October 6, 2016

How to Grow Your Jewelry Business with Kiva O% Interest Loans

Have you ever had to wait to purchase more inventory, or delay working on a new order, because you were waiting for a payment to come through? Cash-flow is always a challenge for entrepreneurs, and Kiva is here to help.

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Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco, with a mission to connect people through funding to alleviate poverty. Kiva U.S. provides 0% interest loans to small business owners all over the United States. The loans are crowdfunded on the Kiva website by lenders from all over the world. It was originally launched as a pilot in November 2011 under the name Kiva Zip, and was integrated with the main Kiva platform in June 2016. To date, Kiva has lent over $850 million dollars to over 1.5 million entrepreneurs around the world through a global network of over a million lenders.  Learn more about Kiva here.

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Kiva is for any entrepreneur who can use a 0% interest loan to help take his or her business to the next level.  “Because we don’t look at extensive financial data about you or your business, it’s our hope that we accept everyone that’s serious about their business and our crowdfunding program.”  Whether you’re in the idea phase, start-up mode, or an established business, Kiva could be a great option for you. Entrepreneurs can raise money for any business purpose – working capital, equipment, inventory, marketing, or project-based investments are all ways you can leverage Kiva to help your business grow.”

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WHY might KIVA be right for YOU?

This is your opportunity to grow your business by accessing this great source of capital at 0% Interest and NO Fees! Get in on the ground floor of this exciting new domestic program.

So what are you waiting for? Apply Today!

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September 26, 2016

Help Us Grow a Forest Garden

As many of you already know, for every order you purchase from Nina Designs, we plant a tree. But did you know that your purchases also help create Forest Gardens?

Since 2012, Nina Designs has partnered with Trees for the Future, a public charity dedicated to ending extreme hunger and poverty across Sub Saharan Africa by revitalizing degraded lands and planting trees through seed distribution and agroforestry training.

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So what is a Forest Garden?

“The Forest Garden Program is a simple, replicable and scalable approach with proven success. By planting specific types of trees and crops in a systematic manner over a four year period, families can change their lives forever. Forest Gardens provide families with sustainable food sources, livestock feed, products to sell, fuel wood and up to a 500% increase in their annual income.”

Key impacts

Forest gardens permanently increase the income of impoverished families by maximizing and diversifying on-farm income sources and products that can be sold throughout the year, while at the same time reducing the risks associated with dependence on one or two crops.

Forest gardens empower hungry families to feed themselves by providing a more balanced and nutritious diet through a diverse food production system which produces fruit and vegetables throughout the year.

Forest gardens revitalize degraded lands and increase productivity of rural landscapes by increasing the soil quality through beneficial tree planting, increasing biodiversity potential and reducing the need for external inputs such as chemicals, fuel wood and animal feed.

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Our partnership with Trees for the Future has multiple benefits: Planting Trees helps to protect the environment, as it offsets the carbon associated with our office operations and the orders we ship out to customers, while Forest Gardens help to preserve traditional livelihoods and cultures for generations.

And your purchases make all of this possible!

THANK YOU for helping make the world a better place for everyone!

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September 12, 2016

Jewelry Trend: Mixed Metal Madness

Mixing Metals is still one of the hottest jewelry trends! The old no-no of mixing metals has lost its power, so throw out all of those old rules: no combining prints, no brown belt with black shoes and no mixing metals!

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At Nina Designs we love to Mix Metals! Just take a peek at all of our Mixed Metal Design Ideas that the Ladies of Nina Designs have created! With our wide variety of finishes it’s hard not to mix and match.

There are so many different finishes to choose from:

Sterling Silver Charms

24K Satin Gold Plated Charms

Natural Bronze Charms

Silver Plated Bronze Charms

24K Gold Plated Bronze Charms

14K Shiny Gold Plated Charms

Black Silver Finish Charms

14K Solid Gold Charms


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And things just got even better! We have created a specially curated Mixed Metal Collection– these Charms, Rings and Pendants feature both Sterling Silver and Natural Bronze in one component! So go ahead and take a peek at one of our best selling pendants the Infinity Heart – a Sterling Silver Heart intertwined with a Bronze Infinity. Or if you want Ready to Wear Jewelry take a peek at our Sterling Silver Rings with Bronze Star and Moon details!


Mixed Metal Jewelry Tips:

-Unexpected metal pairings create striking designs-

-Create patterns and designs by alternating metals-

-Don’t Break your Budget! Use Bronze, Silver Plated Bronze or 24K Gold Plated Bronze-

-Matte or Oxidize Sterling Silver Charms-

-Mix and Match Sterling Silver, 24K Gold Plated and Bronze Rings-

-Mix and Match Sterling Silver, 24K Gold Plated and Bronze Bracelets-


How do you like to Mix it Up?

