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Celebrating Jamaican culture in Galavant jewelry

Published:Sunday | September 7, 2014 | 9:00 AM
Summer Eldemire inside the Old Hospital Park.
Galavant bracelets by Summer Eldemire and Anna Ruth Henriques.
Galavant jewellery
Anna Ruth Henriques at work.
Jewellery by Ruth Ann Henriques.
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Janet  Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

Summer Eldemire is a free-spirited writer and painter studying in New York, United States.  Anna Ruth Henriques is a fine art jewellery designer, painter and author.

These two women are celebrators of the Jamaican culture, having had the opportunity to be born in Jamrock.

"We have fused the fast-paced glamour of the city of New York with the laid-back vibe of our country into a new jewellery collection called Galavant," Eldemire tells Outlook.

Eldemire, whose comic commentaries on Jamaican culture and style can be found at www.foreignconcept.com, has tagged Galavant, 'Rude Gyal Jewelry'.

According to her, the use of the term Rude Gyal is to promote the empowerment of Jamaican women.

"Rude Gyal is more than a catchy phrase, it's a call for all free spirits to live their life free from judgement. We want to encourage women to take the initiative without being afraid to do something a little outside the box," she shared.

Eldemire, who is an intern at fashion label Cushnie et Ochs, says their jewellery is modern, free-spirited and to the point.

"We want to promote Jamaican culture. We want to create something genuinely Jamaican that people can feel proud to show off as their country," she said.

This depiction could also be used to describe her business partner, Henriques, who is also the author and illustrator of The Book of Mechtilde and the founder of the soon to be launched Jamaican Jewish Tours.

Henriques' talent is on show in her paintings exhibited in galleries in the Big Apple. Having lived across the globe, from Tokyo to New York, her inspirations are evident in her work.

"Galavant, to me, is a celebration of the Jamaican

culture. And particularly the parts of culture that we are quick to dismiss, such as our natural dialect, Patois. Instead of celebrating Patois, we are quick to cut it down as an 'improper' and 'broken' language," she stated.

For this woman, whose poetry has awakened the
senses, her latest creation is here to embrace several aspects of the
rich culture Jamaica is known for.

"A culture,
particularly our language which is so quickly put down because it's not
the normal in western culture and what we see on television," Eldemire
chips in.

The two started Galavant last summer, while
Eldemire was an intern of Henriques.

"I had seen
custom bracelets by Hassan Alsaba for customers in Jamaica with Jamaican
phrases, such as 'who jah bless', 'bun Babylon' and 'too bless fi
stress', a reminder to my mother not to worry herself," says
Eldemire.

The idea, she said, was inspired by family
friend Justine Henzell, the creator of the Calabash Literary Festival.
Henzell wears several of the bracelets with personalised
phrases.

"I showed Anna my ideas and, of course, as a
fine jewellery designer she had all the connections in the manufacturing
world," she reveals.

The two women will tell you that
they work together using their jewellery as a vehicle to express the
culture.

In no uncertain words, they have inherited
the natural gift of words and storytelling, incorporating this blessing
with the phrases, Rude Gyal, 'Blessed', 'One Love', 'Skankin', 'Kingston
6', 'Light Up', 'Jah' and 'Walk Good', to their impressive line of
Galavant jewellery.

"We have also just added necklaces
to the line and our designs can be found in Georgia's in New York;
Round Hill, Riu, Staysies at Secrets, Flights of Fantasy, Coyaba, Rock
House, KerryManWoman and Dragon Fly at the cruise ship port in Falmouth,
here in Jamaica.

Galavant is looking to expand to
Europe as well, says the
designers.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com

Photos by Janet Silvera