Nina Designs Celebrating 40 years

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, 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 on Telegraph Ave 1984

Filigree Bali Beads

Nina Pulling Order 1993

Nina in Bali in front of Shrine

1983 to 1993

  • 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!


Nina with Staff at Tradeshow

Nina and Leah in India

Screenshot of Website in 1995

Baby Lyra wearing necklace with Bali Beads

1994 to 2003

  • 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


Leah Sketching Charm Ideas

Office Staff Dressed up in Halloween Costumes

Nina at Factory Party in Bali

Nina with Silversmiths in Bali

2004 to 2013

  • 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


Staff Group Photo in Park

Nina, Leah, Marcy, Hilary at Design team meeting

Group Photo of Bali Staff

Nina Designs Earrings and Rings

2014 to 2023

  • 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.”"

February 2023 - Voting Rights

Brennan Center for Justice - "The Brennan Center for Justice is an independent, nonpartisan law and policy organization that works to reform, revitalize, and when necessary, defend our country’s systems of democracy and justice."

March 2023 - Women's Rights

Global Fund for Women - "We offer flexible feminist funding and support to fuel collective action and create meaningful change that will last beyond our lifetimes"

April 2023 - Environment

Earth Justice - "Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit public interest environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change."

May 2023 - Assisting people living with physical & mental illness or disability

Solemen Indonesia - “Solemen’s driving passion is to alleviate the suffering of so many in Bali through community outreach, medical intervention, food aid, education, and when needed disaster response.”

June 2023 - LGBTQ+

The Trevor Project - "We believe LGBTQ young people deserve a welcoming, loving world. And we wake up every day dedicated to making that a reality."

July 2023 - Hunger

Alameda County Community Food Bank - "Food is a basic human right. We work towards a stronger, more nourished Alameda County, where no one worries where their next meal will come from."

August 2023 - Oceans

Seacology - “Seacology’s mission is to protect threatened island ecosystems all over the world. We do that by working directly with communities, helping them to preserve their cultures and improve their lives while saving precious island habitats.”

September 2023 - Children

OneSky - "We partner with communities to provide quality responsive care and early education training to adults, so vulnerable young children can thrive."

October 2023 - Immigration

National Immigration Law Center - “Established in 1979, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) is one of the leading organizations in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of immigrants with low income.”

November 2023 - Reproductive Rights

Center for Reproductive Rights - The Center for Reproductive Rights uses the power of law to advance reproductive rights as fundamental human rights around the world.”

December 2023 - Indigenous Rights

Sogorea Te’ Land Trust is an urban Indigenous women-led land trust based in the San Francisco Bay Area that facilitates the return of Indigenous land to Indigenous people.

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