Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer
MANDEVILLE, Manchester:ALISON LEWIS is living her dream of residing in her favourite place on earth, Jamaica, and doing what she loves best, making beautiful jewellery from semi-precious stones.
She was born in Birmingham, England, but came to live in Mandeville, Jamaica when she was nine years old and attended Mandeville All-Age and Manchester High schools.
Lewis returned to the United Kingdom (UK) when she was 15 years old but by then had developed an undying love for the island of Jamaica.
"I fell in love with the people, the beautiful scenery, the mountains and beaches," Lewis said. "My early experience here stood out in my life; I kept it close to my heart."
After returning to the UK where she lived in London, Lewis finished her schooling while working first in the hotel and then the banking industry.
She later made the switch to the education field and taught at Merton College in Surrey while continuing her studies in administrative management.
Lewis explained, "I taught adults there, speakers of English and speakers of other languages, illiterate adults as well. I did that for seven years."
She spent two more years after in the education field, then she decided to return to the place dear to her heart with her family, her husband and two daughters.
Lewis has been back in Jamaica for about two years and has established her handmade jewellery line called Seh. Mi Precious.
Explaining how she got started in the business she said: "It began as a hobby; someone gifted me with a piece of semi-precious jewellery which I really, really liked, so I was prompted by that to make my own."
Defining semi-precious stones, she said, "They are not diamond, or topaz, it is more of a stone than mineral, but they are no less valuable than their precious counterparts.
Added she: "I have started the business two years now. I love earthly things, wood, stones, silver. And I like semi-precious stones because they come from the earth."
Lewis is gifted with the abilty to make awesome creations from these semi-precious stones. She makes necklaces, bracelets, earrings, among other items. She noted that living in the scenic Fairfield mountains in Manchester inspires her creations.
"Everything I see and do, if you notice the colours of the stones, are red, green, all the colours of the earth," she said. "They are sunsets, sunrise, all the colours of the earth are coming through in my work."
She gets the semi-precious stones from all over the world, including Egypt, South Africa and Australia. The wood is from the Philippines where her sister-in-law is from. For the stringy jewels, she uses stainless steel wire to give "lasting durability".
Lewis added, "Every piece of my creations is unique; they might be similar in appearance but never the same. So it gives that personal connection with whoever wears them."
Her 'Seh. Mi Precious' jewellery have become a hit in Mandeville and its environs, and Lewis has plans to introduce them to other parts of the Island.
"The response has been good," Lewis said. "The people are really loving it, the prices are also reasonable from $3,000 upwards, depending on how far I have sourced them from. I will be bringing more variety, introducing the men's collection, so I am really excited about that."