Jamaican Attractions, Jamaican Culture, Jamaican People, Jamaican Products
Greetings from Jamaica, “What a Gwaan?” 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. From the world-renowned Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee to Jamaican Art, Jamaicans take pride in blessing the world with their unique products.
Shopping for exotic Jamaican goods is probably one of the highlights of a day out wherever you are staying on your vacation on the island. While the same goods are crafted and sold regardless of area, there are some unique arts and crafts from one end of the island to the other.
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.
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee
The Blue Mountains of Jamaica are named for the blue mists that continually shroud them. The mountain ranges across the eastern section of Jamaica, 28 miles long and 12 miles wide. The Blue Mountains are some of the highest mountains in the Caribbean, rising to 7,402 feet. Covered with rich soil with excellent drainage, the Blue Mountain region is perfect for growing coffee. The Blue Mountain Coffee in Jamaica is the world’s best and one of the most expensive in the world. Its richness and lack of bitterness make it a commodity that attract people to the island. Although "World's best" is subjective, its unique flavor, strict industry regulations and small amount produced yearly means a flavorful cup of coffee.
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. The area is small compared to other coffee-growing countries.
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee® goes through several processes. After it is reaped, the coffee is pulped and washed and then dried, cured, hulled, and graded by size and separated by density. Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee® is 100% certified by the Jamaica Agricultural Commodities Regulatory Authority (Coffee Division). 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 coming soon on-line at the Jamaica So Nice Shop.
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.
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.
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.
From sculptures and pottery to paintings and intricate works of eclectic 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.
Each artist in Jamaica captures the essence of the country in art pieces that bring tropical charm into the homes and offices of people around the world. Beautiful Jamaican oil paintings can be found in galleries such as the National Gallery of Jamaica and The Art Centre, as well as in craft markets across the island.
National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica, +1 876 922 1561
The Art Centre, 202 Old Hope Road, Kingston, Jamaica, +1 876 927 1608
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. Indigenous Jamaican jewelry is popular with visitors as they reflect the creativity of Jamaicans. Jamaica has talented jewelers who use the island's natural resources to make world-renowned beautiful jewelry.
Jamaican jewelry is not only creative and beautiful, but also environmentally friendly. The jewelry is mainly made from natural resources obtained on the island, such as beads, coconut shells, coral reefs, straws, feathers, buttons, hemps, and seashells. 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.
Metal jewelry is also prevalent in the form of necklaces, pendants, and bracelets usually with a cotton cloth base for adornment. These jewelries are hand-crafted by talented Jamaicans with a keen eye for detail and beauty. Your initials can also be engraved on metal jewelry as a keepsake - memories of Jamaica.
Today, Jamaican jewelry can be had from anywhere in the world - thanks to the power of the internet!
Wood carvings in Jamaica are some of the most exquisite, creative, and detailed art and craft items sold on the island. Jamaica is home to many talented and ingenious artisans, so it’s no wonder the most popular Jamaican souvenirs are wood carvings.
Quality wood carvings are typically made from heavy wood like the Jamaican national wood –the lignum vitae, cedar, mahogany, or dogwood. The items are usually carved into items representative of Jamaican culture such as animals, Rasta symbols, statues, masks, bowls and influential people. The hand-carved wooden sculptures make ideal decorative items for homes and gardens. They are found in craft markets in Kingston, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay.
Handcrafted wood carvings are so popular and well-made that items are sold in high-end stores and quaint beachside shops, as well as the main Negril Craft Market by mountain roadside vendors.
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Jacqueline Cameron is an editor/writer with years of writing experience running the gamut from blogging to reporting. She lives in Kingston, Jamaica and is the chief writer for the Jamaica So Nice Blog. She is a trained engineer and musician and loves to see people transformed through her work.