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Coquí Taino – Junipurr Jewelry

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New gold jewelry brand evokes the spirit of Puerto Rico

In 2019, two longtime friends, Puerto Rican-born Inés Capo and Istanbul-based Efet Burku Salargil, founded İTÄ Jewelry (the name is a combination of Inés and Äfet). They create jewelry dedicated to various cultural traditions, starting with the folklore of the indigenous Taino people (the collective designation for a number of Arawak tribes that inhabited the islands of Haiti, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, etc. at the time of the discovery of America).

Atabex pendant in 14k gold with enamel, $425

ITÄ’s Encantada collection consists of five distinct lines dedicated to different aspects of the Puerto Rican and Taino heritage. She interprets stories about goddesses, demons and sacred places. The collection is made in Turkey from 14 carat gold, diamonds and colored stones and retails for $400 to $3,500.

“There are many very talented craftsmen who create beautiful works inspired by the petroglyphs of our indigenous ancestors and the flora and fauna of our island,” Capo says. “But I have never seen jewelry that carries meaning. And as someone who has lived on and off the island, I wanted to create something special.”

We asked Kapo to share with us the folklore that inspired some of ITÄ’s most popular lines.


Atabex bracelet in 14-carat gold with blue sapphires, $1550

The Atabex collection is named after the Taino deity Atabey, the ruler of the sun and moon, the goddess of fertility. Decorations are images of the goddess, made in different styles, using colored enamel.

“Atabey is the mother of all Tainos,” Kapo says. “For the ancient Taino culture, the veneration of women is natural and important.”

Performed by ITÄ, an element of ancient culture is present in every piece. “We really wanted to protect her from the evil eye,” Kapo says.

Keko & Kiki

Keko & Kiki Coquí necklace in 14k gold with champagne diamonds, $1350

At first glance, the Keko & Kiki line is a charming tribute to frogs. But these are not just amphibians, but coca frogs, endemic to Puerto Rico. In the ITÄ version, they are lovingly recreated as stud earrings, coca pendants set with pink sapphires and green tsavorites, and macramé bracelets.

¡Buenos Dias!

Earrings ¡Buenos Días! set with cognac diamonds and sapphire, $800 each

Capo describes the line ¡Buenos Días! in one word: happiness.

“This is a true bestseller and also our most trusted Encantada line,” she says.

The sun motif is present throughout the range and is most attractive in various styles of 14k gold earrings set with white, black or cognac diamonds. All ITÄ earrings are sold individually to encourage people to create their own story.


Macu Caribbean «Eye of the Demon» pendant in 14-carat gold with enamel, $550

In the Taino language, «maku» means «big eye» and is associated with the legendary figure Macokael, about whom they say: «He is from unblinking eyes «.

“He didn’t have eyelids, which is very important because he protected the sacred cave from which all the Tainos originated,” Capo says.

When Kapo and Salargil looked at the patterns on the Taíno ceramics, the drawing of the eye caused them the most vivid emotions. One of the reasons for this was that it corresponded to nazar boncuk — Turkish vigilance and protection.

The Macu collection features numerous gemstone pendants in various combinations of colored enamel and gold.


Txirimiri ring in 14k gold with black and white diamond, $2350

According to Capo, the swirling txirimiri motifs are borrowed from petroglyphs found along rivers in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. But the motif denoting the movement of water is also characteristic of other places, such as Greece and Turkey, where Kapo and Salargil spent their time.

“It’s such a versatile symbol, so we made the most of it,” Capo says. By the way, the word «txirimiri» is taken from the Basque language and means «light rain». This collection is a tribute to the Capo family, half of whom are from the Basque Country.

For more information, please visit https://www.jckonline.com/editorial-article/gold-jewelry-evokes-puerto-rico/

Larimar, the blue wonder of the Dominican Republic — RuDom TV

Jewelry with Larimar

Of course, this may be a coincidence, but only here, on the island of Hispaniola, a rare semi-precious mineral is really mined, in the names of which one can hear both a reminder of Atlantis (Atlantic stone, atlantis), and the place of its origin (Haitian or Dominican turquoise), and color sea ​​(dolphin stone). Professional jewelers use another name, geological — blue or pectolite jade, well, for jewelry lovers, there is a commercial name for the stone — larimar.

