July 24, 2014

A New Appreciation for Handmade Jewelry

Nina Designs carries an extensive variety of sterling silver, bronze, and gold charms, pendants, and findings. The majority of our jewelry making supplies are made by skilled silversmiths in both Bali and Thailand, and are either handmade or cast and finished by hand. Every piece has a great deal of work put into it, and production is at a very large volume to keep up with demand. Staff members at Nina Designs were given the opportunity to take a metals class at a local art studio in Oakland, California, Studio One, to see what the process was all about, and to try and re-create some of the same techniques used to make our jewelry components.

All of the Nina Designs employees have a love for either making jewelry, or wearing it, so an opportunity to get our hands dirty and create our own pieces from start to finish was quite appealing! The metal-smith class many of us enrolled in covered all the basics in how to work with metal and make jewelry; soldering, sawing, stone-setting, etching, polishing, and more. Within the first hour of our first class, I remember getting familiar with a jeweler’s saw when cutting out ring bands, and also breaking handfuls of blades before making a single, straight cut. Our teacher, Anthony, said it was normal, and an initiation of sorts, to break and re-string blade after blade your first time. It didn’t make it any easier, but once your first piece was done, your pride showed when you could sport your new ring.

As the weeks pass, you feel more comfortable, and the skill sets you gain stack up, as well as your collection of new things to wear! You do run over quite a few speed bumps along the way, and it can get discouraging when a vision in your head doesn’t make it’s way into a finished physical piece, but when you problem solve, practice, and learn from mishaps, you can make some beautiful and unique pieces of jewelry!

Here are some of the techniques worked on in class, and the beautiful pieces produced as a result of gaining new jewelry-making skills:

In-class action shots from the metal lab at Studio One


After lots of practice with saws and saw blades, the cutting possibilities are endless!

saw cutting

Adding texture with different sized and shaped hammers: loud, but beautiful!

hammer finish

Making and adding rivets is functional while adding interest and detail


Setting beautiful stones to make stunning, one of a kind rings!

stone setting

More creative work from the ladies at Nina Designs


Marcy, one of our designers, even made her own wedding bands in the class!


Our staff is so creative, and I’m so impressed with everyone’s eye for detail, and making their jewelry dreams a reality! Along with gaining new skills, the class gave us all a new perspective on the time and effort that it takes to make beautiful jewelery, and even more so, a serious appreciation for our talented silversmiths in Bali and Thailand. They produce consistent, high quality work, and in large volume. I know I wouldn’t be able to keep up with demand, or make two pieces that looked identical! Here is what some of the Nina Designs ladies had to say in regards to what they took away from the class:

“After cutting out and filing my small oval silver button, I grabbed a torch to heat it up and soften the metal before hammering.  Lo and behold, my button turned into a small puddle of silver right before my eyes!  This class increased the huge amount of respect I have for our skilled silversmiths, and I can finally appreciate why the smaller version of an item often costs more than the original larger version!” – Leah, Vice President

“Taking the metal-smith class has given me a deep appreciation of the work our silver smiths put into all of our Nina Designs components.  I have a lot of fun cutting, filing, soldering, setting and polishing, but I easily spent three hours or more on one piece of jewelry.  I now see what our silver smiths go through, and it takes a lot of skill to assemble little components.  Seeing Nina Designs’ consistency from piece to piece is amazing!” – Veronica, Customer Service Manager

“While taking the metal jewelry class at Studio One in Berkeley, it became abundantly clear how difficult the metalworking process is and how incredibly skilled our metal-smiths are at Nina Designs. After the experience, I have an even greater respect for their work and process.” – Signe, Customer Service

All of us encourage you to take a class at a local studio if you haven’t tried your hand at it already, and broaden your creative horizon with new and fun ways to make jewelry. Who knows, you may find yourself addicted to metals, and wanting to take your career in a entirely new direction! Have you ever taken a class? What have you learned from working as a metal-smith? Share with us your experience!

July 17, 2014

Explore the Trend :: Talisman Jewelry

Bring the magic and mystical Talisman jewelry trend to life with our selection of gold and silver charms and jewelry findings.  Finished jewelry design inspiration and a specially curated collection of Talisman jewelry supplies will help you create pieces to fit this popular jewelry trend!

