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FantaSeaJewelry's Shop Announcement

Unique, handcrafted ocean and nature inspired jewelry, rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, pendants and more await you at FantaSea Jewelry. Allow yourself to be lapped by waves of shimmering swirls and exhilarated by gemstone spray. All jewelry items in our shop are Liz's original designs and created on the beautiful little island of St. Croix, in the US Virgin Islands. All gemstone jewelry items are made to order and our production time this time of year is between 2-4 weeks, due to the high influx of orders. Thanks for looking and for making 2012/2013 the best years ever for our little business!

You can enter our shop here: http://www.FantaSeaJewelry.Etsy.com

We are truly blessed to live in the beautiful Caribbean, in the US Virgin Islands. This is where we draw our inspiration from. The sea, the sky and the earth are limitless and awe-inspiring. We are blessed and fortunate to live this life, and make our passion, our art for a living!

At this time I would like to welcome my close friend and one of my first teachers of metalsmithing and jewelry creation, Nicole Gariepy, as our partner in business, head of production and design of FantaSea Jewelry! I also welcome my husband, Brad, to the FantaSea team! He's been involved behind the scenes from day one, and now is 100% involved in the shipping, and business sides of FantaSea Jewelry.

I (Liz) was diagnosed with a connective tissue disorder in January of 2012. This has made running the production side of a hand crafted jewelry business impossible for me. Nicole has stepped in to do all production and design alongside me, and Brad has been there to help me through this difficult time, and it is because of their love and support that we are able to continue creating our inspired art for both our online store and booth at the cruise ship port. I for one, am thankful to have them here alongside me. This partnership will allow for more design and creative time, and expansion of the jewelry line. Welcome, Nicole and Brad! We will continue to build our dream and creative vision together!

Nicole's Story:
Jewelry became my passion the moment I started working at a jewelry store as a part time job in high school. I quickly learned what an exciting and fulfilling career one could attain in the jewelry business and about the many different “facets” of the industry. Having always balanced excellent grades and organization with a flair for the creative, gemology and the business side appealed to me first, but after finishing several GIA gemology courses, and focusing on business and entrepreneurship, I found that I needed more. I decided to enroll in jewelry manufacturing courses as well, after learning the basics and apprenticing with the jewelers at the store I worked in as a teen.

Then in 2002, I opened my own small retail jewelry shop, in the downtown shopping area of Christiansted, St. Croix, specializing in fine quality gemstones and gem-set jewelry. For 7 years I was fortunate enough to sell, create, repair and appraise fine jewelry and quality gems for so many wonderful clients. I loved being able to do what I loved and to make other people happy doing it. In 2009 I closed my doors sadly, as running the business solo had become an overwhelming task, but I was positive and ready for the next adventure!

In my free time, I am heavily involved in the performing arts. Having studied classical ballet, I am a student and a teacher at Pointe Dance Academy, the only classical dance academy on the island, teaching ballet as well as modern and lyrical jazz, and where I am also on the board of directors. Besides dancing, I work in many capacities with the Caribbean Community Theater on St. Croix, as an actor, choreographer, director and AV technician (and volunteer bartender!). I have been on stage in such exciting shows as RENT!, Chicago the Musical, Evita, and many more.

On the side, I somehow find time to dabble in photography and writing – keeping a blog for years before blogging was popular. There is so much art out there, just waiting to be created, and I certainly cannot be expected to express it all with only one medium!

Activism and volunteer work are of utmost importance to me, I feel deeply for those in need and for those who do not have a voice of their own. I need to feel like I am making a difference in the world, regardless of how small it may start out. Past volunteer work includes working with; VICARE (Virgin Islands Community AIDS Research and Education Center), SEA (St. Croix Environmental Association, and Volunteers in Parks with the National Park Service in St. Croix, USVI where I have helped with the Buck Island Sea Turtle Rescue Project working with endangered sea turtles (and how I met Liz!). Currently, I am working with charities working to end violence against women on a local and global level. I have donated many of my jewelry pieces and offered my talents to help in fund-raising for charities such as RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network) and SOAR (Speaking Out About Rape).

I live in a beautiful townhouse condo, high on a hill on the east end of St. Croix with my fiance and rescue dog. Here, we are treated to beautiful sunrises and fiery sunsets – on this beautiful island that serves as much of the inspiration for my art in all its many forms.

Liz and Brad's story:
Born and raised in Chicago, I first studied psychology, then changed my major to art. I eventually got my BA in art with a concentration in fashion design. After serving a 10 year career sentence in the fashion industry in Chicago, and then NYC, I fell in love with the islands during a vacation, and just had to move here with my wonderful fiance at the time, Brad. While working in the local tourism scuba and snorkeling industries, I met a couple of wonderful friends, Nicole being one of which, who both happened to be metalsmiths and jewelers. They taught me the basics and I immediately fell in love with the art of making jewelery. Nicole and I also became instant best friends and spent much time together, working, playing, and volunteering with sea turtles. After 4 months on the island, Brad and I decided this would be our home and got married, bought our first condo and made beautiful St. Croix our happy home.

I've been selling my designs for about 7 years now. What started as a part time hobby doing local art shows and consignment has turned into a full time passion selling to all of the wonderful visitors to this beautiful island on the cruiseship circuit. Last year I learned Jewelry CAD, after 3 semesters of online courses at FIT in NYC. I plan on incorporating this new skill and passion into my work, to create truly original, unique designs with many levels and layers. This will be my new line, Ethereality Jewelry Luxe, and will include wedding sets, engagement and signet rings with beautiful metalwork and gemstones as the centerpieces of these wearable art jewels.

Needless to say, I feel very blessed by the powers that be and try to remember how lucky I am every single day. I'm choosing to look at this new challenge as an opportunity to grow and change in positive ways. Having both my closest friend and soulmate and husband join the team is a dream come true. We can't wait to show you new and exciting art created from our hearts!

I've also been fortunate to have the opportunity to work in ocean conservation here on the island, mostly volunteering with sea turtles. They are what started all of this, as my first designs were inspired by these magnificent beings. You can see some of these in my shop. As mentioned in Nicole's story, this is how we met. Fate at its finest!

We have and will continue to donate our jewelry to fundraisers to support some wonderful causes, as well as volunteering each season with the local sea turtle conservation programs. Just trying to our parts and give a little back to this beautiful world we live in!

All of the gemstones you see in our jewelery were personally hand selected by us, because we saw something beautiful in each and every one. We use recycled and refined sterling silver whenever possible in our designs and gift boxes and tissue paper for packaging is made from recycled materials as well.

If you see something in our shop you love, but would like it set with a different gemstone combination, please contact us as we have so many wonderful gemstones in our collection and if we don't have it we can probably get it for you. We love nothing more than creating a unique, inspired piece for someone that they will treasure always!

All designs are original and copyrighted.

Enter my Etsy shop here: http://www.FantaSeaJewelry.Etsy.com

Like our Facebook page for a first look at new designs and promotions:
http://www.facebook.com/FantaSea.Jewelry.STX

Thank you for your support!

I've been featured on Handmadeology.com!
http://www.handmadeology.com/my-etsy-story-fanta-sea-jewelry/

Check out our Facebook page for new items and promotions:
http://www.facebook.com/Fantasea.Jewelry.STX

Thank you for your support!

Much love from the islands,
~ Nicole, Liz and Brad
*** Please keep in mind that we are shipping from the Caribbean, and although we are part of the US, shipping will still take Longer than shipping stateside and we have no control over this (We wish we did). Please expect First Class delivery to the USA between 4-20 days from the day we shipped your item out, and 2-8 weeks for International, depending on your location and Customs hold ups. We can upgrade your shipping to Express, or Priority, convo us for details and a price quote. Most items are handcrafted at the time of purchase so please expect 2-4 weeks for production. If an item is ready to ship, we will email you and let you know once we receive the order. Thank you!***

This shop accepts Etsy Gift Cards.