Overcoming obstacles. Persevering through dark times. Leaning on those you love to hold you up when you are not at your best.
Life's unexpected events and themes of empowerment have often driven the creative process of the work I do at Jewel of Havana. In fact, I named the company after the strongest woman I know, my mother. My new Snow in Havana Jewelry line is a tribute to her story, and what an amazing story it is!
My mother first came to the United States from Cuba as part of Operation Peter Pan. Operation Peter Pan (or Pedro Pan) was led by Father Byran O. Walsh in response to the mounting political regime of Fidel Castro. As Castro began closing private schools, fears that the government would begin sending minors to work camps in the Soviet Union caused many Cuban parents to risk their lives and homes to get children out of the country and into Miami.
Children of all ages were sent to America alone, relying on shelters and group homes run by Catholic Charities. The operation began in 1960 but abruptly ended in 1962, following the Cuban Missile Crisis. Because of this, nearly all of the children were without their parents until the later half of the decade. Though most were eventually reunited with their parents, some never saw them again.
One of those children was my mother. She was 17 when she came to America, after working for the underground herself. I wanted to ask her a few questions about her own experience.
What was the most challenging part of being in America?
Communication was probably the greatest challenge. I had studied English in school and was able to speak the language to get by. However, understanding people that spoke fast or use idioms that I was not familiar with was very difficult. At school, it would take me a very long time to complete reading assignments and since I had to also work to sustain myself, there was not much time for sleeping.
Introducing the Snow In Havana Jewelry Collection
Inspired by the strength and courage we all have within us to weather any storm. Jewelry elegant enough to dance the night away at the Tropicana in the romantic Cuba of my mother's youth and a symbol of their adopted country and the magic of hope and new beginnings.
Last week, I released the Draped in Love Collection in Sterling Silver in celebration of 5 years cancer free. As mentioned, the pieces are dedicated to those who supported me throughout my battle with cancer and their sales will contribute to the Dodi Groves Breast Cancer Fund.
Dodi Barron Groves
Today, I wanted to take a moment to talk about Dodi. I first met Dodi in Lafayette when she walked up to my jewelry booth with her big smile and sunshine personality. She was one of those people you meet who instantly feel like a friend. She and her husband, Bryan were getting ready to take a trip to New York and we bonded over theater and which restaurants they should check out when they were there. They were both wonderful supporters of my work through the years but mostly I loved seeing them and their beautiful daughter, Ava every time I was in Lafayette.
Just after my diagnosis, we were showing at Festival International in Lafayette. I had already had two surgeries and was to start radiation after the show. Dodi and Bryan stopped by to visit and this time her usual bouncy curly hair was in a pixie cut. She looked cute as a button but it’s when I learned she was having her own battle with cancer. In true Dodi fashion, she immediately began to share with me what to expect on the next part of my treatment journey and helped take away much of my fear of the next steps. She became one of my cancer angels, letting me know what to expect and encouraging me along the way. Dodi was the very first recipient of the Draped In Love copper earrings just after I created the original design.
Dodi was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana. After attending the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, she began teaching at Katharine Drexel Elementary. For 20 years Dodi taught kindergarten to over 450 students, touching many lives along the way.
Dodi was such a giving person. She was known to always serve others, often paying for clothes, supplies, lunches and snacks for those in need. She also anonymously provided resources to less fortunate families throughout her community.
Dodi began her battle with cancer in 2008. Even throughout her own treatment, she was still known to reach out and help those around her. During chemotherapy and radiation, she was known by many other patients as their “chemo buddy”, always uplifting and encouraging everyone she met along the way.
What I loved most about Dodi was her joyous spirit. I looked forward to seeing her and her beautiful family at every festival or market when I was in town and we would chat like old friends. It wasn’t possible to leave Dodi’s presence in a worse mood than you started. All who knew her were familiar with her radiant joy and contagious happiness.
Dodi lost her battle in 2015, due to medical complications of breast cancer. She left behind Bryan and their daughter, Ava. I, along with everyone who knew her, continue to remember her as the kind and radiant person she truly was.
The Witches Ride
As I prepared to release the Draped in Love Collection in Sterling Silver, I thought a lot about those who helped me through my battle with cancer. Dodi immediately came to mind, and I began thinking about how I could dedicate this collection to her. Before I even reached out, Bryan contacted me, letting me know about the 2019 Dodi Groves Memorial Witches Ride for Breast Cancer. The event is a Halloween-themed bike ride and all proceeds go to the Dodi Groves Breast Cancer Fund, which works to help those in the Acadiana area with breast cancer.
