March 25, 2013 - Jewel of Havana Featured in Daily Concepts
Not too long ago, a staff member from Daily Concepts attended a special brunch honoring GRAMMY nominees from Louisiana. Seated at the table was Ana Maria Andricain, who had many wonderful things to say about Louisiana, particularly her hometown of Baton Rouge.
At the end of the event, business cards were exchanged. Ana Maria’s proclaimed, “Jewel of Havana” — Designer. Intrigued, the DC staffer decided to do some further investigating. Turns out, Ana Maria was so busy singing the praises of Louisiana, she’d humbly neglected to mention a few key things about herself.
For years, Ana Maria lived in New York, where she appeared on Broadway in South Pacific, Marie Christine, By Jeeves, Les Miserables and Evita. In her off-time, Ana Maria took pottery classes. “I’ve always been interested in the fine arts,” she says. “After making so many pots, though, there was no where left to put them in my apartment.”
It was while playing Belle in Beauty in the Beast that she caught sight of different art form. “During intermission, I noticed a cast member making earrings.” Ana Maria decided to try her hand at making a pair and was instantly hooked. “Reading a book during my breaks was impossible, but working on a piece of jewelry, it was easy to pick up and go, then come back to it.”
As her interest in jewelry-making deepened, Ana Maria studied various techniques online. This led to scouring the jewelry district and gem warehouses for new materials with which to work. Her hobby had become a passion. Soon, the focus of that passion would take a different direction. The turn of fate — a transit strike during the winter holidays.
“Three days before Christmas, there was a transit strike,” she remembers. “Cast and crew members were crashing on couches because they couldn’t get back and forth between home and work. They also couldn’t purchase Christmas gifts.” Having seen Ana Maria’s jewelry, many turned to her for help with this conundrum. “It was then that I started thinking of my hobby as being a potential business.”
Through SCORE, Ana Maria started taking steps to launch a jewelry design business. SCORE paired her with a mentor to help her through the necessary steps for getting what would eventually become Jewel of Havana off the ground. “I met with them for a year,” she says. “My plan of action for taking off as a business resulted from another kind of ‘accident.’” Love, of course.
It was during a casting session for a regional Shakespeare festival that Ana Maria met Philip Mann. She caught his eye right away. Needless to say, she won both the part and his heart. The two married, but bumped into a wrinkle. “I’d just gotten this incredible offer to work on a production at Lincoln Center and Philip got an amazing job in Baton Rouge as the Music and Live Performance Director for Louisiana Economic Development.”
The newlyweds’ first year of marriage was spent commuting. When Ana Maria’s show came to a close, another offer came her way, this time at another Lincoln Center production helmed by Theatre Director, Susan Stroman. “I’d always dreamed of working with her,” says Ana Maria.
As Ana and Philip considered another year of a commuter marriage, fate lent a hand. “I got a call asking if I’d consider being the vacation/emergency swing for a traveling production of South Pacific. It ended up being the perfect situation — they’d fly me out once every couple of weeks to whatever city the show was in.”
Though still commuting, the majority of the time, Ana Maria and Phillip were now together in Baton Rogue, which is, ironically, Ana Maria’s hometown. Now that the run of South Pacific’s national tour is complete, the couple have decided to set down their own roots in the colorful city.
Ana Maria continues to tour, added to the mix, though, are festivals for artisans, as Jewel of Havana is making its debut. As for Jewel of Havana, the company’s name was also born of love. It came to Ana Maria and Philip one day while dining at a New York cafe in Havana Central. “I’m the daughter of Cuban refugees,” says Ana Maria. “Jewel of Havana — it refers to my mother, Zoila.”
We love Ana Maria’s story and we love her Jewel of Havana designs, too. Want to see more? Visit http://www.jewelofhavana.com
Ana Maria Andricain
Ana is a metal clay certified artist creating handcrafted nature inspired artisan jewelry from her Baton Rouge studio. If you love natural gemstones and metal, welcome home!