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The Story of the Steel Pan Bangle

Posted by Khadijah Alexander on

All of my pieces have stories behind them, and many of them pay homage to the West Indian Islands, where I spent my childhood.

The steel pan bangle is one of the most important pieces to me personally. Although I love the motifs of the natural plants and environment of our islands, which are incorporated in many of my handmade jewelry, the steel pan design represents music and art, which are central to Caribbean life.

It is a symbol of our people and our culture, which we created as a disenfranchised people reclaiming and making the islands our own post-slavery. This makes the steel pan jewelry empowering in one of the most important ways: creativity.

The steel pan is a musical instrument originally made from old oil drums. It was invented in Trinidad, and the distinctive sound of a steel pan band has become a symbol around the world of island life.

steel pan band

In 1980, my father moved back to Trinidad from the United States after serving in the Vietnam War. He noticed other jewelry-makers had steel pan earrings and pendants. My dad had the idea to put this design on a bangle, and the Caribbijou steel pan bangle was born!

Today, I carry on the tradition of making steel pan bangles in both silver and gold, in 110 gauge and 150 gauge. I also make hand-braided bangles with this design, as well as earrings and pendants. Recently, my dad made me a steel pan ring. I love this ring so much, I have started re-creating it for my customers.

steel pan jewelry

The steel pan represents something that brings us all together as Island people. It reminds us that we are talented, gifted people, not bound by our past, with massive potential to create our own destinies. I hope that you will also love the steel pan jewelry as much as I do. 

Steel Pan Jewelry

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