Typical Art and Jewelry of the Florida Keys

Enjoy and observe how Florida Keys’ arts and crafts range from Kitsch to serious objects.

There are three main ingredients that distinguish arts, crafts, and jewelry typical for the Florida Keys from any other part of the world: vivid colors, seashells, and ancient coins, recovered from the many shipwrecks along the coast.

Use of Shells in the Florida Keys

Shells are of course found in many Oceanside locations all over the world, but Florida art is unthinkable without the decorative powers of seashells. They are often sold just on their own, stored in big bins or boxes like in a place appropriately called “Shell Shack” in Islamorada.

The shells are cleaned, sometimes varnished, and come in many forms, shapes, and sizes. On their own, they are just pretty trinkets to put on shelves or tables as a reminder of a Florida Keys holiday.

Apart from that, shells are painted, sprayed, or lackered and used to embellish boxes, mirror frames, flower pots, and even furniture. Big shell sculptures serve as road signs or indicators for attractions like the pink-lipped upright shell which marks the entrance to the Theatre of the Sea mammal park in Islamorada.

Color and Kitsch in the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys have their very own lifestyle. “Laidback” is a major character and that attitude is reflected in love for color, the more vivid, the better, and with total disregard for possible clashing. The wooden houses, old and new, are painted pastel. Very rarely is there a totally white house insight?

Clothes, often hand-painted, show orange, turquoise, yellow and pink in close vicinity to each other. Nobody would dream of eating from a plain, white plate or drinking out of transparent, boring glass.

The same goes for any imaginable kind of ornament. Mirrors, if not adorned with shells, have frames of gold-sprayed, forged iron, parrots are wind chimes, frogs are door stoppers, pelicans serve as garden gnomes, palm trees as aprons – in short – the choice is endless.

Ancient Coins in Florida Jewelry

The pieces adorned with or made of ancient coins are beautiful but expensive. A typical Islamorada jewelry store that specializes in that kind of jewelry is the blue marlin. The coins, recovered from shipwrecks and sunken smuggler boats which abound in South Florida waters, are most beautiful when set in gold and worn as a pendant.

For the smaller budget, there is always the gold or silver pendant which comes in many sizes and depicts 0 Mile as the final point of US1, which connects Miami with Key West, running over 42 bridges in its trajectory and counting down the miles from 159 in Miami to 0 in Key West.

There is a souvenir to remember a happy Florida Keys Holiday by which suits every budget and each is an authentic piece of art that reflects the unique quality and style of South Florida art and crafts.

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