Innovative BVI Jewellery Maker Set for Great Things

Hereditary Ingenuity – Artists’ Corner: Alexandra Victoria Durante

Photography by Rainbow Visions BVI, Provided by Pearls VI

It is evident that the bloodline of renowned BVI artist Lutia ‘Tai’ Durante possesses roots in creativity and talent when reviewing the productions of his daughter Alexandra Victoria Durante (pictured left).

Lutia “tai” Durante, Alex’s father and renowned artist in the BVI. Creative behind paintings in recent BVI publication ‘How to Build a Virgin Islands Sloop: The Story of Sea Moon’

Although deviating from the conventional definition of art and indeed VIPY’s standard Artists’ Corner, Alexandra Durante’s skill requires the same motivating factors of inspiration, imagination and innovation demanded by all creative aptitudes.

The 25 year-old artisan is gifted with the craft of jewellery-making – a skill often misinterpreted due to the assumed implications of its name and further, by nostalgia of children’s jewellery-making kits.

Having been in business as Pearls VI for two years, prior to this, the young entrepreneur was perfecting the art of jewellery-making for four years.

“Growing up in an artistic family, I’d always known I would be working in an artistic field,” said Alex, explaining the impetus in her ambitions. “After visiting Florida a couple years ago, my mother’s friend introduced me to Michael’s. If you aren’t familiar with Michael’s, it’s a huge craft store chain in the US. Anything with the word craft in it and my father and I go nuts…seeing all of the different beads, cords and findings, I’d decided to try my hand at jewellery-making.”

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Clarifying the intricacy involved in jewellery-making by divulging the various methods, mechanics and ‘ingredients’ utilised to manufacture her works, she said: “After almost a year in Florida and many dollars spent on the craft, I had finally settled on pearl jewellery. I wanted to create pieces that are different from your average classic single strand piece and it fascinated me that pearls have been in style for thousands of years.”

Qualifications and credentials are viable options to enhance novelty and technique in the jewellery-making world, but they’re not mandatory, “I didn’t grow up with jewellery-making, however, I did grow up around creativity and that takes a massive part in the jewellery-making process,” said Alex in reference to her self-taught proficiency. “It is helpful to take classes, but this is a career where creativity and talent are more important than schooling…I’m not telling people to dismiss schooling as in any case it helps to further your career and learn new techniques,” she continued. “It’s very rewarding to have certifications in specific fields like Metal Smith or Gemmology. It all depends on what you want to work with and what you’re passionate about.”

As Alex delves further into the jewellery-making profession, she has acquired increased knowledge about the varying degrees and possibilities. “My products are all made by hand…I learn more and more – that helps me with designs, colours, shapes and sizes to create a unique piece of pearl jewellery,” the designer commented. “Each piece of jewellery is made only once or twice meaning every piece is unique. Using contacts that I’ve had for years, I can make real pearl jewellery at lower prices and better quality.”

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For the Christmas season, Alex is optimistic about implementing the knowledge she has gained from her wide travels this summer, directing her education at more elaborate and unique jewellery designs. “After travelling a bit this summer, I met with a jeweller who showed me some new techniques that are only used in that part of the world. Hopefully by Christmas, I will have created the first and only Tortola Black Pearl. I don’t want to go more into depth as this will be a welcoming surprise to my customers and very unique to the BVI. Also this year, I will be introducing many new pieces with more elaborate designs for December.”

Ultimately, Alex is hopeful that Peals VI will be recognised for its beautiful designs, automatically paralleled by their ability to enhance the wearer’s aesthetics.

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Alex concluded, advising people interested in the artistic skill: “All in all I want people to know that jewellery-making is a commitment, especially if you want to make a career out of it…if you don’t like your piece, someone else will. Don’t give up because it isn’t as easy as it looks,” said the enthusiastic business owner. “With jewellery being a staple in all cultures for years, it’s getting harder and harder to create new and fresh ideas, but once you do and can stand by your work proudly, there’s nothing to stop you in a future of jewellery-making.”