I knew I had to let everyone know about this event and this amazing organization dedicated to my friend. I also wanted to make sure this new collection worked to benefit the foundation, which is why I decided to devote proceeds to the Dodi Groves Memorial Fund with every purchase from the Sterling Silver Draped in Love Collection.
I think it is impossible for me to do anything that could properly thank Dodi. Her kindness and warm-hearted nature are things I will never forget. I hope that in partnering with her foundation, I can help others like she devoted her life to and work to keep her memory alive.
I was prepared for either choice based on what he said. I knew what I wanted to do but I am not a doctor & I wanted to do what was most medically sound.
This is the last pill.
Although (odd as it sounds) cancer brought many blessings, it has also taken many friends who had reached this milestone before me.
This is the last little pill.
I called it a healing treatment to help me cope with it. It was both a daily reminder of the cancer yet a daily reminder to live life to the fullest.
It was a daily reminder of each friend who lost their battle in the years I have been taking it. It is not lost on me that the same may happen to me.
It’s a new way of life. A “new normal”. I had heard cancer survivors use that term before but I really didn’t understand until I went on the journey myself.
I have now been cancer free for 5 years. This is the last pill of my healing treatments.
I want to celebrate this moment, this journey & the blessings it brought with it. There were many not so pleasant things but I want to focus on the good I saw, the friendships made, the deepening of love between friends & family. But mostly I want to celebrate the cancer survivors who helped me along the way. They were my cancer angels here on earth. The ones I created the Draped In Love Collection for as a thank you for all they did to help as we navigated those first days. Three of them are now Heavenly Angels & with each healing treatment these last 1,825 days, I have thought of them...their strength, their courage, their selflessness, their complete joy of life & warrior attitude.
In celebration of this milestone and in honor of those angels who are no longer with us, today I am releasing the Draped In Love Collection in sterling silver. The copper pieces will continue to raise money for the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center but these new silver pieces will contribute to the Dodi Groves Breast Cancer Fund.
I will share more about Dodi's story and this very special foundation formed in her honor next week. Today, I want to say thank you, celebrate this milestone & all those who helped us along the way. I am forever grateful and promise to keep paying it forward whenever I can. xo Ana
Named after French botanist Pierre Magnol, the magnolia is a beautiful flowering plant that many in Baton Rouge have come to love and admire. The official flower of Louisiana, magnolia trees commonly grace the streets of this city, symbolizing beauty and elegance at every turn.
That said, the plant has taken on new meaning with the emergence of the Red Magnolia Theatre Company in August 2017. What began as a group of friends with a passion for theatre quickly became an all-female theatre company, complete with innovative concepts and stunning performances.
Their first performance, Love Loss and What I Wore, debuted in October of 2018. Founders Michele Taylor Johnson and Paula Shreve wanted to do something special for their company on opening night, so they reached out to me for the perfect gift.
I was thrilled to combine my love for theatre as well as jewelry design. We worked together to make custom pieces for each co-founder, serving as a reminder of their hard work as well as their continued-commitment to bring art to our community.
I sat down with Paula and Michele to discuss the theatre company, the custom jewelry, as well as their upcoming production.
The Red Magnolia Theatre Company
Paula, tell me a little bit about how you first learned about Jewel of Havana?
I saw Jewel of Havana's booth setup at Theatre Baton Rouge many years ago. I walked over during an intermission of a show I was attending. I was drawn to the name as my mom was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. We discussed Cuba, Louisiana, and I bought my mom a necklace as a gift that day.
Why did you originally reach out for a custom piece?
Michele and I wanted to give each co-founder of Red Magnolia a unique gift at the opening night of our first production, Love Loss and What I Wore by Nora and Delia Ephron. As I already knew you and your own performance history as an actress, it was a no brainer to ask if we could work on a custom piece. Being a local, creative, female business owner also supports Red Magnolia's mission to collaborate among women in the arts.
Why did you want these items to be custom made?
The magnolia is Louisiana's state flower. It is also a symbol of stability and grace. It made sense that we find a local jeweler to create a piece of jewelry unique to Louisiana and that would represent an all-female theatre company. Jewel of Havana was the obvious choice as we all love all of the handcrafted pieces, the creations are inspired by nature, and you understand the mission of the Red Magnolia Theatre Company.
Explain the process of creating these pieces.
This creative process was really all Ana. We met and discussed a custom piece that would have a magnolia on it. We also wanted an affordable price point! After working on the original design, I came to the studio to look at the prototype. I could tell it was going to be beautiful.
