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Home Business St. Croix Native Creates Jewelry Brand

St. Croix Native Creates Jewelry Brand

Ephra Graham’s new line of jewelry pays homage to U.S. Virgin Islands’ history. (Submitted photo)

Udall Caribbean, a jewelry brand whose products connect consumers to Caribbean heroes and heroines of the past while celebrating the region’s rich culture and heritage, launched an eBoutique on Sept. 9, allowing customers from around the world to shop its selections.

The company was founded by 38-year-old St. Croix native Ephra Graham in December 2019 and derives its name from St. Croix’s Point Udall – the easternmost point in the United States.

Udall Caribbean pendant bears the likeness of Queen Mary, who was an organizer of the 1878 workers’ rights actions. (Submitted photo)

According to a news release from Graham, Udall Caribbean offers fine heirloom jewelry designed to be passed from one generation to the next. Its flagship collection includes a signet pendant and a pendant inspired by the life of Mary “Queen Mary” Thomas, the former slave famous for leading a labor riot in 1878 against St. Croix’s Danish ruling class that resulted in the burning of Frederiksted, locally hailed as “the Fireburn.” Udall’s items are made in the United States using recycled precious metals – 14 karat gold and 925 sterling silver. The pieces can be purchased separately or as a set with a 16-inch or 18-inch chain.

Graham lives in the Washington, D.C. area and in 2015 earned a master’s degree in business executive management/international entrepreneurship from Bay Atlantic University in Washington, D.C.

Graham said her company began more than eight years ago while visiting family on St. Croix for her 30th birthday in 2012.

“I didn’t know then as I gazed over the waist-high boundary wall of the Point Udall monument, watching the sun rise in the early morning hours of my birthday, that my trip home would be the beginning of something that would change my life forever,” she said in a news release.

Ephra Graham
Ephra Graham

The day before her return to Maryland that year, Graham said, she participated in a field trip to Sandy Point National Refuge with her niece and witnessed a leatherback turtle hatchling “struggling to make its way to the water’s edge.” According to the release, the experience prompted her to learn more about the endangered animals and coral reefs living in St. Croix’s waters. She became alarmed at the possibility that “future generations might not get to experience my home’s spectacular coral reefs and vast marine life.”

She said this was a turning point in her life.

Of her master’s program, Graham said, “I can still remember sitting in my sustainable business class and learning about a new and fascinating way of doing business as I dove deep into case studies about companies like VEJA shoes and tentree – companies determined to do business differently.”

“It got me thinking about what would happen to families, communities and the world if companies stopped focusing only on the ‘bottom line,’ but paid as much attention to their social and environmental impact – the ‘triple bottom line,’” she said.

“It has been my dream to create a highly profitable, socially just and environmentally mindful company that supports the important causes of marine conservation and craftsmanship education in the Caribbean and abroad,” she said.

She also plans for her company to produce a “When We Were Young” podcast, offering in-depth interviews with Caribbean people from all walks of life. The first episode will feature renowned St. Thomas calypsonian, Luis Ible Jr.

More information is available on the company’s website.

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