From Lost Ships to Luxury: A Gypsy Adventure in Jewelry by Wendy Mignot - 30A


From Lost Ships to Luxury: A Gypsy Adventure in Jewelry by Wendy Mignot

By: Martin Liptrot | Posted Dec 1, 2023

When you are sitting in traffic, rushing to a meeting, or dealing with the banal and mundane matters of modern life, you can be forgiven for dreaming of a more carefree, nomadic lifestyle. When that wanderlust takes you to sheltered bays, coral reefs, and deserted beaches, this lifestyle has an even greater romantic appeal.

Sailing their boat, The Maryvonne, Wendy and Jean-Noel Mignot have embraced that gypsy vibe entirely: riding the waves, living among the marine life, and teaching the ropes to their children, Violeta and Zakary.

Wendy has also incorporated the lessons of travel into her business.

“My husband, Jean-Noel, and I loved our vagabond lifestyle living on a boat,” Wendy told me. “Our family was lucky to experience a beautiful life, learning the ways of the ocean and starting this gypsy lifestyle of travels and adventure, which gave us the inspiration to create our jewelry.”

Photo credit: Credit Dawn Chapman Whitty

Wendy’s creations, especially her iconic leather and pearls pieces, are both timeless and stylish, suitable for casual wear at the beach or dressed up for the red carpet.

According to Wendy, pearls represent the power to heal the body, mind, and soul. “They are full of energy and remind us to be resilient and fearless.”

Wendy’s collection also includes pieces that have a history to them too.

The Caribbean islands and the reefs and sand bars off the coast of South America have been the ruin of many a ship.

Spanish galleons, loaded with silver and gold from the Spanish Main, were frequent victims not just to the rocks and formidable tides of the region, but to the wants and desires of the numerous pirates, buccaneers, and corsairs who plundered these waters.

Perhaps the most famous of these shipwrecks was the Concepcion, lost in 1641 with an estimated 100 tons of gold and silver on board.

The Concepcion was the lead ship in a 21-strong fleet that floundered in a hurricane, with the loss of 300 lives. With few survivors, the exact whereabouts of the sunken treasure remained a mystery for centuries. Even when William Phipps, a New England adventurer, discovered some of the lost booty in 1687, he was unable to accurately position the find for future explorers.

Fast forward to the 1970s, and U.S. treasure hunter and salvage diver Burt Webber Jr. and shipwreck historian Jack Haskins teamed up and sunk their life savings into finding the missing gold and silver, with little initial luck.

Then, their fortunes changed. British researcher Peter Earles told them of a trove of papers that had been recovered from the previous attempt to find the Concepcion.

Buried in a stack of papers in a UK museum were the lost logs of Phipps’s salvage ship. Hidden in her time-worn pages were entries that narrowed the search field dramatically, and finally, in 1978, the duo recovered a haul of coins and doubloons.

Some of those coins are featured in Wendy’s Gypsy and Pirates collection.

“Being able to hold a piece of history in your hands is an amazing feeling,” she said.

“We have worked with a specific coin specialist for more than two decades. He has a vast collection of unique and sought-after pieces. The Concepcion provided us with some beautiful pieces. We were thrilled to be able to add that richness to our brand and collection.”

Wendy said she and her family design their jewelry with adventurers, travelers, and beach lovers in mind. Stories of sunken ships, pirate gold, and long-lost treasure only add to the thrilling narrative of the collection.

“We are a family of avid travelers but live our land-based life on Florida’s Emerald Coast,” explained Wendy. “Our signature pearl and leather jewelry resonates with the natural beauty here on 30A. The pieces have become special, and people cherish and connect them to the memories they have created in our community.”

“Now, we also find that pieces incorporating treasure, special gemstones, and mixed metals are a great addition to our collection.”

Spanish treasure, ancient gold, and silver coins, stories of fortunes lost and found – it all adds another chapter to the gypsy adventure Wendy and her family continue to enjoy.

To view Wendy’s collection, visit her website











Sign up for 30A's FREE email newsletter

Invalid email address
You can unsubscribe at any time.
Martin Liptrot is British but has lived along 30A since 2004. After a global career in advertising he has now made NorthWest Florida his home and runs local PR and Marketing Agency Martin’s passions include Soccer, Cricket, Rugby, Formula One and Horse Racing. He is a fan of craft beers and fine wines and enjoys good company and long lazy lunches in any of the spectacular restaurants on 30A.