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St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Uncommon Buy: The Original Crucian Hook Bracelet

Uncommon Buy: The Original Crucian Hook Bracelet
Buck Island, Summer 2009/Courtesy Deborah Huber

I’m completely naked.

Not now, as far as you know, and not in the photo above either, though that would go a long way toward explaining the pained expression gracing the man in the background.

No, my nakedness is more of a figurative thing. A sad and empty condition of the soul brought on by the haphazard loss over this past weekend of one of my most prized possessions. A piece of jewelry that for me, and just about every Crucian who wears one, signifies the simple, yet magnificent awesomeness of our lickle island; our unique heritage, St. Croix‘s beauty and our home-island pride.

That’s a lot of weight for a simple piece of jewelry, but the original Crucian Hook Bracelet is so much more than its complement of silver and/or gold. No mere accessory, no shiny anonymous something or other worn simply at the whim of some prevailing fashion trend, the Crucian Hook Bracelet is as enduring and beloved a symbol of my home island as has ever existed. EVER.

No doubt, you’ve seen them for sale in different places before, and unfortunately, not just in St. Croix either. Knock-offs and imitations abound throughout the Caribbean, but the original, real deal Crucian Hook Bracelet can only be found in one very special place – #1 Company Street in Christiansted, St. Croix, home of Sonya Ltd, the shoebox-sized jewelry store that bears the name of the legendary woman who created one of St. Croix’s greatest treasures nearly 50 years ago.

As was the case back then, each Crucian Hook Bracelet is still made by hand, a practice that ensures no two bracelets will ever be exactly the same.

The similarities that do exist, however, are more than enough to unite all who wear the iconic bracelets as members of one big global Crucian family. No matter where you go, anywhere in the world, if you see someone wearing one of Sonya’s bracelets, then you know they’re either from St. Croix, used to live in St. Croix, or simply visited and fell in love with St. Croix.

Much like Cruzan Rum, Sonya’s Hook Bracelets help define us as Crucians, effectively carrying the flag for our unique cultural heritage around the world. So simple, yet so elegant, Crucian Hook Bracelets regularly draw interest from uninformed friends and strangers alike, giving us proud Crucians ample opportunities to boast about our home. Clasped tight about any Crucian’s wrist, it is a celebrated circle of pride.

So, how did I lose something so important to me?

Well, I was at the beach near my home in Fort Lauderdale with my kids, messing around in some fairly choppy surf. While tossing one of my kids away from an oncoming wave, my hook got caught in his rash guard, un-clasped, and sank to the murky depths below; lost forever to the sea.

While this might seem a fitting end for this quintessential symbol of my island home, I still left the beach last Sunday feeling sick to my stomach. I can’t remember a day since high school that I haven’t had a Crucian Hook Bracelet on my wrist. That particular one had been with me for the better of those 20+ years, and to me, it was perfect. Remember, no two Crucian Hook Bracelets are exactly alike. Given the option, I would’ve never traded that one.

Thankfully, I’ll be back in St. Croix for my birthday next week.

Guess where I’ll be heading to pick out my present…?

If you’re interested in buying your very own original Crucian Hook Bracelet, but don’t have a trip to St. Croix conveniently scheduled as I do, then visit Sonya Ltd. online. You can place orders there and learn a bit more about Sonya and her legendary products.

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  • Jvbythesea

    Sorry for your loss, but a great read. Glad you’ll get to redeem yourself next week!

  • I’ve been “hooking” since the 90s so I can feel your pain! I thought I lost my Sonya’s hook ring in my car.  I nearly flipped the SUV upside down looking for it. I don’t think I’ve ever spazzed out like that before. Its like, when you wear it, you wear your roots with you… I love ALL my Sonya bracelets!

  • Mimi

    If you wasn’t going home you can always order one via the website. Love the insight and big up on crucians….

  • Deborah

    I am so sorry for your loss…and I completely understand your sentiment that each handmade bracelet is very unique and perfect to each one of us.  I have several and couldn’t imagine trading in any of them…even though it is still Sonya’s policy to allow trade-ups as far as I know.

    My mother’s house was robbed last year…and the ONE thing I wanted after my Dad passed was his STX hook ring he always wore….it was so him that it meant more to me than the gold value…I will fret over that being stolen probably ’till the day I die.  I could easily buy a gold hook ring the same size…but that was HIS….it’s just not the same.  =(

    BTW, if you want to know if you have an authentic Sonya’s piece, it should have a slightly hammered texture on the band itself….the newer pieces also have Sonya’s name stamped on the inside, but the older ones (older than the 90’s) do not. 

  • Paula

    My dad bought my mother one of Sonya’s first hook bracelets the day before they moved from St Croix as a momento.  She wears it everywhere.  My husband bought mine in 2004 when we first started vacationing back on the island.  (he has a hook ring,too)  I have a few more bracelets from Sonya’s from subsequent trips, but that original hook is ‘the special one’ 🙂  I’m SO sorry for your loss and glad you have the opportunity to replace it so soon!  Have a fun trip.

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  • Martino

    Haha everywhere you turn… There’s Glen.

  • Lindermac

    Sorry you lost your bracelet – Happy you’ll be returning to STX for your b’day to replace it. Glad you gave creds to Sonya’s for selling the Original Crucian hook. My husband & I spent 5 glorious years from ’88 to ’92 in C’sted, which is when I bought my, his & our daughter’s Hooks. I also treated my self to a Hugo, Hibiscus and a couple more bracelets from Sonya’s.The story goes that it was designed by George Silva, who’s wife worked at Sonya’s. He was a licensed jeweler and boat pilot (in C’sted Harbor) and my husband worked w/ him when General Offshore was at Ham’s Bluff in F’sted. Reading your story brought back such wonderful memories of living in STX. Thanks.

  • Victoria

    Over the 26 years that I’ve lived here, I’ve owned 3 Sonya hooks. Everytime a good friend or family member would admire my bracelet I’d give it to them and replace mine. I haven’t had one in recent years but when I recieved the current one I’m wearing as a retirement gift I made a pledge to myself to never let this one go!