Frequently Asked Questions - Products
Feel free to call us at 1-800-336-6462 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you still have questions after reading the information below.
- Are your items sterling silver?
- What is the best way to care for Sterling Silver?
- What makes your product different than other sterling silver jewelry component companies?
- What are Nina Designs business practices?
- I purchased stamping blanks but am new to stamping. How hard should I stamp on your charms?
- Are Nina Designs diamonds conflict-free?
- Can I stamp on your diamond, crystal or gemstone charms?
- About our crystals and nano gems
- About our black finish
- Where are your pieces made?
- I am visiting Bali, can I visit your factory?
- I love your craftsmanship. Do you make findings on consignment if I send you a design?
- What do the measurements reflect on your website?
- Why are you discontinuing some of your findings? Can I special order discontinued styles?
All the styles we carry that are labeled sterling silver contain 92.5% pure silver, or fine silver. Our Hill Tribe collection is made of Fine Silver, which is 99% pure silver. Sterling silver is a silver alloy containing 92.5% by weight of silver and 7.5% by weight of other metals, usually copper. We NEVER add nickel to our formula, making our sterling silver nickel-free.
Our Gold Plate Vermeil Style items are either 14K shiny gold, 24K satin gold, or 18K rose gold plated over sterling silver. Click here for more info on our Gold Plate Vermeil Style Items. We also carry a small selection of 24K gold over bronze. In many cases this option proves to be quite economical over the sterling silver core with the same high quality gold plate.
If an item is a component or parts, and not finished jewelry, a .925 stamp is not required by federal law. All of our silver components are sterling silver, and whenever space permits, we have included a .925 stamp on them. However, some of our items are either too small to accommodate a .925 stamp, the stamp would disrupt the design, or its not technically feasible to add the stamp without damaging the part.
Please read our FAQs on Product Care for detailed information on caring for sterling silver jewelry components.
The majority of our collection is designed in-house in Berkeley, CA. We are not just distributors of other companies’ products, but actually do the research, sketching, and revisions on our items ourselves. As a result, you will see many unusual and unique items in our collection. In addition, our 35 years of experience as jewelry designers assists us in anticipating how charms will be worn and adorned. We are committed to designing and delivering products with outstanding quality and consistency that stand the test of time.
We also maintain a commitment to our community and environment. Nina Designs is committed to paying a living wage. This commitment is reflected in the high quality work that our silversmiths deliver in return. Click here for more details about our fair trade philosophy, labor practices, environmental commitment and philanthropy.
Nina Designs is committed to paying a living wage. This commitment is reflected in the high quality of work that our silversmiths deliver in return.
Our production facility in Bali, Indonesia focuses intensely on the development of human capital. All managers are promoted from within the company. Staff with potential are identified at an early stage and offered opportunities to learn new skills and take on more responsibilities.
We have an absolute commitment to equal rights for women. Fifty percent of managers at our production facility are women, a figure that is even more impressive in Indonesia than it would be in America. On average, our silversmiths in Bali earn double the government minimum wage. The highest performers make triple the wage of a schoolteacher and double the salary of a graduating doctor.
All employees receive an extra month’s wage as an end of year bonus. In addition, workers receive a food allowance for lunches. The company provides health care, with a doctor on call for staff medical needs. Through Bumi Sehat, expectant mothers receive education about prenatal care and safe deliveries. Mothers receive three months paid maternity leave or six months on half pay. Their hospital fees are also covered.
Other benefits include life insurance and pension fund contributions. Employees have a total of 25 paid days off for vacation and religious holidays. (There are Hindu, Muslim and Christian employees, with each taking different holidays according to their traditions). Additional unpaid leave is granted if needed. The standard workweek is 40 hours.
Our items from Thailand are made at a production facility in Bangkok that we began working with in 2002. We selected our supplier based on the quality of their work and our confidence that they pay fair wages and provide other important benefits to their workers.
Thailand has substantial regulations for labor. The production facility adheres to rules handed down by the Tax Department, Factory Department, Labor Department and the Health and Environment Department. They pay a 5% payroll tax that covers health insurance, unemployment insurance, and retirement benefits. They also provide 16 paid holidays in addition to personal vacation time and three months of paid maternity leave. Entry level workers are paid well above minimum wage. Mid-level workers earn the equivalent of salaries at a four star hotel and experienced silversmiths earn about the same as a manager at a department store.
