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Montauk designer Olesya Shayda makes jewelry from local seashells. With the help of her Pomeranian Teddy, of course. (Photo credit: Javier Guerrero)

It’s hard to argue the fact that the beach is one of the biggest draws for people here on the South Fork.

Shayda gathers shells from East End beaches, specifically from Montauk and Sag Harbor, for her jewelry. (Photo credit: Javier Guerrero)

For the last, oh let’s just say, century or so now artists from all walks of life are continually inspired by the beaches and water on the East End. We come from water, after all. It makes sense.

Such was the case for designer Olesya Shayda, who launched her new jewelry and accessories business, Shells and Roses, this past July. Named for her love of the beach and flowers, Shells and Roses embodies the two prominent sides of Shayda’s personality: the beach bum and the girly girl. “I want my brand to embody both of these sides through effortless and feminine pieces you can wear out in the water as well as to a nice dinner,” she says.

Born in Ukraine, she’s been an East Ender since elementary school, eventually settling in Montauk.

“I lived on the East End for most of my life and after bouncing around between New York City, Long Island and Mexico, my husband and I were most attracted to Montauk,” she says. “We love the beach and a slow-living lifestyle. It just has this laid back and easy-going beach town vibe.”

Pieces include handmade bracelets, rings, necklaces, anklets and cellphone cases. (Photo credit: Javier Guerrero)

Originally going to school for fashion design, Shayda ended up, just as so many people do, putting the dreams on hold and dabbling in several different professions. Those mainly included event planning, content creation and retail. Although she was busily working in other fields, designing was always on the brain.

“I always wanted to get back to designing and starting my own line or business, but the timing never seemed right,” she says.

After leaving her position at LoveShackFancy in Southampton, Shayda spent this past winter exploring different beach towns on the west coast of Mexico, eventually re-gaining inspiration there. After playing around with a few design ideas and crafting a tentative business plan, Shayda returned to Montauk full of momentum.

“That’s when it really hit me,” she says, “. . . and I just thought, ‘If not now, when?’”

Knowing her brand was going to be based around a beach lifestyle, specifically beach shells she would find on her daily beach walks, she was able to get a few base jewelry pieces ready and create her own website and social media pages.

Jewelry from Shells and Roses includes rings, bracelets, anklets and necklaces. Handwoven La Paz handbags, mosaic cellphone cases for all models and several different style hats are also available. Prices range from $20 to $200 and are available here.

Shayda also designs handwoven bags that are produced in Turkey.(Photo credit: Olesya Shayda)

Typically hunting for shells around Montauk’s Mermaid Beach, plus beaches located throughout Sag Harbor, Shayda specifically searches for False Angelwing, Quahog, and scallop shells. She works out of her home, with her Pomeranian Teddy taking up residence as her office-mate. Husband, Javier Guerrero, is her sometime photographer.

Her process is simple, with a constant effort to highlight the natural beauty of the pieces that she finds. “This could be with shells I find or other parts like beads or gold that I get from other artisans, locally or internationally,” she says of forming the jewelry pieces. “I love working with my hands whether it’s sewing or putting together a bracelet. I will rarely draw or sketch, I just go for it and start making variations until I’m happy with one.”

Presently, items are available for sale online only. Be sure to check out their Instagram page here.