Esotericists believe that the stone has positive love spells

A bit of history

ornaments, but, with the beginning of the colonization of the island, was forgotten. In 1916, this beautiful mineral was found by the Spanish priest Miguel Loren. His appeal to the government for permission to explore the larimar deposit did not find a response, and this find remained unknown to the general public. Only fifty-eight years later, an unusual stone was accidentally discovered by a local jeweler — Miguel Mundez. In the sample, outwardly resembling turquoise, the experienced eye of a specialist saw a mineral of higher hardness. An examination conducted at the Smithsonian Institution in the USA confirmed the assumption: this is not turquoise, but a new mineral, still unknown to official science — blue pectolite. As a discoverer, Miguel Mundes gives his find the name larimar: «lar» (in honor of his youngest daughter Larisa) and «mar» (from the Spanish «mar» — sea).

What is he like?

Larimar is a rare gem variety of pectolite — a compound of calcium and sodium silicate — with an uneven color of various shades of blue: from pale blue to sky blue with rounded areas of deep blue and blue-green, often with light inclusions. Of particular value is the bottomless blue mineral, called volcanic blue. A very beautiful stone, with a pattern reminiscent of the reflection of the sky and clouds or the glare of the sun in sea water.

How was it formed?

The mineral is of primary igneous origin, formed as a result of volcanic processes in the Miocene, when molten magma, passing through layers of various rocks, absorbed all kinds of chemical compounds. So, impurities of copper, cobalt, vanadium appeared in the composition of larimar, which, most likely, are “responsible” for the unique color of this variety of pectolite. The mineral has a glassy, ​​silky, matte luster, brittle, leaves a white line on a porcelain plate, the Mohs hardness is six.

Where to look?

This natural wonder is mined by handicrafts in the southwestern province of the Dominican Republic — Barahona. Here, in the Sierra de Baoruco (La Sierra de Bahoruco) mountain range, there are narrow mine-burrows, in which manually, without the use of special equipment, workers cut tunnels deep into the mountain with pickaxes.

Larimar mines

When it rains, the dug-out shafts fill with water and there is a risk of landslides. Ten kilometers southwest of the main settlement of the province — the city of Barahona — is the main field of Los Chupaderos (Los Chupaderos). But the most convenient for tourists to visit is a mine near the tiny village of Arroyo (Arroyo), located five kilometers from Quemaito (Quemaito).

Larimar mines

As a result of weathering processes, ancient lavas are destroyed, and the sky-blue pebbles hidden in them are carried by rivers to the sea beaches, so bright larimar pellets can be found here among ordinary gray pebbles. There is no reliable information about the size of the stone reserves yet, but the government of the country is making attempts to conduct geological exploration and mechanize the extraction of blue pectolite.

Larimar mines

How is it used?

Larimar is well polished, most often processed cabochon.

Processing LarimarJewellery with Larimar

It is used to make beautiful, usually single pieces of jewelry.

The fact is that the pattern of a stone, like the pattern of a snowflake, does not repeat itself. Usually the gem is set in silver, but sometimes in yellow and white gold.

Jewelry with Larimar

The disadvantage is that with prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, the amazing color of the larimar begins to fade.

What properties does it have?

The inhabitants of the island believe that this mineral has certain healing properties: it strengthens the immune system, has a good effect on blood pressure and the thyroid gland, helps to survive stress and recover from colds.

Esotericists believe that the stone has a positive love charm, and recommend it, in particular, to young people between the ages of twenty-five and thirty who do not have a family.

There is an opinion that, due to its peculiar pattern and delicate color, the mineral has a calming effect on a person, restores his psyche, is very suitable for people prone to stress, and is recommended for lovers of meditation.

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