Saturday, December 5, 2009


We visit Massachusetts' Smith College Botanic Garden, which has a long, layered history that played out over the course of 115 years. The study of horticulture was already a fixture at Smith College many years prior to the addition of a botanic garden. Massachusetts is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designers Nina Brandin Jones.

As I touched on in my post for Taiwanese designer Sadie Wang, the impact of subtle, understated jewelry items can get lost, and not seem as exciting as their more eye-catching counterparts.

However, where metalsmithing is concerned  the techniques and skill required to produce an elaborate piece are the same techniques and skill needed to create a less elaborate one.

Like Wang, Jones' range includes classic, elegant forms fashioned from sterling silver to more intricate, one-of-a-kind items in gold, silver, moonstone and carved coral.

In one degree or another, the North Bennet Street School (NBSS) alumna implemented tools like hammers, files, soldering irons, and buffing wheels in creating both types of designs.

Presently living in Colorado, Jones began creating precious metal jewelry during her early teen years, and while attending NBSS she learned everything from "cabochon and faceted stone settings" to "metal forming techniques." Once she developed her repertoire of jewelry making skills, Jones established her company Nina's Jewelry.

Aside from creating designs inspired by her surroundings, Jones also creates custom ordered pieces including wedding and engagement rings.

She also gives a lot of her time and energy to developing the talent of others by generously providing aspiring jewelry artists with customized, jewelry-making lessons that address different skill levels from beginner to advanced.

For more on Jones' classic designs, check out her page at
Photo 1 (top right): 14-Karat Gold and Sterling Silver Triangular Fossilized Coral Pendant
Photo 2 (center): Sterling Silver Swirl Earrings
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