Share your comments below!



August 29, 2016

Use Fall 2016 Pantone Color Palette for Jewelry Inspiration

Fashion Week is just around the corner, which means you’ll want to pump up the color in your Fall Designs. Design on trend jewelry by using the Pantone Fall 2016 Color Palette! This year’s color spectrum features earth tones and exuberant pops of vibrant color! Everything from clothes, bags, shoes and jewelry will be featuring this exciting selection of colors.

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Nina Designs has everything you need to add these trending colors to your jewelry designs! We carry a wide selection of colorful GemstonesDeer Hide Laces and Tassels! If you’re feeling shy about adding color to your designs, browse through our Tassel Design Ideas and Leather Design Ideas! We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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What colors will you be using this Fall?

Lush Meadow evoking elegance?

Aurora Red exciting and dynamic?

Or Riverside calming, cool and strong?

August 15, 2016

Get Ready to go Back to School with School Spirit Jewelry!

Summer is wrapping up and it is time to go Back to School! But just because Summer is almost over doesn’t mean the fun needs to stop. With a new school year comes a new wardrobe and school supplies! And of course, a new wardrobe must include some fabulous new Jewelry Accessories!

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We’ve put together a Back to School Collection of charms, pendants and tassels for you to create with! Get into the School Spirit by sporting your school mascot, school colors, favorite club or team. Use our Jewelry Tassels as Pom Poms and shop our wide selection of Animal Charms to find your school’s mascot! Or use Stamping Blanks to stamp your school name or slogan – “Go Banana Slugs!”

Putting together a personalized necklace, charm bracelet or pair of earrings is as easy as “1, 2, 3, A, B, C!” Watch this short how-to-video on how to create quick and easy charm necklaces. Make one for yourself, your best friends and your favorite teachers. (Hint: You’ll want to get on their good side!) Mix and match pieces from our Back to School Collection to create one of a kind designs you can wear all year round! Browse our Back to School Design Ideas for some inspiration.

Done with school? That doesn’t mean you have to stop learning! Go ahead and challenge yourself this year by learning new skills. We have How-to Videos for any skill level. And our Classroom is an amazing resource for step-by-step instructions for jewelry projects. We also have you covered when it comes to finished jewelry designs. Browse our Design Ideas and find a project to make your own!

August 8, 2016

What’s that sound? Exploring the Complex Meaning of Ohm

I have chanted Ohm as part of yoga and meditation classes and was familiar with the sound Ohm.  Working at Nina Designs, I see the Ohm symbol regularly as it is offered in many different styles and finishes.  We carry a variety of Ohm charms, pendants, earrings, rings and even one with a diamond.  After admiring so many Ohm pieces, I started to wonder what does the Ohm sound mean and is there any significance to the Ohm symbol.

Ohm is an ancient Sanskrit word that is considered by many Eastern religions as the Primal Sound.  In these religions, it is believed that God created sound first and therefore Ohm is the seed sound of all creation. It is further believed that the Universe, the Gods, and all matter come from the sound Ohm. Therefore, Ohm encompasses everything: the beginning, the middle and the end of all.  It is the past, the present and the future.

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Ohm is considered the most sacred and famous mantra.  Ohm is usually chanted at the beginning and end of most Sanskrit recitations, mantras, prayers, and texts.  In our times, this sacred incantation is also made during meditation and spiritual activities such as yoga. Ohm is believed to have the same frequency as the Universe.  Chanting Ohm can have a physical effect on the body, as it slows the over stimulated nervous system and calms the mind.

Ohm is one of the most important symbols in Hinduism.  Ohm is found as part of the iconography in ancient and medieval era manuscripts, temples, monasteries and spiritual retreats not only in Hinduism, but in Buddhism and Jainism as well.

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The symbol of Ohm consists of 5 parts: 3 curves, 1 semicircle, and 1 dot.

The Unconscious State:  The upper curve represents the state of deep sleep or the unconscious. In this state, the subconscious is shut down and the sleeper does not dream.

The Waking State:  The lower large curve represents the waking state of consciousness, it connects us to our own sense of something greater and is the state of consciousness most humans are in. In this state the consciousness is turned outward and we encounter the world through our five senses.

The Dream State: The Middle curve which lies between the first two curves, represents the dream state. In this state, consciousness is between deep sleep and waking and it is turned within.

Pure Consciousness: The dot or Bindhi signifies the fourth state of consciousness, which is the state of pure consciousness. This is also referred to as “The Absolute State” or “Turiya.” It is a peaceful, quiet state where the consciousness is focused neither inward nor outward.