When stamping, we recommend using a gentle hand, or else the reverse side of the stamping blank will be marred from the force of the charm being knocked against your work surface. We recommend practicing your stamping on scrap metal first. Sterling silver is a softer metal than bronze and it will take much less force to stamp on it. We have a Stamp at Your Own Risk Policy and will not accept returns on stamped items due to a mistake during the stamping process.
Check out our Classroom for tips & tricks on stamping techniques and more!
All of the diamonds used in our collection are guaranteed conflict free. Our diamonds are certified by the Kimberley Accord which ensures that the stones are not connected to rebel groups. Our diamonds are mined and shipped in the most ethical way.
We do not recommend stamping on charms that have a diamond, crystal, or gemstone. The diamond, crystal, or gemstone is tension set and stamping can alter the tension and make the diamond, crystal or gemstone fall out. We will not accept returns on items with a diamond, crystal or gemstone that has fallen out due to stamping. Please inspect all your charms before you use them. If you have received defective merchandise, please send it back unused so that we can best resolve the defective issues with our factories.
Our crystals and nano gems are lead and cadmium free. We use Preciosa crystals, made in the Czech Republic in the Crystal Valley of Bohemia. Our Formica nano gems are synthetic gemstones that are a hybrid combination of glass and tiny (nano) gemstone particles. See below for more information.
The black finish is a beautiful oxidized treatment on the surface of the silver. The oxidation is not a plating, but uses a liver of sulfur mixture to darken the silver surface. Please note that over time the black finish will slowly wear off to reveal the shiny silver underneath. This process is accelerated on finger rings due to wear and tear and exposure to soap, water, lotion, etc. This results in a rustic, timeworn quality which many admire.
Every item on our website displays the country of origin on the "Other Details" tab on the individual product details page.
Many of our items are made in Bali, Indonesia and Bangkok, Thailand. You can read more about our silversmiths here. Our items from Thailand are made at a production facility in Bangkok that we began working with in 2002. We selected our supplier based on the quality of their work and our confidence that they pay fair wages and provide other important benefits to their workers.
Our factories in Bali, Indonesia and Bangkok, Thailand are closed facilities and are not open to the public. If you’re visiting Bali and would like to see silver work in process, we recommend visiting the silver village of Celluk.
We welcome all customer suggestions and ideas. Customer requests are always the first place we start when designing new items. However, we do not do exclusive designs. Any customer suggestions we receive that result in a successful new design will be added to our website and wholesale catalog. Feel free to use our public Suggestion Box for any requests or product ideas.
Product measurements are available in millimeters (mm) and include length, width and height. Occasionally there are additional measurements in the item’s description, such as the Inside Diameter of a large hole bead. It can be useful to look at the Design Ideas to see the item’s size in relation to other parts. Most charm measurements include the attached jump ring in the measurement. View our example measurements.
- Length refers to the distance between where an item may be connected to another jewelry finding. This will usually correlate to the distance from: hole to hole of a bead or the top of an earring hook to its bottom loop.
NOTE: generally, the length measurement will be the longest distance, regardless of orientation/direction.
- Width refers to the distance that sits perpendicular to the length.
- Height refers to how thick the item is from front to back. Imagine laying the item on a table. The height refers to the distance from where the item touches the table to the tallest part of the bead. (There will be some exceptions like hook earring tops with designs on the front. In this example, the height would measure the thickness of the design element; not from the front of the design element to the back of the hook. And, post earring parts do not include the post part; just the design element in front of the post. Chains are always an exception; see item descriptions for notes on its measurement).
Unless otherwise specified, our ear wires are .8mm thick, which is close to 20 gauge. There is a 10% variance for handmade items, which means that we allow a tolerance of 10% difference either direction for our quality assurance.
Nina Designs prides itself in releasing new original designs weekly! In order to do this, we must continually evaluate styles that show significant decrease in popularity. The threshold to determine whether an item is discontinued is based on a minimum of $200 in sales over a one year time frame. Discontinued items are discounted and put on sale on our website until we’ve sold through the remaining stock.
It may be possible to special order large quantities of recently discontinued styles. Please contact us for more information.