Updated: Feb 23
Jamaican Experience; Jamaican Attractions; Jamaican Culture; Jamaican People; Jamaican Artisans; Jamaican Products
Known as the "birthplace of reggae," Jamaica will enchant you with its warm people; enjoyable local dishes; cinematic sunsets; alluring beaches; lush, green mountains; colorful coral reefs; extraordinary products…
There are plenty of reasons to visit Jamaica, and shopping is certainly one of them. The Land of Wood and Water is known for its distinctive culture that can be found nowhere else.
If you cannot visit Jamaica to shop, here are some distinctive products to window shop and buy online from your home.
Remember, even if the same type of item were sold elsewhere in the world, because of the materials and methods used, those crafted in Jamaica are found only on this Caribbean island. While handcrafted goods are sold in many of the duty- and tax-free stores, for the most part beautiful goods are more commonly found in street and beachside shops.
Following are some examples of goods sold in and around Jamaica. In addition to making a great personal purchase, these items are ideal for gift-giving. If you cannot visit Jamaica to shop, here are some distinctive products to window shop and buy online from your home.
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee®
Jamaica is known for its exceptional Blue Mountain Coffee, which is grown in the Blue Mountains, the highest mountains in the Caribbean. Overall, it is one of those things you just must try while in Jamaica! The coffee is grown and harvested in a designated growing region in the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica. Blue Mountain Coffee is grown at elevations above 3,000 ft. in the mountains close to Kingston. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is considered to be among the best of the gourmet coffees in the world. To ensure the quality, the Jamaica Coffee Industry Board set standards for the coffee beans and the processing in order to carry the ‘Blue Mountain Coffee’ label.
What makes Blue Mountain Coffee so special is that it only grows on steep mountainside. The humidity of the mountain range, its favorable drainage and other uncommon conditions produce a denser bean, which equates to better quality. This smooth Arabica coffee of Blue Mountain is sweet toned, easily had without additives, and naturally alkaline. It contains vitamins and nutrients making it beneficial for daily consumption.
Blue Mountain Coffee can be a little pricey, depending on when and where you buy it, but it is one of the most sought-after coffee brands in the world. The coffee is handpicked, and locally roasted, and its creation is part of a very intricate process. Our coffee regulator validates Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee® with a globally recognized certification mark and trademark. So, if your coffee does not have the trademark image on the package, it is not authentic.
Enjoy Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee®, the aroma, the exquisite, distinctive taste which leaves a mellow after-taste and pleasant memories. Jamaica Blue Mountain® coffee is available in supermarkets, cafes and stores across the island and now available in the Jamaica So Nice Shop so you can have this experience right at home with your friends.
Handcrafted jewelry is also popular in Jamaica. As with other handcrafted items, it is common to find various types of jewelry made from or with shells, coral, seeds, metals, fibers, and in some instances, sand particles. These materials are used to make jewelry items such as earrings, bracelets, necklaces, bangles, and rings. This jewelry is popular with tourists as well as Jamaicans. Indigenous Jamaican jewelry is popular with visitors as they reflect the creativity of Jamaicans who use the island's natural resources to make world-renowned beautiful jewelry.
Today, Jamaican jewelry can be had from anywhere in the world - thanks to the power of the internet!
Jewelry Featured in the Jamaica So Nice Shop
FortyFour Miles with Artisan Courtney Morris
The name Jamaica is derived from the original Taino word Xaymaca, meaning “land of wood and water”. So while popular references on Jamaica commonly highlight its culture, music, sports and personalities, Jamaica, as such, is literally defined as its physical and natural resources; everything else came afterwards.
The jewelry featured on the cover photo were made by a Jamaican artisan - Courtney Morris of Fortyfour Miles. The name of the business pays homage to the Black River, which runs for 44 miles before emptying into the Caribbean sea in her home town Black River. Fortyfour Miles values family and community, and is a cottage industry.
When Courtney started jewellery-making, she had no idea of the part it played in the history of her family. She later learnt that her great great grandfather had been a jeweller & metalsmith in the Jamaican town in which her own jewellery business was founded. It seems that things have come full circle and Courtney is proud to be a part of that legacy The ideas for the jewelry pieces came from Courtney Morris’ life experiences, and heavily from the natural environment. She thinks it important that every piece released is something she can be proud of. Morris uses her intuition and the materials that catch her eye to create whimsical, interesting and unique pieces of jewellery that are aimed at making her customers feel special.
