St. Croix Chaney jewelry is one of Crucian Gold’s trademark designs. Each piece represents a discovered treasure and a hidden story.
These historic shards of porcelain are thought to be remnants of Danish china. You can find them today, scattered on the ground, glinting in the sun all across paths less travelled on St. Croix. These colorful bits of history are left over from island life during the past several hundred years.
It took the inventiveness of children to first make playful use of these discarded remnants. Children would wear the edges down to make coin-shaped pieces used as play money. They creatively combined the words china and money to name these “Chaney”.
As a boy, Brian Bishop was one of these Caribbean children who found value in these treasures. “I remember the girls using them as a token to play hopscotch. A piece was worth more to trade with if the edges had been worn smooth to make a more convincing ‘coin’." Brian began making jewelry from local materials in grade school and by his late teens, he had developed the technique of setting Chaney in a bezel which could be worn as a necklace.
Nathan and Ben Bishop followed in this story, having grown up in and around Christiansted. “I remember after school, traipsing around town on the edges of abandoned lots and the old stream beds in Christiansted looking for bits of color. It was a fun treasure hunt and Dad was always proud if we returned with some interesting pieces. We would also use them at school to trade with the other children for valuables from toys to chewing gum. As we got older, Dad taught my brother Ben and I how to use the grinding wheels to shape and smooth the edges and eventually to set them in silver and gold. “
Today, the Chaney jewelry collection is still a favorite at Crucian Gold. Each piece is handset as pendants, bracelets and earrings.
If you find a little “Chaney” treasure of your own, bring it into Crucian Gold. We would love to help you create a new piece with personal meaning!
If you would like to win a wristful of Crucian history, check out our Chaney contest on Pinterest!
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