, I would take existing jewelry pieces, take them apart and remake them in a different style. (Who says you need to buy supplies? Create with what you have!)
As the years went by, I continued to experiment with designing and making jewelry — but I never had any intention of making a living from it. For me, it was always just something I loved to do. It wasn’t until 2004, when I was working as a waitress at a restaurant, that I realized I could turn my passion into a job. Back then, customers would often ask to buy the jewelry I was wearing. It happened so many times, a lightbulb finally went off and I thought: I could do something more with this.
But these things take time.
In 2009, I left my waitressing job and started working at Blue Surf Shop. In my free time, I began making and selling jewelry through social media and craft markets. Soon after, a few shops on the island began selling my pieces.
It wasn’t until April of 2016 that I finally opened my own shop, Atelys Jewelry. And to say the past four years have been a blessing would be an understatement.
While larimar, sea glass and conch are all still prominently featured in my work, my favorite thing to make is stamped jewelry. I’ve created so many messages of love and hope through this kind of jewelry, one letter at a time, entirely by hand. It’s incredibly special to me helping my clients express these messages to those they love through the art of jewelry-making.
And while my passion is still making jewelry, by far the most rewarding aspect of this job has been the people I’ve met and relationships I’ve developed with my clients. It is an honor and a privilege to create jewelry keepsakes for my clients, and I’m beyond grateful that they continue to choose me and my work. I never take their support for granted.
If that’s you — thank you. I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know.