Illusion/Maya State: The Semicircle that separates the dot from the 3 other curves, represents “Maya” or the Illusions that prevent us from realizing or reaching the highest state of consciousness.

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The Ohm pieces at Nina Designs can be a great support for those on a spiritual path, moving from the unconsciousness to pure consciousness, reminding us to breathe deeply.  I am so excited to start making Ohm jewelry now that I have a better understanding of what Ohm means and symbolizes!  I will definitely start with styles A646, A910, A1190 and see where the inspiration carries me of to.

How about you? Are there any symbols that hold deep, spiritual or personal meaning to you that you like to incorporate into your designs? We’d love to hear about them! Please share your inspirations in the comments section below.

August 1, 2016

Meet our Staff – Say Hello to Marcy!

Who are those fabulous ladies at Nina Designs? What sparks their creativity?

Each month we would like to introduce a different member of our staff to you and let them share their artistic passion and inspiration…in their own words…

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Marcy, Associate Designer

I like to make Talisman Jewelry. I started making jewelry when I was about 10. It was a journey my mom and I started together and we still love to share inspiration and treasures.

I love that jewelry changes how someone feels on the inside and how they are perceived on the outside.

I like to think that someone who wears my jewelry does so because they have a connection with it. I believe that connection has the power to unleash magical qualities in that person. If nothing else, the power to see and appreciate more beauty around them.

Along with jewelry, I do a little bit of painting, collaging, bookmaking and photography. Those were part of my interdisciplinary major in art school. Jewelry has taken over my free time for the most part, but I still like to go back to those crafts and perhaps in the future, one of them will take center stage again.

I think it is important to learn something new when creating. I’m always exploring new techniques, color combinations or different shape combinations. It’s good to keep in mind that an idea doesn’t always work and just because it doesn’t work, it’s still an important part of the process, not lost time. Once you feel free to explore, the inspiration is endless.

I love so many of our pieces that it’s hard to choose my favorites! I love the detail and textures in our cast pieces. I like pairing nature pieces with magical elements and tribal designs. The geometric pieces are fun to use because they are like puzzle pieces. You can arrange them in so many different ways to create interesting relationships between hard lines and curved lines. The relationship between circles and triangles is very interesting and pleasing to my eyes.

I’m currently in love with the following styles: S6011, A1655, A1613, S2989, S2990, S3039S2993, A1553, A1024, P22, A1251, and A1276. And I always come back to our circle links. I love using them to frame charms and gems!  All sizes and finishes!

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July 25, 2016

Summertime Adventures…and Jewelry that Celebrates them!

Filed under: Inspiration — Tags: , , , @ 11:28 am

It’s time to make memories that will last a lifetime and make jewelry that celebrates your adventures.

It’s the middle of Summer – the perfect time to pack up the car and head for the hills. We all need to “unplug” from our phones, computers, tablets and daily grind from time to time and nature is the perfect escape! Many of us have fond childhood memories of going away to summer camp: making new friends and fun crafts, canoeing, swimming and nature hikes, writing letters telling of our adventures… which usually arrived after we got home!

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And who can forget the excitement of sitting around the open campfire at night- singing songs with a guitar, roasting marshmallows, and telling ghost stories….and the challenges of making breakfast in the freezing cold mornings before the fire is lit! And let’s not forget the annoying buzz of the mosquito or the awe of seeing a wild creature up close!

There are so many Beautiful State and National Parks for us to get out and explore. Natural wonders like crystal caves, mountain ranges, waterfalls, tall redwood forests and coastal beaches. Whether for a simple day trip or an extended back pack trek, with family or friends, the adventures you share and the memories you create will always be something you hold dear.

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And for those who can’t find time to escape for long – sometimes, the most amazing sites and inspiring natural beauty is just a stone’s throw away. A simple walk in your neighborhood or stroll outside your office can refresh and inspire.

And after you get back, with your batteries recharged and creative juices flowing, what better time to create a keepsake piece of jewelry to commemorate your explorations!  We have a beautiful selection of nature inspired charms and pendants featuring wild animals, nature scenes, idyllic beaches and more. Perfect for camp projects, gifts for fellow outdoor enthusiasts or something special just for you.

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So get out there and go camping, canoeing, hiking, and biking… Nina Designs will be here when you get back, ready to help you create the perfect Souvenir of your Adventure.

What are your summer plans? We’d love to here all about them! Please share your adventures in the comment section below.

July 18, 2016

Discover the Symbolism of Spirit Animals!

