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June 10, 2011

Making Jewelry :: How to Wear Hippie Headbands

This summer wear Hippie Headbands! At this time of year, when everyone is enjoying the sunshine and warm weather, it’s natural to let your inner flower child come out and play. As days get longer, weekends are spent outdoors with rosy cheeks and rhythmic beats, why not wear hippie headbands to match your relaxed attitude?

Inspired by the sweet smell of honeysuckle, the flower child inside me began braiding colorful leather cord into a headband perfect for today’s modern hippie. Pick up some gold peace charms and braid them into your colorful leather cord. Then take it a step further by embellishing your headband with gemstone beads. Headbands are easier to wear than you might think. The popular way to wear them these days is over your hair or bangs, not right on top of your forehead. The best part is that you can wear your headband as a necklace too. It’s the perfect accessory to strapless tops and trouser pants.

March 11, 2011

Bohemian Warrior :: Making Bib-style Necklace with Feather Charms

As the weather warms and the days grow longer, I’m beginning to make necklaces that reflect the carefree attitude of the coming summer. The bohemian spirit is always present in summer fashion, but is a bit too “hippie” to fit my style. In an effort to find a way to make this trend work for me I focused on silver charms that have a talisman quality, like carved wood claws and feather charms. With these silver charms in mind, I imagined a bohemian warrior.

Bohemain Warrior

More fierce than hippie, the bohemian warrior blends a carefree attitude with a tough one. The bib style necklace was a natural place for me to start because they remind me of armor. A bib necklace with silver chain is the epitome of bohemian warrior, but you can also use alternatives to metal, like leather cord and silk ribbons, to add color and texture to your creations. By combining feather charms with wood claws I made a necklace that is bohemian and fierce all in one. It can be difficult to adapt a seasonal trend to fit your style, but it’s a great opportunity to challenge yourself as a jewelry designer.

What fashion trends would you like to blend together?

Bohemian Warrior

January 21, 2011

Making Necklaces :: How to Wear Mixed Chain Necklaces

Mixed Chain HEAVY METAL Necklace

Mixing silver chain with gold chain in necklaces is in every fashion magazine I flip through these days. It seems to be all the rage right now and I love it! It reminds me of my heavy-metal and punk-loving days when chains were an essential accessory.

Wearing mixed metal chain necklaces has unlimited potential. They can be worn anywhere, with anything. You can wear the same mixed chain necklace with black leather on one day, a simple white tee the next and with an elegant cocktail dress that same evening. Mixing chain can transform even the simplest of outfits and there are tons of options to choose from to fit your personal style. I love layering several single-chain necklaces to create more texture.

With all those images from the magazines fresh in my mind, I was inspired to create a mixed chain necklace of my own using several Nina Designs chains juxtaposed with our soft silk ribbon. It’s something I can wear with anything. I love the heavy look and feel of all the chain, and yet it’s fluid and soft in it’s movement. Plus, mixing chain is a great way to use all those odd lengths of chain scraps you’ve been holding on to!

Have you been into mixing chain lately? Are you making necklaces, or bracelets? Share your creations!

Mixed Chain

December 17, 2010

Making Necklaces with Mixed Media


While we specialize in silver jewelry findings, we also offer a variety of different mediums for making necklaces – like our line of satin finish gold vermeil, colorful silk cords and ribbons, and buttery soft leather cords in many fantastic colors.

Mixing metals and mediums has quickly become a popular and expressive new trend in the jewelry and fashion worlds. Popular materials include an array of feathers, chains, leather, felt, and much more. This playfulness in textures and mediums allows for new and unexpected creations. A fresh take on the ordinary!

For my mixed medium necklace, I incorporated a little of each of the different materials we offer, while keeping the look sophisticated and wearable. By maintaining a muted color palette of grays and greens, I was able to ensure the necklace wouldn’t overwhelm the eye. Braided gray leather with embedded gold circle links frames the necklace’s focal point of luscious labradorites and idocrase briolettes. The gold vermeil teardrop links mirror the briolettes’ form and offer a pleasant transition from the heavier elements to the lighter silk cording in back. Wear the necklace long over a cozy sweater, or short with a scoop neck top. It’s nice when the design is as verstile as the materials.

If you have yet to experiment with mixed mediums, grab some of your favorite items, and mix it up! Play around with size and texture. You’ll be excited and rejuvenated by the results! Do you have any unexpected materials or combinations you really like?