What was your reaction to the finished piece?
I LOVED the finished product. The pendant was an excellent choice because you could add whatever necklace, chain or ribbon unique to you to it. All the co-founders have uniquely different personalities, so it was perfect. The pendant was a not only a perfect gift, but it signified strength as well as beauty. It was exactly what we had wanted!
The other day, I found myself shopping with my sister. As we perused the racks upon racks of the latest fall fashions, I couldn't help but notice a pattern. Well, less of a pattern and more of a single color; guacamole. A mix between a bright green and an olive color, this vibrant hue caught my eye. In fact, I felt as if every store we walked in had at least two or three items in the color, practically begging to be bought and worn.
As I returned home later that day, I just couldn't get the shade off my mind. I decided to check out Pantone for some inspiration and to see if I could find the color. For those of you who don’t know, Pantone is a company dedicated to color. They created the Pantone Color Matching System to standardize color reproduction in a variety of industries, and regularly put out predictions for upcoming color trends. I find myself heading over to the site constantly, hoping for a sneak peek at the season’s latest trends.
Pantone Classic Colors for Fall 2019
Sure enough, with one quick scroll on the site I found the exact color I had seen in so many storefronts. An added bonus? They had a whole swatch of colors that paired well with the green shade! Suddenly, I began brainstorming what gems would pair well with the color, and how I could use my jewelry to make falls newest color really pop.
I love celebrating mothers and daughters, but one of the things I love most about my job is working with men. I have so many husbands, fathers, brothers and friends selecting thoughtful gifts for the women in their lives, or even asking for my assistance in creating a custom piece all their own.
In a world where men are getting a bum rap by the ones who misbehave, I get to see the absolute best in them every day. They are thoughtful, they care and most of all, they love you big.
Take for example, my brother Hugo. Hugo is a teacher at Saint Joseph’s Academy and his wife, Stacia, is the principal. The school recently celebrated its 150th anniversary, complete with an entire season of celebratory events to commemorate Saint Joseph’s work in the lives of so many.
The 150th Anniversary Gala was the last of these events, a grand finale of sorts for the volunteers who had worked tirelessly for months, Hugo and Stacia included. Hugo decided he wanted to do something special for the people who had honored the school so well. He enlisted my help, searching for unique jewelry to gift to the volunteers and to his wife.
After some brainstorming, we decided that we would work together to make custom jewelry, incorporating the school’s shield. We ended up making a pair of cuff links, two rings, a pendant and a pair of earrings. Hugo has always been a thoughtful gift giver but this project was a really special one. I loved having him in the studio and collaborating on the designs.
I recently spoke with Hugo about the gifts and the use of jewelry for a very special thank you.
Hugo's Thoughtful Gifts
Why did you decide you wanted to gift them jewelry?
I wanted something that had a connection. I wanted to give them something special, so when they looked at it they knew that the work they had done was appreciated, and that they would remember all the good things of the process of putting on the events.
Why do you think jewelry has that sentimental value?
Jewelry is something you put on at special times and it carries a special connotation. I guess I was also thinking the gala was a black-tie affair and maybe something they could wear. Although being a guy, I neglected to think that the outfits had already been picked out and coordinated with jewelry!
What was actually creating the jewelry like?
It was eye-opening to see how much work goes into each piece. Not only in how careful you have to be to design everything but just everything in general. It was pretty impressive to learn. And fun to do!
The ring is beautiful and that equates to the appreciation of the school. It’s not something that was mass produced and I think they understood that. In fact, I had a couple of people ask where they could buy one when they saw it. I loved the idea that it was something that was thought out specifically for them. I wanted people that received it to know they are special.
Any final words to the recipients of the pieces?
Thank you! It was my pleasure and such an honor to be a part of the process. I’m humbled by the service that they gave to a place that I care so much about.
If you have a special occasion coming up or would like to create something unique for someone you love, don't hesitate to contact me. I'm happy to help make your jewelry idea a reality so the ones you love can think of you every time they wear it! xo Ana
Redesigning our art show booth has been on my list for quite some time. The booth is our home away from home for most of the spring and fall and I was ready for a fresh new look.
Thankfully, you all keep me busy in the studio and my MVP (aka Dad) has been busy too. Finding time to conceive, design and build the new booth has been challenging. Luckily we've been able to steal a bit of time this summer to conquer some projects long in need of attention.
With that, I'm so excited to announce we'll be debuting the (almost) finished display at the Baton Rouge Arts Market this Saturday. We won’t have the walls up and not everything is complete but I’d love for you to come by and let us know what you think, what could make it better for you or what you’d like to see more or less of. (We'll have some new jewelry too :)
The Mother’s Day celebration continues with a mother-daughter duo found right here in the Red Stick.
