As we near the beginning of March, the days are getting a little longer and warmer, giving us a peek that spring is on its way. Here at Nina Nguyen Designs, we think March’s serene birthstone, aquamarine, is perfectly suited for this seasonal transition.
The word aquamarine comes from the Latin words “aqua” (meaning water) and “marina” (meaning sea), and is reminiscent of the vibrancy and iridescence of the ocean. Like seawater, an aquamarine can flaunt shades from the palest green to a dark, deeply saturated blue. Nina Nguyen Designs’ is proud to offer a fresh and beautiful take on aquamarine that is a muted, milky light blue with a truly organic feel. All of our aquamarine jewelry also features the charming and antique appeal of rose-cut stones. The rose-cut pattern is named after the flower, which it is said to resemble. With a flat base and dome-shaped top, this stone actually “rose” to popularity during the Victorian era.
Visit our website today and shop our stunning aquamarine bangles, rings, necklaces and interchangeable earrings that can be put into different frames or transformed into pendants. With eye-catching translucency and delightful sparkle, it’s hard to beat Nina Nguyen Designs’ aquamarine collection that is uniquely handcrafted with delicate details.
Did you know aquamarine is a symbol of youth, hope, health and fidelity? It is the birthstone of March, but you’ll want to wear versatile aquamarine all year-long.
Here at Nina Nguyen Designs, each piece of jewelry is handcrafted with a unique combination of colors, various shapes, innovative cuts, sizes and texture. Texture, particularly, is an essential element that helps to truly personalize our creations.
Meet Florentine, Nina Nguyen Designs’ signature hand-hammered texture that Nina spent an entire summer creating and perfecting through a series of trial and error. Inspiration for the striking texture, which features a crisscross motif and satin-like sheen, comes from a trip she took along the Mekong River through Cambodia and Vietnam. She passed through small craft villages where she observed artisans weaving bamboo baskets, and from that moment was determined to create a truly innovative pattern for her jewelry designs that incorporated a basketweave-like appearance.
“I love the way the hammer cuts through the surface of the metal, leaving the perfect texture that has a soft finish that’s not quite matte and not quite glossy – for a luxe look with handcrafted flare,” said Nina Nguyen. “In the process, I went through so many hammering techniques, and a basket-full of hammers, to design this perfect pattern that cuts through metal a certain way. I’m over the moon that I could incorporate my labor of love into my designs.”
You can view all of the Nina Nguyen Designs’ pieces featuring the exclusive Florentine pattern on her website. Beautifully textured earrings, rings and bangles—as well as a stunning necklace that’s in the works—are topped off with exquisite black oxidation, high-quality sustainable diamonds, ethically sourced gemstones bordered with 18k recycled gold, and more.
“I’m so proud to say that our jewelry is not only unique and stylish, but that its beauty goes well beyond aesthetics,” said Nina.
Some say the best is yet to come, but here at Nina Nguyen Designs, we believe the best is all around us. While we look forward to an exciting and innovative 2019, we also have a lot of significant moments and accomplishments to reflect on from this past year. Here’s a look at our top 2018 highlights:
1. In July, the Nina Nguyen Designs interchangeable earring collection was awarded a patent-pending status which allows these pieces to be transformed for multiple-use, convertible styling. Earrings featured in the collection can individually be turned into a pendant and worn on a necklace, or used as a charm to complement wrap bracelets. This patent-pending earring design—which features mixed metals and saturated colors—was born from Nina Nguyen’s desire to allow customers the chance to personalize their own design aesthetic. “The wealth of options and flexibility within this system serves as a platform to expand with endless designs and provide our customers with opportunity to personalize their styles in an elegant and fashionable way,” said Nina Nguyen. And that’s a wrap!
2. As part of our continued commitment and passion for sustainability, we are proud to have redesigned our 18k yellow gold line by accenting our signature, colorful pieces with more sustainable diamonds. “Diamonds are the epitome of elegance and romance, and we’re proud to stand by our recycled, conflict-free diamonds that are sure to elevate any look,” said Nguyen. Since the redesign, the jewelry has been extremely well-received—exceeding Nguyen’s expectations. “We care as much about style as we do sustainability, and it’s truly gratifying to witness skyrocketing sales which indicate that our customers and partners feel the same way,” said Nguyen.
3. To meet increasing consumer demands, Nina Nguyen Designs invested in a new production facility in Vietnam, which when fully occupied accommodates over 50 employees. The new facility is helping Nina Nguyen Designs to further improve our production process, allowing us to produce even higher quality pieces as well as launch our redesigned gold collection. “We are excited that this new facility sets remarkable standards in the global jewelry industry in terms of craft, scale, speed and environmental impact,” said Nguyen. ”The new facility will potentially quadruple our production capacity to more than 3,000 pieces a month.”
