I bought my mom one for Mother's Day and want to include some history of it with the gift. Can anyone tell me a brief history of the bracelet's origin and also how to wear it meaning "single" or "taken".
I did a search on the forum already and didn't see anything and I also googled it but am not coming up with much.
I'm not quite sure of its history, but if the C bit is facing up your arm towards your heart, it means your heart is taken. If facing out towards your hand, it means that your heart is still open for the taking. And its supposed to be for a true love--if you were single and wore it open, then started dating someone, and then turned the hook around, it is a big deal for a lot of people.
hand----C-----body = taken
body----C-----hand = available
Who knows where they really started? I heard they were available in the 50s from Cartier or Tiffany's in New York. Someone brought the idea back to life in St Croix over 10-15 years ago. (I was told that it was someone that came from New York, by way of California, that brought it to St Croix) Several jewelers have done their rendition of it and lay claim to it. Some will argue forever that they originated it, but it is a remake of something from the 50s, obviously they did not!
My wife and I have been wearing our Sonya hooks since 96. A couple of years ago I was helping a vendor set up his laptop to do a presentation at my company. As I was working he suddenly yelled HEY, in front of about 10 people in the meeting room. I thought I did something wrong and as I looked to him he had his arm stretched out showing me his bracelet.. Turns out he had lived on St. Croix for a number of years and also got his bracelet from Sonya's. The meeting didn't start anywhere near on time cause everyone in the room wanted to hear more about the two of use sharing our memory's about the islands. It was a really great day.
That's the only time anyone has ever mentioned my bracelet but, good times... I can't wait for my next hook encounter.
Anyone who has been around St Croix for the past 20 or 30 years will tell you that Sonja has dips on the hook bracelet design. Ronnie is right when he says that the design has been around for decades. But I think most agree that Sonja brought the design to the Virgin Islands. Her shop is still in Christiansted. There are many, many knockoffs of this design. Isn't fun to have a jewelry piece that the rest of the world identifies as unique to the US Virgin Islands?
Capt, don't let Brian Bishop hear you say that as he says he is the originator! http://www.cruciangold.com/
Sonya does claim she is the one as well! http://www.sonyaltd.com/
I got my info from Tom and Alice at Coral Bay Jewelers. He was there when it arrived and the craze and battle began!
http://stjohnjewelers.com/index.html I buy mine from them!
Ronnie - Isn't Brian Bishop's claim to fame is the Crucian Knot, rather than the hook? As far as I know, he is the original designer of that.
Interesting story - I was at a craft fair in upstate New York when I happened to see a jeweler with a large display of larimar jewelery. Since you NEVER saw that stone in jewelery in that area, I ran to the display to have a look. The artist immediately noticed my hooks (at that time I had Sonya's original and the hurricane Lenny bracelet). Turns out she was one of Sonya's former apprentices. Since that time she has made me several bracelets that I consider almost as original as Sonya's.
I worked for one of the jewelry store on STX for the year I lived there. The way we saw it... yes, give Sonya her credit for the hook and dont't duplicate. Let Brian have his "Crucian" bracelet / the knot and don't duplicate. And we had some of our own designs as well. There are several good jewelers on island and then there are the ROYAL JEWELERS and BACI stores...that replicate everything, cheaply mass produced in the DR and sell, sell, sell to the tourists.
Isnt jewelry kinda like music...or other art mediums for that matter...someone can always claim original design...but look 100 years before and something similar was probably around somewhere.
Either way- the hook, Crucian bracelets, etc do have some connetation to the islands these days- to those that live/lived there, visited, or know about it... my friends and family all want "one of those island" bracelets.
Kenny Chesney wears one, its the hook, or rather, a design of A hook, but with a little artisitic flair to make it look like a "C". We had people and stateside jewelers ask to commission the "Kenny" bracelet after seeing him in concert. They all know he loves the islands and thus sought out island jewelers. So- there begins the theory of a "Kenny" bracelet...all from a hook bracelet.