We sat down with Michele Johnson, President of Red Magnolia Theatre Company, to speak about her mother Paula Taylor, and what makes her special. It is truly heartwarming to see how highly Michele thinks of her mother. We hope you enjoy her words as much as we did.
Michele and Paula
What kind of mother is your mom?
She is very strong. She was a single mom before she married my dad when I was eleven. So it was just me and her for a really long time.
It’s that time of year again! Mother’s Day is quickly approaching. A time to cherish our own mothers and spend time with family, Mother’s Day is the perfect holiday for reflection and gratitude.
Tom and Sheila and Their Sweet Granddaughters
As we gear up to celebrate the mothers in our own lives, I cannot help but think back to a special moment Jewel of Havana was able to take part in a few months ago. After Tom gifted his wife Shelia with one our Leaf Bell Necklaces, their two granddaughters, Finley and Emory, could not get enough of the necklace. Every time they saw their grandmother, they would inquire about the necklace, examining and admiring it.
So, for Christmas this past year, they gave the girls a special gift—two custom-made Leaf Bell Necklaces that were a bit smaller to fit them. We have a video of their reactions here. Isn’t that just the cutest?!
We spoke with Tom about his wife’s love for their granddaughters and with the girls about how much they love their grandmother, "Shoo Shoo".
Girls, what it was like opening the Christmas present from Buddy and Shoo Shoo?
Finley: Exciting because we had the same necklace as our grandmother.
What is special about your Shoo Shoo?
Emory: She is our grandma and we love her so much.
Tom, can you tell me a little bit about giving your wife the necklace?
Tom: Well, I'm not the best person on planet Earth with figuring out what to get for my wife, so she usually gives me hints. But I knew Shelia admired the jewelry, so it just gave me a jackpot way to get her gifts that she would really like. This particular piece was something that she really admired, and I knew she would like it and want to wear it.
In 2018, I was commissioned to create a pendant for the Red Magnolia Theatre Company. It’s a new theater group in Baton Rouge, Louisiana founded by some talented ladies to foster more opportunities for women in theater in our area. I worked with them using their logo as inspiration and created a piece of jewelry for all the founders to wear and to raise money for their theater productions. I loved how it turned out so much that I made a few extra for me to have available for my clients. (The magnolia is our State Flower after all.)
Last month the pendant earned a whole new meaning for me. On December 31, 2018 we lost my dear, larger than life Father-in-law. He fought the good fight with cancer and until the very end kept directing at his beloved Virginia Sanford Theatre in Birmingham, Alabama (the last show only two weeks before he passed.) That’s how much energy and love of life this guy had!
Through the whole journey, my husband kept saying, I’m so worried about my Mom. Dad has done everything for them their whole life together. But I watched her. I saw that quiet strength. The care. The willingness to do what ever it took to make sure he was ok. Even on the days he wasn’t the best patient, she knew it wasn’t him talking. He was in pain so she never took the bait and kept loving him and taking care of him.
We are a theater family, so in my head everything has a theater reference; a song lyric, a show title or line. When we were driving to Birmingham to what we thought was going to be a quiet evening celebrating New Year’s Eve with family, I was thinking, what could I give Philip’s Mom that would have meaning? We had planned to open Christmas Gifts that night too.
We didn’t know that our sweet Jack would pass that day, quietly with all of us around him singing to him and holding his hands. He was just waiting for us to get there but we didn’t know. What followed was a week of arrangements and family and grief and many, many God Winks from Jack to let us know he was still with us.
On the day we left her for the first time since his passing, I knew exactly which piece to gift his Mom. She is a Steel Magnolia. (If you haven’t seen the play or watched the movie, I highly recommend it. It’s a true story written by a Louisiana writer about his family) I gave her the Magnolia Pendant. I wanted her to have a reminder in times when she doesn’t feel strong that she is a Steel Magnolia and I know that beyond the sadness and grief of losing her Jack, she has a powerful quiet strength in her DNA and I know she will be just fine.
I read an article this week that got me thinking. Studies show most people break their New Year resolutions before the end of January each year. (I'm not shocked, I'm one of those people myself. How about you? ;)
But it got me thinking, when I'm feeling low in energy or want to manifest something specific in my life, I've been known to grab my favorite gemstone jewelry to help keep me mindful of what I'm working towards. I thought it would be fun to put together a little quiz to help find the perfect gemstone for keeping your new year resolutions all year long.