Get inspired by some of our Talisman Jewelry Design Ideas, and be a part of the trend!

talisman trend blog

Talisman Jewelry Tips:

  • Meld Rustic Finishes
  • Amalgamate Earth Tones & Textures
  • Embrace Your Inner Goddess
  • Covet Earthly, Celestial, & Animal Elements
  • Choose Protective or Mystical Talisman

Browse and shop our specially curated Talisman Collection now!

July 9, 2014

Designs to Inspire : Bronze Spike Charms

Add a little modern edge to your jewelry designs with our selection of bronze, gold, and silver charms and jewelry findings.  Finished jewelry design inspiration and fun, sleek, and modern jewelry supplies will have you wearing this fashionable jewelry trend all the time!

spikesOur spike collection, sold exclusively in bronze, is both affordable, and sure to make a statement. These contemporary spike accents can easily be strung onto chain or earring wires on their own for a simple and clean look, or stack and string multiples for an edgy statement piece.



Have fun mixing and matching these spike charms and dangles, in multiple finishes, and create your own fashionable and trendy jewelry designs. Shop this collection now!

July 3, 2014

How-To Video :: Make Leather Tassels

Leather strips and cord used for jewelry pair perfectly with  jewelry charms, no matter their finish; gold or bronze charms on leather feel warm and rich, and silver charms with leather are cool and chic.

We have a wide selection of leather for jewelry and have used our deer hide leather in a variety of finished jewelry designs. Recently, we tried something new, leather tassels!

As many of you have probably seen in magazines and blogs, leather tassels are a hot jewelry trend for summer. This technique is easy to achieve! Be part of this cheery trend by adding colorful leather tassels to earrings, bracelets and necklaces.

tassel blog


Watch our video and learn this technique today! In no time, you’ll be making your own tassels!

Shop our leather today, and browse the rainbow of colors to choose from! We offer the leather findings and components you’ll need to create tassels and all sorts of fabulous leather jewelry!

Spend some time browsing our leather design ideas for more ways to incorporate leather into your designs.

Will you be adding some colorful tassels to your designs?

June 25, 2014

Jewelry Inspiration at the End of the World

Filed under: Behind the Scenes,Inspiration — Tags: , @ 10:41 am

Jewelry Designers, like artists of all stripes, draw inspiration from many sources but every once in awhile, you need to “top up” your creative reserve. Nature and travel are the most reliable sources of inspiration for me. Luckily, I was able to indulge in both on my recent trip to Spain. With six other women, I hiked 100k on the Camino de Finisterre, a pilgrims’ path dating back to the Middle Ages. We walked from Santiago de Campostela to Finesterre and then up the coast to Muxia. The trip was a blur of wild flowers, Roman Bridges and windswept coastlines. We traveled through the part of Spain just above Portugal called Galicia, with its own language, Gallego, a lilting blend of Spanish and Portuguese. The people were lovely and the food outstanding. Most of the meals were sourced from local farms and fisherman with home made cheeses, copious seafood and fabulous local wines.


Galicia was originally settled by Celts and there are still echos of Celtic culture in their local traditions and architecture. One example is the Queimada, a flaming cauldron of fruit and alcohol that is believed to cleanse the soul and chase off evil spirits. According to legend St. James brought Christianity to Galicia and was buried there after he was beheaded in Jerusalem in 44AD. Tradition says he is buried in the Cathedral at Santiago de Campostela, which became a pilgrimage site in the early Middle Ages. Many pilgrims continued on to Finisterre (End of the World) for their first glimpse of the Ocean, at the Westernmost point of Europe. Leaning into the wind, gazing at the limitless sea, it is easy to imagine you are teetering on the edge of the ultimate abyss.


I hope I can return to hike the full Camino. In the meantime, I brought home a full heart and many small details to fuel jewelry designs to come: The faceted cut of a candelabra,  the iron work on an ancient convent door,  the texture of moss on hand carved rock and the intricate pattern of lace woven by two ladies in a tin trailer at the end of the world.

