Though the Leeward Islands all share crystal-blue waters and an unmistakably laidback lifestyle, each one bears its own proud version of the Caribbean tale – often told through the singular wares sold on the island.
Scattered throughout Tradewind Aviation’s shuttle and private charter routes, there are plenty of places from which to bring home a genuine piece of the islands as you travel this season. Sourced from independent artists selling their creations and stylish boutiques, here are eight gift ideas that are uniquely Caribbean:
A Tahitian Pearl Bracelet
Tresors de St. Barth, St. Barth
Tucked into downtown Gustavia, Tresors de St. Barth has offered handmade jewelry crafted from precious materials like rough gemstones, emerald, topaz, fossils, Himalayan turquoise, and meteorites for the last 15 years. The specialty of French-born owner and artisan Ted Deltour, however, is his work with cultured pearls, which are crafted by nature and considered the oldest-known gems in existence.
For those looking for a wearable piece of the island, Deltour recommends his bohemian-chic bracelets that pair Tahitian pearls with quality leather. Custom-made and gender-neutral, these beautiful wrist ornaments are braided in St. Barth’s tradition of nautical knot-tying and feature clasps made from beautiful pebbles that have been rolled smooth over centuries by the Caribbean Sea.
St. Kitts Chocolate Factory, St. Kitts
Due to the umpteen sugar plantation factories that once dotted St. Kitts’ verdant landscape, the island is fondly referred to as Sugar City. Fitting, then, that it’s home to St. Kitts Chocolate Factory — the destination’s first and only producers of luxury chocolates.
For discerning cocoa connoisseurs, this state-of-the-art factory and storefront is not to be missed. Using the world’s finest Belgium chocolate, butter, purées, spices, and nuts, internationally-trained chocolatiers create an array of truffles and chocolate à la milk, dark, and white. Stop in to take a tour while sampling exquisite confections, then try your hand at crafting your own. The helpful staff will even flash freeze your treats to allay their melting.
An Exclusive Mille Miglia Watch
Chopard, St. Barth
Though shoppers may recognize Chopard from their sleek boutiques found worldwide, those who step into the St. Barth location will experience a starkly different version of the jewelry store. Done up in bright, nautical colors and featuring linen upholstery and bleached wood floors, the shop represents the casual-chic island in both its décor and wares.
For a gift bespoke to enthusiasts of this French-Caribbean paradise, the St. Barth Mille Miglia chronograph is an exclusive watch that pays homage to the island — as well as the legendary race which annually took place in Italy between 1927 and 1957. While the front features a classic and elegant timepiece design, the back includes a bright green and blue depiction of the island’s iconic airport.
Perfume and Cologne
Tijon Perfume, St. Martin
Capture the essence of the Caribbean with custom fragrances from Tijon Perfume, a boutique perfumery on St. Martin that blends time-honored practices from Grasse, France with a decidedly tropical slant.
Apart from specializing in small-batch perfumes and colognes formulated from the finest ingredients in the Caribbean and beyond, Tijon is the only known place in the world to invite guests to handcraft three or more of their very own from over 300 unique oils. After donning a lab coat, visitors can mix their favorite fragrances to formulate a signature scent.
Workshops starting at $93
A Crucian Love Knot Bracelet
Crucian Gold, St. Croix
Since 1972, Crucian Gold has produced original handcrafted jewelry imbued with materials and designs representing the splendor of St. Croix. Using shards of porcelain which have been historically scattered throughout the island, the Chaney Collection features remnants skillfully incorporated into one-of-a-kind bracelets, earrings, pendants, money clips, and cufflinks.
Look for their signature Crucian love knot bracelet, created by second-generation jeweler Nathan Bishop and bearing a design that’s rooted in the sailing culture of the Caribbean.
Clifton Estate Rum
L & L Rumshop, Nevis
In Charlestown, just a short walk from the Nevis ferry terminal at Upper Prince William Street, you’ll find the small but well-stocked L & L Rumshop. Though the shop carries myriad options in liquor and tobacco (including Cuban cigars), owner and Caribbean rum expert Mark Theron focuses on one type in particular.
Beside selections of great bottles like Rhum HSE, Rhum Neisson, and Diplomatico, L & L offers Theron’s very own handmade Clifton Estate Rum, an award-winning spiced variety he blends locally in Nevis. A true rum aficionado with an extensive knowledge of his products, Theron lets customers “try before they buy” to discover the perfect rum to suit their palate.
A Cascading Necklace
Mignot St. Barth, St. Barth
Another renowned designer in Gustavia honoring the imperial beauty of the Tahitian pearl is Mignot St. Barth. After falling in love with the island more than a decade ago, owner Yvan Mignot moved his family to St. Barth before creating a jewelry line of bohemian-style bracelets, necklaces, and earrings influenced by the region’s natural splendor.
Making an annual trip to Tahiti’s remote Tuamotu Islands to hand-select a fresh crop of black pearls, Mignot brings back organic treasures to blend into individually crafted pieces that exude luxury without being too flashy. Along with the precious pearls, his creations are often married with leather and infused with components originating from the island, like clay beads, beach pebbles, and sea glass.
St. John Spice, St. John
Give the gift of authentic island flavor with the craft spices from St. John Spice, which features a massive selection of seasonings, mixes, and rubs, as well as a variety of local hot sauces and coffee beans. In addition to their award-winning Cruz Bay Grill Rub — which is made in-house — the iconic spice shop offers a series of signature blends like their proprietary versions of curry powder, ground cumin, and garlic mixed with herbs.