Whether you believe in the metaphysical properties of gemstones or not, they are a beautiful way to keep a goal front of mind or carry a reminder to live with courage, happiness, intention or whatever you are wanting to manifest in your life all year.
Take our quiz and let me know which stone you get in the comments below. Feel free to share with your friends too.
Happy New Year! xo Ana
I'm so excited to share something we've been working on for a few months. It’s festival season and we have been on the road. It’s my favorite time of year visiting cities we have fallen in love with and seeing all of you, clients who have become friends. As we travel, the #1 question we are asked by new customers is:
Why is it called Jewel of Havana?
My answer is always, "It’s named after my Mom who is from Havana" but that doesn’t really tell the whole story.
I was looking for a better way to share why I was inspired to do what I do. So with a big thank you to my brother, his camera and many of our beautiful customers, we put together a short video (ok… it was really long but we cut it down to 2.5 mins) I hope it will help you see why it was so fitting to name this company after the woman who's stories of family inspired my connection to jewelry. I'm excited to share our story with you. xo Ana
P.S. If you are inspired, I’d love to hear some of your stories. Do you have pieces of jewelry that remind you of someone you love or a special time in your life? I’d love to interview you and tell your story on our blog. It’s quick and easy and so much fun and if you are in the Baton Rouge area you’ll even get a free photo shoot out of it! Just click here to get us started. I'll be in touch once you fill out the Share Your Story Form.
In case you missed it this morning, I was on WAFB Channel 9 The Big Xtra Hour talking all things Covington Three Rivers Art Festival in beautiful Downtown Covington, Louisiana this weekend, November 10-11. Check out this interview featuring Jewel of Havana Handcrafted Jewelry along side Baton Rouge artists Nanci Charpentier of Nanci Charpentier Fine Art and Ghada Henagan of Ghada Henagan Ceramics.
When people ask me what I miss most about my Broadway career, I always say, “The girls in the dressing room”. I suppose it’s not unlike having an office full of people who become your family (only in really tight quarters) visiting and trouble shooting and supporting each other in life, love and business. Our work was on stage, our dressing room was your break room or water cooler so to speak (only with a lot of clothes flying on & off very quickly ;)
There is nothing like a room full of creative, soulful, taking life by the horns, carpe diem kind of people. I miss it. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my jewelry business but outside the days I’m at shows or my MVP is here to help, it’s a pretty solitary job. So, I’ve sought out ways to fill my need for the “girls in the dressing room”. Surrounding myself with fellow creative entrepreneurs to support each other in our marketing efforts, trouble shooting the challenges of running your own business, you name it. I treasure the time I get with these beautiful women and we collectively help each other continue to grow and challenge ourselves to be better at what we do.
A few months ago, I was searching the web for other businesses in my area that I could possibly collaborate with and came across the Rising Tide Society. Who knew it would lead to this award?!!
What is 20 on the Rise?
Sponsored by the Rising Tide Society, Honeybook, Peerspace and Gusto, 20 On The Rise celebrates individuals who are "raising the tide and making waves, rocking their respective industries through hard work and creativity."
According to 20 on the Rise: "This isn’t a popularity contest nor is it a ‘most liked’ list. 20 On The Rise is a curated list of 20 rising stars in 5 categories nominated by their peers and selected based on: empowerment, impact, purpose, and passion."
"It's a list of people who believe in community over competition and support their communities as they build businesses they love."
Thank you to the the Rising Tide Society, HoneyBook, Peerspace and Gusto for this honor and for the work you do fostering community over competition. You can check out the full list of incredible creatives on their website at ontherise.honeybook.com
Known as the Stone of Unconditional Love, Rose Quartz dates back as early as 7000 BC.
As folk lore would have it, rose quartz derived it's color from the blood of Aphrodite as she tried to save her love, Adonis. The dying lovers blood on the stone became the symbol of eternal love. The Egyptians believed the stone could prevent the effects of aging. Native Americans continued the tradition of the "Love Stone" believing it could calm anger, heal disappointments and bring love to the wearer.
Rose quartz is a crystal made of silicon dioxide. It's soft pink color is the result of trace amounts of iron, titanium or manganese combined with microscopic inclusions of pink fibers within the stone that keep it from being completely transparent.
Rose quartz can be found in mines all over the world. The most common sources are in Madagascar, Brazil, South Africa and India.
This heart chakra stone brings the energy of compassion, tenderness, peace and healing and supports the capacity to truly give and receive love from others. It attracts love and aides in developing closer bonds with friends and family.