June 17, 2014

Explore the Trend :: Geometric Jewelry

Bring the Geometric Jewelry trend to life with our selection of gold and silver charms and jewelry findings.  Finished jewelry design inspiration and a specially curated collection of  Geometric jewelry supplies will help you achieve this popular jewelry trend in no time!

Get inspired by some of our Geometric Jewelry Design Ideas, and be a part of the trend!


Geometric Jewelry Tips:

  • Mixing Metal Finishes Adds Contrast
  • Play with Architectural Shapes and Lines
  • Repetitive Patterns Build Strong Statements

Browse and shop our specially curated Geometric Collection now!


June 10, 2014

New Styles :: Silver Stacking Rings

Nina Designs is always striving to bring you a variety of silver, gold, and bronze charms, as well as other fine jewelry findings and jewelry supplies. In addition to jewelry making supplies for your own jewelry designs, we sell ready-to-wear beauties that make great gifts, and treats for yourself! These sterling silver stacking rings just arrived, and are perfect for adorning any and every finger. Simple and streamline if worn alone, or get creative, and try your own stacked combinations for a more dramatic statement and look.

stacking rings

ring combos

These small and simple wire finger rings are perfect for everyday wear. A thoughtful gift for friends and family, something to wear yourself, or even perfect for brides and bridesmaids!

wire rings

Don’t forget about our popular adjustable sterling silver rings! We have a handful of gorgeous rings to fit any style, and any finger.

adjustable rings

Shop all of our ready-to-wear finger rings now fora beautiful addition to your jewelry collection, and a wonderful keepsake for someone you care about!

June 2, 2014

Recent Price Adjustment :: May 2014

We are proud to be your wholesale and retail jewelry supply company and will continue to produce high quality original jewelry designs. Nina Designs has been in the jewelry business for over 30 years and has weathered many storms in the tumultuous precious metals market.

We had a price adjustment on May 23, 2014. Since silver prices have declined, some of our items had price decreases. Others had price increases because of escalating labor costs and new import duties. As always, we work hard to give you the best deals possible while maintaining our commitment to quality, innovation and fair trade.


Please feel free to contact us with any questions. 1-800-336-6462 or Nina@NinaDesigns.com

The U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is a program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing duty-free entry for items from designated beneficiary countries and territories.  On July 31, 2013 the GSP expired and our government has not yet taken action to renew it. Many of our items that were previously imported duty free are now subject to import duties ranging from 5% to 13.5%.  We have raised prices to partially cover the additional import duties.  If and when Congress restores the GSP, we will lower prices on all affected items. You can read more about the GSP here.

We appreciate each and every customer very much. Thank you for your continued support!

May 27, 2014

Natural Bronze & Gold Filled Findings :: The Perfect Pair!

Our beautiful, high quality jewelry charms and jewelry parts come in multiple finishes to fit everyone’s tastes! The warm tones in our natural bronze charms and pendants make gorgeous finished jewelery, are becoming more and more popular, and are more affordable than our sterling silver!

We’ve gotten questions on what types of findings to finish your jewelry work best with our natural bronze finish charms and pendants, and are here to give you the answers! With similar warm, and soft gold tones and color, gold-filled findings make for a great match with any of our natural bronze pieces.

bronze and gold fill

Finish your jewelry with any of our 14K gold-filled chains, clasps, earring tops, and more! Shop findings to match our natural bronze collection here.

May 23, 2014

New Styles :: Silver Charm Links for Your Jewelry Designs!

Our new sterling silver charm links are the perfect pieces to make easy, personalized jewelry designs. Some of our most popular silver charms have now been turned into pretty little links for all of your jewelry making projects!

These small charms have jump rings on either side, and make quick and easy necklaces and bracelets. All you have to do is attach chain, leather cord, or silk cord to either end, and voila! Finish with a closure or clasp, and you have the perfect piece for you or a friend.


Out adorable alphabet links allow for even more personalization in necklace and bracelet designs! Link multiples together to form initials or a short word, or pair with our other charm links for your own unique look.

bracelet links

These links are guaranteed to please, and will make thoughtful gifts for all of your friends or loved ones. Shop all of our new styles now for the perfect links and charms for all of your jewelry designs!

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