June 20, 2016

Diving for Jewelry Inspiration

Nina Dive

Like many artists, I draw much of my inspiration for our Silver Charms from nature. Trees, mountains, flowers and animals feature prominently in our collection at Nina Designs. Beyond land, the earth is 71% water and our Ocean Charms are inspired by the creatures of the sea. Scuba diving offers a window into a rich and diverse underwater world that remains largely a mystery to us even in this high tech age. I learned to dive in Bali in 1994 over Nyepi, a holiday during which evil spirits visit earth and it is against the law for anyone to go outside in public or make noise. From my first ocean dive to the present, I have been captivated by the stunning diversity of life beneath the waves. Time collapses into an urgent NOW as you marshal all your senses to stay safe, while at the same time loosing yourself in wonder at the marvels on display in the watery blue light.

Dive Collage

Diving challenges me on many levels: I am susceptible to seasickness, I often feel claustrophobic bobbing on the surface of the water, my right ear has trouble clearing and the vast dark sea stretching out in all directions can evoke a strange primal terror. Fortunately, these details pale next to the intense gratification and endless inspiration I harvest from the colorful gardens of coral, fish and inexplicable creatures that inhabit the sea. It is so liberating to escape gravity and tumble in three dimensions while watching light scatter through the water in rays or dancing ripples. I like to play in the air bubbles of my fellow divers and imagine that I am swimming in a glass of champagne.

Recently, I had the privilege of visiting Utila, a small island off the coast of Roatan in Honduras. I went in search of Whale Sharks, the largest fish in the sea. They are filter eaters who rise to the surface around the full moon. We were lucky enough to spot one on our first day, then went on to swim with dolphins, eels, nurse sharks, turtles and curtains of colorful fish. Even now, back at my office computer, I am filled with wonder and half expecting a school of fish to swim by.

All underwater photos by Nina Cooper

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