A great gift to exchange between friends and loved ones, Jewel of Havana has a nice selection of sweet rose quartz pendant necklaces and earrings as well as new rose quartz clips for our popular Leaf Bell Necklaces or Calla Lily Earrings. Add this stone of love to your jewelry collection. It's is sure to bring you many years of happiness and contentment.
Beautiful red ruby is the birthstone for July and the anniversary stone for the 15th, 40th and 80th year of marriage. It is one of the four precious stones along with Emeralds, Diamonds and Sapphires. The name comes from the Latin word “ruber” which simply means “red”.
Ruby is red corundum and derives its color from the presence of chromium. Corundum is a mineral that produces sapphires of every color. All other corundum colors are called sapphires. Depending on the iron content, rubies can range from pinks and purples to orange and brownish reds; the most desirable being deep blue red which is referred to as “pigeon’s blood”.
The largest producers of rubies are Thailand, Madagascar, India and Sri Lanka but they can be found in Africa, Australia and the U.S. Rubies are the second hardest natural stone after diamonds which makes them perfect for jewelry.
Larger high-quality rubies are rarer than diamonds of the same size and for that reason can sell for a significantly higher price. The “Hope Ruby” Ring sold for 6.74 million at 32.08 carats and Elizabeth Taylor’s 8.24 carat ruby ring sold for 4.2 million at auction. (That’s $500k per carat!!)
Ruby jewelry was a favorite among royalty around the world. They were a symbol of power and believed to be a stone of protection. In India, rubies were believed to help them stay at peace with their enemies. In the Bible rubies are associated with wisdom and beauty.
Today, rubies are said to attract good luck to the wearer, protect you from misfortune and shield against negative energy. They symbolize passion and love, release limitations, help with focus and clarity and strengthen energy, courage and joy.
Who couldn’t use a little ruby jewelry in their life? Check out Jewel of Havana’s new raw ruby necklace and earrings just in time for July birthdays!
For those of you who have worked with me before, you know I LOVE being part of the special moments in your life. It’s why I do what I do. That something I’ve created could live on in your family, make you feel beautiful, help you feel close to the ones you love, remind them of you or a special time or celebration in your life, all of it!! It’s what excites me to get up in the morning and keeps me up late in “the zone” with a smile on my face.
Recently, I had the absolute pleasure of working with a bride and groom to be. I had tears in my eyes when she started sharing photos of their beautiful wedding.
So today, I’m featuring the lovely Mr. & Mrs. Ricardo and Kami Gallardo with photo assist by the talented Gary Blake Photography. He’s so good at his job, I felt like I was at the wedding through his gorgeous work.
Mr. and Mrs. Ricardo and Kami Gallardo
How did you meet?
My sister had been bugging me for months to get on an online dating site. I’m currently writing this book, called “Confessions of a Grad Student”. It’s about how the female scientist can survive grad school.
So how did she pick him out of all of the people she was checking out?
She biased herself to education. He has a master’s degree and he’s actually going back in the spring to get a degree in analytics… and he’s cute!
Well come to find out he had booked a photographer to capture the moment and there was a mix up with the time. Rick was trying to stall till she got there. She shows up and he pops the question! It was so sweet!
How was the process for you from finding the color to coming up with the final design?
I mean, you were really instrumental in that. I’m a scientist and my fashion sense lacks sometimes so I took a lot of my cues from you. Everyone loved their gifts. I was not expecting my mother in law to like it so much but she texted Rick the day that she wore it and said I’m wearing Kami’s necklace to this important conference I’m going to and she loved it!
I noticed you were wearing your wedding earrings in your honeymoon pictures
Oh yeah! I’ve worn them to church ever since then because everything in my wardrobe is blue and they match everything.
How was the reaction from your bridesmaids?
I think they really liked them. They matched the dresses really well and they looked so nice on all the bridesmaids.
So hopefully, they will think of you every time they pull them out to wear!
I hope so… I hope so!
Tell us your story!
Would you or someone you know like to be featured on the Jewel of Havana blog? Click the contact us button and let me know! I'd love to tell your jewelry story or honor someone you love!!
This Mother and Daughter Have Alot to Celebrate!
Mother's Day is around the corner and the kids are graduating this month! Today we feature, Elena and Amy (with a little assist by her sister, Catherine).
Elena is a mother of five and her youngest daughter is graduating from 8th grade to high school next week.
Elena and Amy
I asked Amy and her sister, Catherine to share a little bit about their Mom.