Believe as you will... but what does work.... identify someone, something, or some concept to something and the profits go waaayyy up. Sales of the "original" one get Sonya customers all the time that come into other stores looking for the "real" one. Sales of the official "Crucian" one get Brian sales all the time. Waylen gets his share for his unique designs. Chaney- that many stores are now doing... because of their link to the island history- sell like crazy- for nice lil prices,if you consider that they are broken plates! But since its not just a chard of a broken plate from Kmart - there is meaning there..ART.
Anyway- my basic point here... attach some authentic claim to your items and they become "MUST HAVES" instead of another vacation purchase. People feel better about their purchase, we feel better about our product, thus promote it better... everyone feels tingly inside because it hit deeper than a $4.99 all designs sale at Kmart.
Think about this- in the states- these days the circle diamond pendant is everywhere.Consumers buy it at Christmas, Mother's Day, Anniversaries, etc.etc. Why- because its been marketed as the CIRCLE OF LOVE...a cirlce of diamonds is sooooo a symbol of never-ending love and diamonds are forever and ....you get my point.
Everyone wants one. Because we are "sold" on the concept of it.
When the diamond/jewelry industry saw a dead end to the buying potential... that men buy for engagement, weddings, anniversaries... what did the industry do. Respond with marketing that gets the other 50% of the population to think about buying THEMSELVES diamonds..."The Right Hand Ring"... marketing to tell women, old, young, married, or single (this one opens doors big time...don't wait for a man to buy you a ring...buy it yourself!!) that they can... "Women of the world, raise your right hand!" That's the ad campaign. Suddenly - a whole new way to look at diamond rings.
Did the bracelets originate here, there, with Sonya, etc. Each bracelet has a great lil story (the toward/away from your heart = taken or available). Chaney is broken china - but highly regarded. Can you buy coins from shipwrecks- duplicates or authentic... which would have "meaning" to you??... what if it were a duplicate but...made with the barstock from sunken gold/silver...still some unique quality to it. Hmmm.. Conch pearls are regarded as very precious and hard to come by- I personally wouldn't buy something so pricey that if ever set in jewelry can't really be exposed to light or it will continue to lose its luster and color.... what's the point then... of having a rare pretty conch pearl that must stay in the safe, in the dark. Art- or financial investment?? It's all how you see and want to see it! We all give value/authenticity/worth, etc to that which we want.
Enjoy your jewelry as you wish and let each piece carry the tune you wish it to!
I have a $10 charm/ necklace pendant I bought in New Mexico several years ago that means more to me than
all my other jewelry (minus the engagement ring)- because it has a symbol on it that connects with me deeply.
My jeweler boss on island... would have meant nothing to him.
Jewelweed and IB designs (who owners design all their own jewelery) are hands down my favorite. The owner of IB does incredible chaney pieces, a braclet from there may be expensive but it will way down your arm with the amount of gold he uses as well. If you appreciate orginal work and gems Jewelweed is incredible, I have filled up a good size jewelery box from there. Anita (the owner) will help out the jewelery addicts and let you buy a piece over 3 months.
PS Art Thursday is tomorrow for my fellow addicts in STX.
Great minds think alike!!! For those of you who are new to the Island - Waylen and IB are one and the same. Jewelweed is another classy original, I find Brian and Sonya's to both be a little tourist trappy. A bit same-o!
I wonder if hypnosis by internet works? Betty, you are feeling sleepy. You are going to Jewelweed to buy Jane a pressy!
STOP!! I Know it's 1 year & 9 months but it's never to late and You don't have to make up a story...I just returned from Little Cayman Were I and Several Dentists Wives me to Scuba Dive & Fish for 8 days! Well several wives were wearing the hook bracelets you're referring to they purchase there's in St. Croix from the designer Sonya who is the original St. Croix hook bracelet...her web site is sonyaltd.com and you will get the history from their as she was a gypsy women who feel in love and this bracelet is her legacy to her love! Good Luck