BATON ROUGE, LA (WVLA/WGMB) – Ana Maria Andricain is a first generation Cuban-American who makes hand-crafted jewelry in Baton Rouge. She said, “The people of Louisiana are so much like Cubans – friends are like family, they celebrate life really well, everything is a party, and the food is great!”

Andricain is certified in Precious Metal Clay. She uses her artistic talents, along with traditional metalsmithing, wire work, and beading to handcraft intricate, custom jewelry.

Ana says she draws her inspiration from nature’s beauty, but it goes much deeper than that.

Ana was born and raised in the Capital City by Zoila and Hugo Andricain. Zoila and Hugo both immigrated to the United States from Cuba in the 1960s before the couple met at the University of Florida. Ana explained, “There aren’t a lot of things from their history because they had to leave everything they had in Cuba, but we had some photographs and little pieces of jewelry, like my rings. My grandmother told me that she sewed them into the lining of her bra to sneak them out. I like to say that I learned about my great grandmother and my grandmother through pieces of jewelry.”

The arts have always held a special place in Ana’s heart, which paved the way for a 25-year career on Broadway in New York City.

During her time backstage of Beauty and the Beast, Ana started making jewelry as a hobby. Other cast members and crew members asked her to make jewelry as gifts. Before she knew it, her hobby became her new career – Jewel of Havana opened in 2006.

Ana spent time commuting back and forth from Baton Rouge to New York City before she decided to move back to the Capital City to be with her husband, her parents, and other family members.

Ana’s jewelry collections are normally nature-inspired, but it’s the people, events, and other moments in her life that spark her creations.

Andricain said, “I’m a breast cancer survivor. I had a collection called “Draped in Love” that came out of that journey. Thirty percent of that goes to the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. When I hit five years cancer free, one of the people that I originally made that collection for past that year. So, I put out that collection in silver in celebration of five years cancer-free. Now I donate the silver Draped in Love collection – it goes to the Dodi Groves Breast Cancer Fund in her honor.”

The “Snow in Havana” collection was inspired by her mother, who came from Cuba to the United States as part of Operation Peter Pan back in the 1960s.

Ana explained, “Many, many thousands of Cuban children came to the United States. This collection, is two-fold – you know it’s never going to snow in Havana, right? It’s about that hope and going to the place where you don’t know what it’s going to be, but snow is very magical – that hope that you’re going to go to a good place and that you’re strong and you can endure.” She wrapped up the explanation of the line as “weathering the storm.”

The “Through the Looking Glass” line was inspired by Ana’s teacup Maltese, Sidney, also known as head of Jewel of Havana’s security department. She explained how she was inspired by seeing the world through Sidney’s eyes.

The “What a Wonderful World” line was inspired by a family trip to the beach after being apart for so long due to COVID-19. Her inspiration for the name of the line came from Louis Armstrong’s song, “What a Wonderful World,” which was the song she was listening to at the time when the idea came to mind. The lapis lazuli and malachite come together to resemble the world and she said, “The jewelry collection reminds us how lucky we are.”

Ana explained, “I always equated these little pieces of jewelry as history and connecting people to the people they love. It’s just like a little carrier of relationship. I love that part of it more than more than just the fashion part. Of course, I want people to feel beautiful in my jewelry, but I like that connection and that that is the story that it carries for people.”

Jewel of Havana will be attending the Baton Rouge Arts Market on Saturday, October 3rd, 2020.

She hosts Havana Happy Hour on the Jewel of Havana Facebook Page with other artists, as well. Customers can join in and purchase items from the artists. The next Havana Happy Hour takes place on Thursday, October 8th, 2020 at 7 P.M. C.D.T..

For more upcoming Jewel of Havana events, click here.