Even with an unusual gait, she was always smiling. Fortunately, she takes medication that keeps symptoms at bay most of the time and she is able to function normally. With the amazing work of our school system, her teachers and therapists, Amy overcame her delays and is now on the other end of the spectrum shining on stage in dance, theatre and singing.
For all the new readers of the blog, you may or may not know, Jewel of Havana is named in honor of my Mom. It is because of her I have such a connection to jewelry and how it can carry the stories of special moments or celebrations in our lives and even more importantly, remind us of the people we love.
With that in mind, we're bringing back my favorite series! "Celebrating Moms and Mothers Day"! Over the next two weeks I'll be sharing a few more VIP Moms and their daughters. You can keep up with all the stories by going to the Mothers Day page or joining our VIP list if you aren't already on it.
Happy Mothers Day!!
Becky, Joelle & Josie
I asked Becky:
Do you have a piece of jewelry you own that has special meaning for you?
I have two favorite pieces of jewelry. A few of years ago, Joelle realized that we have recurring first initials in our four generations (Josie, Becky, Joelle and Bryce). So she made all three of us bracelets with our birthstones and “BJBJ”. My other favorite piece is a necklace from Jewel of Havana (imagine that). It is an opal quartz and three small amethyst crystals. I call it my “grandma necklace” because it represents my birthstone and Bryce’s. I liked it so much that I now have matching earrings….a previous Mother’s Day present from Joelle !!!
Is there anything you'd like to share about your beautiful Mom?
My mom has amazing strength. She is the last one in her generation and she continues on with unfailing faith and amazing energy. I told her recently that even though our family is small, she has become the matriarch for several families. I know how lucky I am to have her with me and so healthy of mind and body. Even though sometimes she drives me CRAZY !!!!
Today was a big day in our family! After 3 years of foster care, my brother and sister-in-law, finally got to adopt the twins that captured our hearts when they were only 6 weeks old.
With Mothers Day just around the corner, I couldn’t help but think back to last year’s blog series honoring Moms. Heather was one of the Mom’s I featured. They had just adopted two boys after 5 years of fostering. One year later, “the babies” as we lovingly call them are 3 years old and officially, Andricain’s! I couldn’t be happier for my brother and his new family of six!
These two bring so much joy to our lives. Little Zaine loves music and performing (a perfect fit in our family) and always greats everyone with a huge smile and a hug. Zoey is a little shy but kills you with her smile every time. What an amazing Mother’s Day celebration this will be for Heather!
Custom Designed Jewelry for Adoption Day
Leading up to the big event, I worked with Heather to create jewelry that would help hold the memory of today. She wanted something pink in honor of her first girl, so we went with blush fresh water pearls. I had some beautiful white Mother of Pearl tear drop shells that seemed fitting; the "Mother" of Pearl as the perfect backdrop to cradle the tiny pink pearls representing her kiddos. Matching chandelier earrings with the same pearls and sterling silver accents for Mom and of course little Zoey got the perfect little white pearl bracelet from our Children’s Jewelry Collection.
After the ceremony, Zoey requested a matching necklace, so Tia Ana better get to work on her new special order!! Nothing like a 3-year-old who knows exactly what she wants 😊
Special Orders for Mothers Day
If you’d like something designed for a special Mom in your life, don’t hesitate to give me a call. Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 13th and the cut off for special orders in time for Mother’s Day delivery is just two weeks away.
We have many ready to wear Mothers Day gift ideas on the website too! All our jewelry arrives in beautiful leatherette presentation boxes with a bow and blank gift card for you to personalize. If you'd like me to ship directly to Mom, just let me know in the order comments what you'd like on the card.
It’s my mission to make you look good and help celebrate the special people and moments in your life!
Happy Mothers Day, y'all! xoxo Ana
So, if you’ve been following along the past two weeks, we’ve been celebrating some big birthdays over here! Jewel of Havana turned 12 on March 14th & I myself am celebrating a BIG ONE on April 1st. I had plans of traveling somewhere wonderful, but it’s show season & one of my best friends was getting married so I decided I’d rather travel to her wedding this past weekend than go on a birthday trip I could do when I wasn’t so busy. All this to say, I just got back from Nashville & had no plans for my big birthday this week.
The Set Up
My little Sis called to make a date with me. We planned on going to dinner together and then heading to the Old State Capital to attend a good friend’s art exhibit. It was a long day in the studio trying to catch up from being away & I had to go to the DMV … TWICE to renew my license. (Have any of you heard of the “Real ID”?... I digress but let’s just say they have more identifying papers on me than my Mom at this point.) I was super tired by the time my date with my Sis came but I was looking forward to a little girl bonding time, so I wasn’t going to miss it!
