What we enjoy most here at Taste Collection is finding brands and supporting small businesses that offer unique products that wouldn’t normally be available in the NYC area. In a city that seems to have everything, sometimes it is a challenge to find something truly unique to offer our shoppers. This is why we take our time visiting trade shows and travelling far and wide to find quality merchandise that you won’t find anywhere else.
Our latest find, Eccentrics Limited, is a handmade one-of-a-kind jewelry line from the Philippines. Jewelry designer, Juliana “Chickie” Santos Garrett, makes use of carabao horns and other indigenous materials for a bold but elegant line of unique jewelry.
For those unfamiliar (and we’re sure many of you are) on what exactly is a carabao here’s a brief explanation. A carabao is a water buffalo that is endemic to the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries. Because of its hard working nature, the carabao is the perfect farm animal and is used to help farmers transport goods and produce as well as plow their rice fields. Other uses of the animal include harvesting its milk to turn into local sweets and cheese, use of its meat for food and other raw materials to design furniture and even jewelry. But more than just a farm animal, the carabao has become a cultural symbol in the Philippines and was even declared a national animal as a symbol of strength, power, efficiency, perseverance, and hard work.
We sat down with jewelry designer Chickie to find out a little more about her unique line of jewelry and the process that goes into making these one-of-a-kind pieces.
TC: When did you start your business?
Chickie: I started it four years ago after I saw a wonderful lady from South America wearing a carabao horn necklace. I was so inspired and thought why not try my hand at designing my own since carabao’s are native to the Philippines.
TC: How do you get the horns?
Chickie: We source the carabao horns from a slaughter house in Fair View. I am actually upcycling the horns and making something beautiful and useful because after the animal meat is butchered horns are just being burned. With my jewelry line I am putting the otherwise discarded horns into good use. No carabaos were unethically harmed in the making of this jewelry.
TC: How is every piece one-of-a-kind?
Chickie: Each carabao horn is unique in size, color, and over all look so that even if I tried to make exact copies of my pieces and designs it would never be a perfect replica. Each piece is therefore truly unique and I think that adds a little extra character. It’s a great conversation starter!
TC: How do you find inspiration for each piece?
Chickie : It just comes to me. I don’t sketch it out or do art designs. I sit with the pieces in front of me and feel which pieces to select and where to put them – I can’t describe it, it is just instinct.
Come by the shop and have a conversation with designer Chickie about her jewelry line and check out all her intricately crafted pieces at our event on Wednesday June 27th from 4pm – 6pm. We are truly excited to be carrying this unique line of jewelry that showcases Filipino craftsmanship and creativity. Surely not for the faint of heart, but for those with a bolder and more eclectic taste in fashion. Find your one of a kind piece at our Eccentrics Limited in store event. See you there!