Jah Mek Yah with Artisan Dionne Wright
The Doctor Bird Collection
Celebrate the wealth of Jamaica's beauty through earrings, bracelets, and necklaces inspired by Jamaica's national bird, the Doctor Bird, or swallow tail humming bird which lives only in Jamaica. These birds’ beautiful feathers have no counterpart in the entire bird population and they produce iridescent colours characterstic only of that family.
In addition to these beautiful feathers, the mature male has two long tails which stream behind him when he flies. For years the doctor bird has been immortalized in Jamaican folklore and song.
The Doctor Bird Collection is handmade out of hemp and wood; these colorful earrings go from the casual to the formal with ease. Coordinate with the matching Doctor Bird bracelet and for a unique Jamaican look.
The Doctor Bird earrings are available in six color schemes: Wave Yuh Flag (yellow, green and black), One Love Jamaica (red, green and yellow), yellow, red, green and white.
Jamaica has a long and rich history in the production of ceramics. This history can be traced all the way back to the Tainos, who used clay in the manufacture of day-to-day household utensils such as bowls, water jars, griddles on which bammies were baked, ornaments such as pendants, and ritual objects such as Zemis (deities).
This tradition was continued with the arrival of enslaved Africans, who brought with them their own styles and techniques of pottery making. The ceramic traditions of the West Africans endured, and these skills were passed on from generation to generation.
Jamaica has a long and rich history in the production of ceramics. One of Jamaica's most prominent potters coming out of the West African tradition is Cecil Baugh (1908-2005). Baugh's contribution to the world of Jamaican ceramics was so great that he was named as Jamaica's seminal artist-potter of the 20th century.
One unique place to buy pottery is at Wassi Art, this pottery is made by locals using old-fashioned pottery wheels and string. The artisans create one-of-a-kind pieces, each delicately hand painted. Although Wassi Art Pottery is located in Ocho Rios, a two- and one-half-hour drive from Negril, it is a trip worth making to watch artisans at work and purchase impressive items sold. Another beautiful example of this work is Pinto Pottery based at Good Hope in Falmouth. You can even take a class of your own and have both a unique vacation experience and a unique piece of art to show for it.
Artwork and Wood Carvings
From sculptures and pottery to paintings and intricate works of diverse art, Jamaicans express their talents through both traditional and unexpected presentations. While some artists use more contemporary materials, many of the locals depend on materials that come from land and sea. You will find the works of our artists on exhibition throughout the many galleries all across the island. Not to be confined, you’ll find Jamaican art everywhere you look, from street-side murals to inside craft markets and souvenir shops island wide.
Our paintings, sculptures, and pottery are amongst the best in the Caribbean. Our artists work in a variety of styles, techniques, and colors influenced by Africa, Europe, and the Americas, resulting in pieces that are unique and inspiring. In many international collections, you will find the works of Jamaican master artists like Edna Manley, Albert Huie, Cecil Baugh, Kapo, Alvin Marriott, John Dunkley, David Boxer, Barrington Watson, and many others.
We are talented, self-taught creatives and some of us go on to refine our skills at the prestigious Edna Manley College for the Visual Arts in Kingston, the first and only tertiary institution of its kind in the Caribbean.
Wood Carvings including Art Sculptures, along with other Arts and Crafts are definite exports of Jamaica. Jamaican arts and crafts are typically exquisite, thought given, and well cultivated. Millions of dollars each year are spent by the Jamaican tourist industry and by returning emigrants buying arts and crafts.
Early Jamaican Arts & Crafts came from an influence of African, Indian, European and Arawak cultures as a way of using natural resources to enhance living. Craft persons ‘back in the day’ used clays and shells to make utensils and pots to cook, eat, and drink with. So initially the use of Arts and Crafts also served as a lifestyle of living. Using bold and bright colors (another Jamaican culture), Artisans also depicted life and landscape in their crafts to tell stories, which can be seen in paintings, sculpting, fashion and designs and a whole lot more creative mediums.
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An entrepreneur with years of writing experience running the gamut from blogging to project reporting. She lives in Kingston, Jamaica and is the chief writer/editor for the Jamaica So Nice Blog. Jackie represents an e-commerce business called "Jamaica So Nice" which offers authentic Jamaican products. She speaks about it with animation, "I love the experience of living in Jamaica, and I introduce Jamaica to the world through the "Jamaican experience," which is captured in our people, culture, products and attractions."