Like memories of your favorite vacation or weekend at the beach, FantaSea Jewelry is a piece of the Caribbean islands to keep with you always. Shimmering metals and uniquely organic gemstones serve as wearable representations of the beauty around us. We are truly blessed to live in the beautiful Caribbean, in the US Virgin Islands.
The inspiration behind the FantaSea Jewelry line should be easy to see! It is the stunning, natural beauty that surrounds us here on the island of St. Croix. Elegantly flowing designs are inspired by the movement of nature. Allow yourself to be lapped by waves of shimmering metal and exhilarated by gemstone spray. We share our islands and waters with some incredible creatures, like the gentle sea turtles, playful seahorse or the more elusive octopus, to whom we pay tribute in our “Under the Sea” collection. Shimmering swirls reflect the waves of the infinite ocean, spirals and shapes are reminiscent of the ancient petroglyphs. You’ll also find dragonflies, birds and Caribbean flowers depicted in our work, as our beautiful habitat both inspires and energizes us, feeding our creativity and invigorating our souls. We love what we do and where we live, we are truly blessed to live in the beautiful, whimsical Caribbean, where we draw much of our inspiration from. The sea, the sky and the earth are limitless and awe-inspiring. We are fortunate to live this life, to create beautiful things and make our passion our living!
FantaSea Jewelry was created in 2009 by Liz Tylecki-Kuniej. After a spiritual encounter with a sea turtle in Hawaii, Liz decided to move to the Caribbean and start a new life. Her jewelry endeavor started with beading, making braided hemp turtle necklaces and moved on to wax carving, metalsmithing and eventually CAD jewelry design. What started as a part time hobby doing local art shows and vendor fairs quickly turned into a full time business selling to all of the wonderful visitors the island of St. Croix on the cruise ship circuit and online via Etsy. The unique style and whimsical representations of the beauty of the islands has made it a popular line with locals and visitors alike. The FantaSea Jewelry collections continue to grow and evolve with new inspiration all the time.
Nicole is Liz’s partner in business, joining FantaSea in 2014 and has helped to take FantaSea to the next level. Having run her own retail fine jewelry store for 7 years on St. Croix, she holds many G.I.A. (Gemological Institute of America) certifications including the Accredited Jewelry Professional (A.J.P.) certificate, Graduate Diamonds and Graduate Colored Stones diplomas, and is a highly skilled jeweler who has been making and selling fine jewelry for over 17 years. Nicole works primarily in diamonds, genuine gemstones and precious metals such as gold, silver and palladium and has an affinity for unique colored gemstones and gemstone cabochons.
Liz and Nicole met in 2006 while doing volunteer work (in addition to their day jobs) with endangered sea turtles on St. Croix, they bonded instantly due to many similarities and shared interests. The two collaborated from time to time over the years on jewelry projects and each stepped in to help the other when needed. They both still wonder why it took so long to officially join forces! Nicole will be carrying on the FantaSea vision, keeping the business alive and growing, and continuing to produce inspired and meaningful Caribbean jewelry.
Liz was born and raised in Chicago, IL. She began her education in the field of psychology, then changed her major to art, eventually obtaining a BA in art with a concentration in fashion design. After serving a 10 year “career sentence” in the fashion industry in Chicago and then NYC, Liz fell in love with the islands during a vacation, and just had to move here with her fiance at the time, Brad. After 4 months on the island, Liz and Brad decided this would be their permanent residence and got married, bought a condo and never looked back.
Liz passed away in February of this year (2016) after a long battle with a rare auto-immune disease called MCTD (Mixed Connective Tissue Disease). She lived on St. Croix for over ten years. During that time she found her passion in creating beautiful jewelry and founded FantaSea Jewelry, inspired by the ocean, sea life and endangered sea turtles in particular. Liz worked in sea turtle conservation efforts as well as donating her jewelry to causes such as ocean conservation, the American Cancer Society and local animal rescue and welfare organizations. She was also a strong advocate for autoimmune disease awareness and went before the legislature on St. Croix to speak on the need for better health care for individuals living with autoimmune diseases in the Virgin Islands.
Liz’s passion, work and legacy as a jeweler will live on through FantaSea Jewelry and we will be producing some more of Liz’s works that were in progress, over the coming months and continue her established design collections.