Have you ever felt drawn to a certain animal? Felt a special kinship or deep connection to a wild beast, tiny insect, or cold blooded reptile? Do certain creatures seem to constantly cross your path? Maybe it’s your Spirit Animal calling out to you! A Spirit Animal or Power Animal represents the “life force” or soul of an animal, which appears to humans – through their dreams, meditations and in their waking life – in order to share their wisdom. The belief in Spirit Animals has its origins mainly in Native American Tribes, although similar spiritual practices can be found in other cultures. There are differences within each tribe or culture on how they interpret and incorporate Spirit or “Totem Animals” into their lives. In Native American cultures, The Totem Animal would generally appear as one single animal that acts as a guide and protector for humans throughout their entire life. Modern cultures often believe that you can have many Spirit Animals and they can change daily.

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Nina Designs has created an inspiring line of Spirit Animal Pendants perfect for creating Talisman Jewelry that holds spiritual meaning for the wearer. We chose to feature seven of our favorite creatures: The Bear, The Cobra, The Crocodile, The Hawk or Falcon, The Elephant, The Tiger, and The Wolf. Each has special attributes that we hope will stir your creativity and connect with you personally.

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The Cobra: Waiting, Pausing, Going inwards to decide.

With its ability to shed its skin, the cobra represents transformation, rebirth and new beginnings. Having this power animal in your life portents a great transition is on its way through new opportunities and growth.

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The Bear: Waking Up, Beginning Anew.

Symbolically, the bear holds many contradictions. Their dual nature symbolizes both the warrior and the nurturer. It can be fierce, teaching us to stand against adversity, take action and be bold. At times of hibernation it is tranquil, emphasizing a time for solitude, self-reflection, and rest.

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The Crocodile: Resting, Collecting Energy, Cooling Off.

The crocodile has inhabited the earth for millions of years and are considered to be the keepers and protectors of all knowledge and ancient wisdom. Having this power animal in your life signifies an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the world around you. Gliding along the water, they are concealed from view with just their eyes peeking above the surface, teaching us about patience, emotional depth and resourcefulness.

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The Elephant: Unstoppable, Auspicious & Wise.

Revered for its power and strength, the elephant symbolizes dignity, peace, intelligence, and longevity. In the herd, the older elephants protect and care for the young, regardless of whether it is their offspring or another’s. In this way, the spirit of the elephant encourages loyalty and fidelity in our relationships with family and friends.

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The Hawk or Falcon: Watchful, All-Seeing & Fate’s Messenger

 Symbolically, the falcon is the messenger of the spirit world and the “unseen”. They were believed to have resided in the Upperworld with the spirits of the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars. The Falcon’s ability to soar to great heights assists with gaining a new perceptive, allowing one to see and understand things clearly by providing focus and sharp vision.

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The Wolf: Protector of Family & Tribe

Symbolically, the wolf encourages a deeper connection with and trust in one’s intuition. With a razor sharp intelligence and a strong desire for freedom, the wolf inspires you to live life to the fullest and pursue your dreams.

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The Tiger: Sensuality, Receptivity & Lunar Forces

The tiger symbolizes courage and willpower. Having this animal in your life encourages you to harness your inner strength and trust your intuition to help you overcome challenges. The speed and agility of the tiger reminds us to tackle life’s problems quickly and passionately. Don’t hesitate… pounce! Let this tiger unleash a new power or passion within you.

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* Nina Designs wishes to thank artist, Kim Krans

for allowing us to feature her lovely Animal Spirit Cards in our Jewelry Photos.

*You can find them along with other pieces of her amazing art at “The Wild Unknown”*




July 8, 2016

Building Community, Bead and Button Shines a Spotlight on Nina Designs

Nina Designs is honored to be featured in one of our favorite jewelry making publications, Bead and Button Magazine. The profile, “Building Community, Nina Cooper strives to make the world a better place, one finding at a time,” is beautifully written by Julia Gerlach and can be found in the “Spotlight” section of August 2016 Issue of Bead and Buttonwhich is available on newsstands now! It focuses on Nina’s efforts to create a supportive work environment, lessen our carbon footprint as a business, and help women entrepreneurs and artisans through microloans.

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It is a fascinating read that we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss because this isn’t just a shout out for Nina Designs, it’s also about you. When you purchase from Nina Designs, you aren’t just getting the best quality jewelry components and top notch customer service – you are also helping us to make the world a better place! Honestly, we couldn’t do it without you!

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So, if you haven’t read Bead and Button Magazine, we encourage you to check it out! It is published 6 times a year and features amazing “How To” projects as well as wonderful articles that remind us that maybe we can “make the world a better place, one finding at a time.”

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