Feature
Egbert Hamilton of Alabaster Stone Craft (right), shows some of his alabaster eggs to Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, at the Eighth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference, held at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston, from June 16 to 20. The conference included a marketplace where local entrepreneurs and businesses could showcase their offerings to Jamaicans in the diaspora.
Photo: Dave Reid

Story Highlights

  • Sixty-eight-year-old stone craftsman, Egbert Hamilton, is making international connections through exposure from the Eighth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference, which was held at the Jamaica Conference Centre from June 16 to 20.
  • Mr. Hamilton, who is the founder and sole proprietor of Alabaster Stone Craft, learned of the Jamaica Diaspora Conference through the Social Development Commission (SDC) Local Economic Initiative Support Programme (LEISP).
  • The Commission assisted him and other local entrepreneurs to showcase their products in the Conference’s marketplace at the Jamaica Conference Centre during the conference, which was held under the theme ‘Jamaica and the Diaspora: Building Pathways for Sustainable Development’.

Sixty-eight-year-old stone craftsman, Egbert Hamilton, is making international connections through exposure from the Eighth Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference, which was held at the Jamaica Conference Centre from June 16 to 20.

Mr. Hamilton, who is the founder and sole proprietor of Alabaster Stone Craft, learned of the Jamaica Diaspora Conference through the Social Development Commission (SDC) Local Economic Initiative Support Programme (LEISP).

The Commission assisted him and other local entrepreneurs to showcase their products in the Conference’s marketplace at the Jamaica Conference Centre during the conference, which was held under the theme ‘Jamaica and the Diaspora: Building Pathways for Sustainable Development’.

“I got a lot of interest being there. I have [business] cards from persons in America and Canada who want to sell my pieces over there,” he tells JIS News.

Mr. Hamilton says his booth was highly trafficked and he made numerous sales to both local and international attendees.

His pieces ranged from small turtle and starfish ornaments and ash trays to cups and saucers, bookends and centrepieces that capture various aspects of nature and themes from Jamaica’s rich historical background.

Mr. Hamilton, a self-taught craftsman, says he stumbled upon alabaster in the hills of Bull Bay, St. Thomas, in 1969 while sourcing coconut shells, bamboo and Poinciana seeds to make costume jewellery. On making the happy discovery, he has been creating handmade alabaster craft ever since.

He worked on sharpening his skill and expanded the range of items created from alabaster. He has been sharing his knowledge and skill with young men in Trench Town, Kingston, through the assistance of the SDC.

Mr. Hamilton’s creations won him a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Award for Excellence in Handicrafts in 2012.

He has received entrepreneurship training through the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) and has travelled overseas with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB).

Mr. Hamilton tells JIS News that he travelled to multiple cities in the United States of America in 1975 and 1976 and showcased his work in the then popular Florida department store Burdines, now known as Macy’s.

One of his most memorable connections is with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), through which he crafted the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) logo in stone for the ACP-EU Development Programme in 2016.

“A me mek the ACP logo and dem give me a first-class ticket to Brussels and me carry it go present to them,” Mr. Hamilton says.

He later received a grant from the UNDP, which he used to purchase stone-carving equipment to better his craft.

For additional information on Alabaster Stone Craft, interested persons may contact Mr. Hamilton at: stoneboss1950@yahoo.com.