Mixed Medium

October 8, 2010

Alpine Chic :: How to Wear Claw Pendant Necklaces

Alpine Chic Necklace

I couldn’t wait to incorporate our NEW claw pendants into my Alpine Chic necklace. For me Alpine Chic brings to mind the three L’s: Lavish, Leather and Layers! Alpine fashion incorporates a few of my favorite fashion trends: men’s wear for women, and good ol’ vintage flair. With a distinct draw from men’s wear and family-friendly handmade knits, Alpine fashion trend straddles the line between kitsch and haute couture. You can layer your dad’s chunky fair isle sweater from the 70’s over a high waisted wool skirt (a la Dior circa 1950), belt it all together, add some beautiful leather boots (fur optional) and voila – you’re runway or ski lodge ready! Definitely my favorite winter look.

One thing I like best about this trend is the playful woodland aspect. Jewelry and accessories can be a great avenue to play up the kitschy side or get a little more creative with your look. We have an adorable array of woodland silver charms, but as I said I was inspired by the three L’s. So I chose to combine leather cord, heavy silver chains, and claw pendants with dainty pink pearls. The look is extravagant but wearable. Tough, with a touch of classic femininity.

What are some of your favorite winter fashion trends?

Alpine Chic

September 2, 2010

Salute Military Fashion by Making a Three-Star General’s Pin

Three-Star General Pin

Once I got the idea I couldn’t wait to make a silver pin with star charms that salutes military fashion. I love the world of khakis, camouflage pants, dog tags, and combat boots. My dad was in the U.S. Army for 22 years, so military fashion and camouflage has always been a part of my life. Growing up I lived on military bases all over the world from Fort Hood, TX, to Seoul, South Korea. No matter where we lived my dad polished his boots twice a week. And, I remember being curious about each change to his military uniform. Now, even the smell of black shoe shine, takes me back to those days.

That’s why I was super excited to create military inspired jewelry. I planned on making a necklace featuring army green and khaki colored silk ribbon, silver ball chain, and rectangle stamping blanks that I was going to stamp to resemble dog tags. But, as I was surfing the net for Military Fashion I got another idea. I’ll make a Three-Star General pin. Fantastico!

This is what I came up with. What do you think? I think we’ll pass it around the office, so we can take turns being the General!

Military Makeover

August 6, 2010

The Making of a Steampunk Necklace

Time Machine

I love making Steampunk necklaces that bring together old, mechanical parts, unexpected jewelry links, and brilliant gemstones. It’s very distinctive and inspiring, and I’ve noticed the increasing popularity of the Steampunk aesthetic in fashion magazines and jewelry blogs. Intrigued, I did a little research and learned that Steampunk is born out of futuristic and science-fiction ideas based in the Victorian era, and gets it name from the idea of life in a world that operates mainly by steam power (typically the 1800’s). Think H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, who wrote about futuristic technology: air, space, and underwater travel.

For my Steampunk jewelry, I made a bib-style necklace with layers of oxidized chain draping above the antique-style gear. Below the gear charm I created a fringe of dark, sparkly garnets and gray pearls, and added our watch face charm. This creates a mixture of mechanical imagery and modern materials while playing into my favorite element of Steampunk: time travel.

What do you think of Steampunk jewelry? Love it or hate it?

SteamPunk Trend

July 2, 2010

Making a Necklace with Silver Chain Tangles

An organic take on the chain tangle trend.

I’ve been noticing many different silver chain tangles on necklaces recently. Although some of them remind me too much of the early ’80’s, I do like the textural, fluid movement created from so many chain fragments. I decided to re-interpret it by making a necklace with a more organic twist.

Using scraps of silver chain, I made a jumble of “Spanish Moss” that falls from a branch pendant. I wire-wrapped links of chain together to hold the cluster in place. I love the way this necklace feels when wearing it: the chain cluster is weighty and delicate at the same time.

Chains Galore

June 4, 2010

Tassle Chic: Making a Chain Tassle Necklace

Tassle Chic

Once a decorative finish for drapes and upholstery, tassles have made a big impact in the world of accessories. Big designers in the fashion world have been using them to adorn everything including shoes, purses, dresses, belts and even jewelry. I first started noticing tassle necklaces in the magazines earlier this year and since then, I can’t look at a fashion spread without seeing them everywhere.

Inspired by this current trend, I decided to try to make a tassle necklace of my own, but instead of using traditional decorative threads, I wanted to make mine with a variety of silver and gold plated chains. By varying the textures and sizes of chain, my pendant looks a little more edgy and contemporary, and is perfect worn long with a little black dress.

What trends have you been noticing lately and how do you incorporate them into your jewelry design?