Shell necklace souvenir (Trinidad, Cuba)

When you live out of a backpack it’s hard to buy souvenirs, as whatever you buy you commit to carrying around. In a market in Trinidad, I came across some unique hand made jewelry with roses crafted from shells, and forced myself to wait 24 hours to see if I really wanted one. Two days later, they were still on my mind, so I made my way back to the market.

The guy at the booth didn’t remember me, and surprsingly the prices had increased by 30% in 2 days. By then, though, I had convinced myself that I wanted one, so I settled for $15 (down from $18) for a necklace instead of the previously quoted $12. It’s hard to find items that are hand made instead of factory-pressed nowadays, and told me he had copyrighted this technique of making roses out of 18 individual shells. He was a bright enterprising man who spoke Spanish, English, French, and also proudly showed me that he could say the word “shell” in Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean. So I got caught in an experiment in pricing; oh well, I don’t mind giving the extra to support him.

Okay, that’s a lie, the extra $3 does bother me. It’s only $3 to me, but that’s a lot in Cuba. Maybe there’s a lesson in there about grasping opportunities the first time, or at least negotiating harder. But I’ll make my peace with it. Best of luck to him with the shell jewelry business!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *