I am committed to producing each and every piece of jewelry by hand within the USA. This means that my profit margins may be lower than some of my competitors, but I rest easy knowing that I have created a product that I can stand proudly behind.
I started my career in jewelry in 2010 spending a year as an apprentice in Brooklyn. It was there that I learned the ancient metal techniques of hand soldering and forming that became the fundamental processes I use to create all of my designs.
As a designer, I like to let my mind be free to create and pivot in the moment, so I do not sketch out anything beforehand. Instead, I approach my soldering table with a concept and inspiration and see what happens. This means about 75% of my designs end up in the recycling bin. Things fall apart or just "don't work" all the time, but when it does work, it's magic!
I spend hours prototyping but once a design makes the cut, I send the piece off to New York to be molded in silicone. From there, we can cast as many pieces as we want and they will look almost identical. All of our pieces are cast from recycled metals and you can learn more about my commitment to sustainability here!
From these bronze castings, hand finishing is done with great attention to detail. I think the hand finishing is what keeps my super modern shapes looking warm and organic. If we use stones in the design, these ethically sourced stones are also set by hand.
Now, it's time to make things really shine! Off to Rhode Island, the designs will go to be finished in 14k gold. I offer yellow, white or rose gold in all of my designs and put my gold plating on 10x thicker than the industry standard so that it will stay on longer. I also plate nickel free, meaning every piece is 100% hypoallergenic.
My team of badass girls will then help to assemble any final chains, ear wires or clasps in our Austin store.
Although each design has a very specific inspiration for me, I like the wearer to decide what it means to them. There is a common thread that runs through each collection though, the strong purpose behind it. Time after time I have received startling feedback from my customers. They’ve shared that my designs have actually helped them approach life‘s challenges more fearlessly. My jewelry has become more impactful than I could have ever imagined back when I started my apprenticeship, so many years ago. Equipped with this knowledge I’ve become even more focused, knowing that with each jewelry piece I form in my hands, I’m given the opportunity to make women feel more confident, more positive and well, just plain stronger!
I am so proud of the products that I make and I'm proud of myself for doing my part to preserve traditional metal smithing. To me it is both an art form and a way for me to sustain myself and my little team financially.
It's because of you that I'm able use my gift for design to impact the world in a positive way so, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for supporting my dream! - xoxo, Nina Berenato