For those of you who don’t know, my brother lives next door…. (like we share a fence next door) and he and my SIL, have a Supper Club they’ve been holding for years. My Sis is about to renovate her house and her architect is a member of the Supper Club, so my Sis says, “Can we run over to Hugo’s real quick and pick up the house plans? They are ready, but I don’t want to crash their party by myself to get them”.
So off we go to pop in next door…. Cars lining the driveway (normal for supper club). We open the door and a beautiful table is set (normal for supper club) …. but where were all the people? My SIL was filming us… that was weird…. And then I hear “SURPRISE!!!!” ….. I look across the room and see the best of girlfriends from all different parts of my life standing there. I was so confused I just stood there & my Sis has to say, “It’s for your birthday!” LOL!!!! I literally was standing there in my head going…. Where are the supper club people? Why are they yelling surprise? Why is Nanci (the artist I thought we were going to see) here? Why are the girls I’m seeing for my own supper club tomorrow night here? I thought Mom wasn’t feeling well? …. All these thoughts in my head in a split second … so there I was completely stunned and blown away by their kindness. THEY GOT ME GOOD!!!
Birthday Gifts Giveaway
If you haven’t joined in the fun, you still have until April 1st to shop Jewel of Havana and receive birthday gifts from me to you! It’s been so much fun shipping out extra gifts the past week. Just join the VIP list and shop the website, your gift will be in your package when it arrives! Thanks for being a VIP and for helping us celebrate some big birthdays!!
It snuck up on me! As I sat to work this morning I looked up and this piece of paper caught my eye, or rather, the date did: 3/14/2006.
Today is the 12th Birthday of Jewel of Havana. 12 years ago today, urged on by a room of strong beautiful women backstage at Beauty & the Beast on Broadway, I took the subway down to 60 Centre Street in New York City (yes, you’ve seen it on Law & Order) and made it official. I turned my backstage jewelry making hobby in to a real business.
I had no idea at the time it would take over acting to become my full-time career. It would take me back to my home town in Louisiana where I could be close to my family and still have a career as an artist. It would allow me to be a tiny part of so many special moments in your lives… weddings, anniversaries, graduations, new babies, birthdays or just because you love.
The love you show one another in every card I’m asked to write is beyond beautiful. Honestly, sometimes you bring me to tears with your sweet messages. Or just being a part of that moment when your eyes light up because you feel beautiful in a piece I’ve created. There is nothing like it for me. You are the completion of the art.
And Gentlemen…. I’m here to say, I see the BEST side of you every day in my work… the caring, the thoughtfulness, the romantic, the tender. I love helping you shine and will continue to work hard to make sure you look good giving your gifts.
Thank you all for supporting me and Jewel of Havana all these years. It would not be what it is today without all of you.
My Birthday Present to You!
From now until my own birthday on April 1st (and it's a big one) all VIP list members will receive a free gift with any purchase over $50 on the website! It won't show up in your cart but will be in your package as my gift to you. Check your newsletter for more details.
Join the VIPs if you haven't already!! Just click the button below and you'll be in on the free gift as well!!
Thank you for 12 years of awesomeness!! It is truly an honor to make for you every day and Jewel of Havana would not be here without all of you.
With gratitude and love! xoxo Ana
Recently, Jewel of Havana was featured on LPB’s Art Rocks. Many of my customers noted how seemingly different the career path of a jewelry designer and Broadway actress appeared to be. In my mind though, they are not unrelated at all! Both are creative paths, both have a very human connection, both have a “performer” and an “audience”. The only difference in my mind is I use to perform for thousands of people each night & though I could see some faces and feel and hear their collective reaction, it was a shared experience on a relatively anonymous level. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED performing and I LOVED moving crowds to laugh or cry or be taken away to another place or time. But with jewelry making, it’s so personal. The audience is one on one. As I’m creating, I think about who will ultimately “adopt my baby”; what journey will this piece go on once it leaves my hands? And most of the time, I get to know the people who collect my jewelry, their families, their stories. It’s an honor and a privilege to be a tiny part of connecting people through my art. Where one medium happens one night and is a memory to carry with you, the other has a tangible lasting piece that can be handed down through generations. In both careers, I loved the connection to people & sharing my art in what ever form that may be. Now I perform for one person at a time instead of thousands. There is something so intimate and beautiful about something I’ve created, having a life & history that will carry on in your family for years to come.
If you missed the Art Rocks episode, here's a link to watch: Art Rocks xoxo Ana
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!