4. In mid-2018, we honed our ability to track retail store performance. Our improved process is to determine optimum inventory and replenish as pieces sell for a minimum of six months. Then, using the sales data, we can further optimize inventory based on pieces, stones, price point, etc., to always ensure stores have the best-selling pieces in stock for customers.
5. Last, but certainly not least, several of Nina Nguyen Designs’ retail partner stores saw record-breaking sales of 80 to 100 pieces sold per month, as well as high repurchase rates in 2018 with some partners quadrupling sales in piece count and tripling sales in dollars. “Retailers that have strongly embraced the Nina Nguyen Designs line, as well as followed our streamlined inventory management process, have been overwhelmingly successful in selling our jewelry,” said Nguyen. “2018 certainly reaffirmed that in order to boost sales performance, best selling pieces need to always be represented and replenished.”
Overall, it was an amazing year and we look forward to an equally rewarding 2019.
Nina Nguyen Designs has found an amazing new home! We are sad to leave the beautiful Victorian house where our office has been for the last two years, but couldn’t be more excited about our new office. Located in the heart of downtown Denver in the Oxford Hotel, it has vintage charm with five star amenities. Opened in 1891, the Oxford Hotel is one of the oldest in Denver. We’ll be just steps away from the iconic Union Station.
photo via theoxfordhotel.com
This new location gives us an amazing new space with opportunities to host guests and events in this iconic building. We can’t wait for you to visit!
We concluded our excursion on the Mekong with visits to many hard-working families that use local materials to produce a variety of handicrafts and home essentials. Echoing Nina’s combination of focus and creativity, these often women-led businesses demonstrated a relaxed spirit of entrepreneurial enthusiasm.
In fact, I later learned why it was common to see so much self-starting industriousness throughout my travels in Vietnam—95% of Vietnamese support capitalism, by far more than any other country (including the USA) surveyed by the Pew Research Center. With careful planning by our guide, we took to the canals and paths of Tân Phong island and nearby areas to meet as many of these women as we could.
Rice noodles before the strips
Starting by sampan (flat bottomed small wooden boat), we cut through a lush section of Tân Phong to see the first shops before switching to bikes to complete our tour. Among the reed hat makers, tapioca-derived lacework artisans, hanging basket weavers, and others, my favorite was the ease with which a woman could carry on a casual conversation with Nina while also swiftly thatching a roof panel from nipa palm and the comradery among those selling beautiful baskets made from water hyacinth. While I didn’t bring home any thatch roofing, my daughters do now delight in having a sampan-shaped hyacinth basket to display geodes and other little travel treasures.
We also passed by many of the larger businesses along the main tributary of the Mekong. Sunday morning activity was light, but the size and number of the operations displayed the productivity of the region. The most notable buildings to any river traveler are the beehive-shaped earthen kilns rising dozens of feet above the banks of the river. Fed by massive baskets of rice hulls, these ovens typically dry bricks but also the pottery commonly seen throughout Saigon and further afield.
As our guide directs our boat to Vinh Long for the shuttle back to Saigon, we take with us an increased appreciation for the favors, sights, and people of the Mekong Delta. Seeing Nina’s team produce her stunning vision of the Mekong collection reminds me that Saigon is reflection of its place in the Mekong Delta.
October is breast cancer awareness month. At first glance this might not be considered a positive topic of conversation, but we encourage you to think again. In the 1950s the New York Times refused to place a breast cancer awareness ad in the paper as they wouldn’t print the word ‘breast’ and wanted to stay away from negative words like ‘cancer’. It wasn’t until the 1970s where famous women like Shirley Temple and Betty Ford (the President’s wife) talked openly about their journey with this disease that the taboo and shame around this subject started to dissipate.
Betty Ford – Breast Cancer Awareness Pioneer
Today you’ll most like see pink everywhere in support of this very important cause. The National Breast Cancer Foundation provides free mammograms to those in need, provides funding for impactful research and even created a website for women with breast cancer. Beyond The Shock is a website chock full of helpful information, answers questions and help women feel supported by their peers.
Cancer Society Breast Cancer Awareness Walk
There are tons of organizations that get involved with raising awareness for this noble cause and we’re so happy they do. Breast cancer incidences have decreased steadily each year since 2000. The number of deaths from this disease have decreased every year since 1989 as more and more women are saved by early detection found in a mammogram.
October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month
What will you do this month to show your support? At Nina Nguyen Designs we’ll be wearing pink all month long. One in eight women in the United States is affected by breast cancer. It’s a disease that affects us all. Join us in the fight for a cure!