Forty years ago, I was a teenager selling my handmade jewelry from a stand on Telegraph Avenue and wondering how I could turn my passion into a viable career. In search of answers, I studied business at UC Berkeley. Inspiration struck on a trip to Bali, where I discovered a thriving community of artisans. Working together, we brought to life a collection of silver jewelry, beads, and findings inspired by the ancient jewelry that fascinated me as a child exploring the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

In 1993 I built a production facility in Bali with the goal of empowering women and fostering the ancient art of crafting silver by hand. In 1995 I launched ninadesigns.com, one of the first e-commerce sites in the industry. As my business evolved, I expanded our design options by forming partnerships with casting facilities in Thailand and Bali that produce high quality, hand finished products. Each of our designs begins as a dream in our home office in Berkeley, travels the globe, and lands in the hands of jewelry lovers worldwide.

Through the decades, I have remained focused on Fair Trade and giving back through our Microloan, Greening, and Philanthropy programs. To celebrate our 40th anniversary year, I will be donating $1,000 each month to a different non-profit chosen to align with our core mission: Inspiring Beauty & Creativity While Caring for People & Our Planet.

Thank you for all the years of support!

-Nina


 

  • 1983, Selling beaded jewelry on Telegraph Ave and in local shops
  • Business Major at UC Berkeley
  • First trips to Bali, started designing and importing jewelry, findings, wood carvings, clothing & handicrafts
  • Had silversmiths make clasps and findings that I wanted to use in my jewelry
  • Lost house in 1991 fire, decided to focus on silver beads and findings, all handmade silver from Bali
  • Move to Santa Fe after fire
  • Built production facility in Bali
  • First catalog
  • Adopted Lyra from China!

 

  • Launched ecommerce website in 1995! One of the first, if not the first, in our industry
  • Business expanded rapidly
  • Relocated back to the Bay Area in 1999
  • Expanded production to Thailand, allowing us to create cast designs in addition to our handmade Bali collection
  • Brief forays into India and Mexico
  • Got married and adopted Tali from China!
  • Active in the trade magazines writing articles about jewelry designers, business, and history
  • 25+ tradeshows per year
  • Incorporated the business

 

  • Purchased our building in Berkeley
  • Started our International Micro Loan program for women artisans. ($270,000 in loans made to date in 2022!)
  • Navigated huge spikes in silver prices
  • Developed and introduced our bronze line as an affordable alternative
  • Our line shifted to focus on charms and lightweight findings
  • Established core values and companywide goal setting system

 

  • Began our carbon neutrality program. Committed to planting one tree for every package we shipped. 189,000 trees planted to date!
  • Initiated a transition to using recycled silver
  • Major infrastructure and tech investments
  • Re-engineered supply chain to create resilience and increase capacity
  • Expanded our ready-to-wear jewelry line
  • Increased design capacity to 350 new styles per year
  • Shifted away from tradeshows
  • Strengthened relationships with our distributors and wholesalers
  • Grew dramatically during the pandemic

 

40th Anniversary Monthly Donations!

We will be donating $1,000 each month to a different non-profit chosen to align with our core mission.


January 2023 - Homelessness 

End Homelessness - "The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonpartisan organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the United States.”"

 

 

 

 

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