Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Coil Ring with Smoky Quartz
One of Brazil’s top attractions, located in Rio de Janeiro, is the quartz and granite monolith called Sugarloaf Mountain. 

Standing nearly 1300 feet the mountain obtained its name due to its resemblance to a pile of sugar.  Brazil is also the ancestral home to design team Erica Pacey and Alessandra Feio.

Gold-filled accents offset the coppery glow of brass in a pair of statement making earrings; a chunky agate gemstone is a stunning focal point of a gold ring; and gleaming briolettes take center stage in elegant pendant necklaces. 

Of course that is a summary of the alternately bohemian, organic and classic items featured in Pacey and Feio’s vivacious designer jewelry brand Nugaard Designs

“My family was in the tourism business in Brazil,” says Feio, “so access to international fashion was easy.  When my mom traveled around the world for business, she would bring back exquisite clothes and accessories.

Playing dress up in my mom’s closest was my favorite pastime as a kid.  Dresses, jewelry, make-up, perfume was how my love affair began.  Pure Heaven.”

Pacey’s story is not dissimilar.  “My passion began in my home country, Brazil, where I grew up surrounded by the diversity of gems and natural elements,” she says.  “I get inspiration from a variety of things . . . from a leaf on a tree, a Moroccan lamp, a Greek amulet, or just colors from different gems.”

The irony is neither Pacey nor Feio pursued a career in fashion or jewelry design; however their career trajectories did parallel each other.  Pacey obtained a degree in Communications and Marketing while Feio holds degrees in Marketing and International Business.
Gold Plated Cuff Bracelet
with Bubble-Cut Gemstones

Though both women were employed with large, powerful corporations they felt an inner stirring egging them towards their true heart’s desire.  “I worked in the corporate world for a worldwide, leading sports company, but I always felt something was missing in my life.  In my spare time I made jewelry—I had always made jewelry as a pastime,” Pacey recalls.

“When my jewelry got the attention of friends and family, I decided to start selling my pieces.  We are based in Miami, Florida and a few boutiques started calling about my jewelry.  It was then I decided to make jewelry full-time.  I called Alex—we were friends—and I told her to come work with me to build Nugaard Designs.”

The duo’s affordable jewelry collections are definitely for the woman who likes to take it up a notch and who wants her jewelry noticed.  There is a wonderful play of materials like a tiny mesh of gold chains that partially cover a raw agate stone or the gentle drape of bubble-cut semi-precious gemstones dangling from a cuff bracelet.

Even Brazil’s own Golden Grass is beautifully incorporated in earrings, bangle bracelets, and necklaces.  “Golden Grass is a type of natural grass that only grows in northwest Brazil and can only be picked once a year,” says Pacey. 

“Golden Grass is one of the main sources of income for local communities.  We design the pieces and have the pieces made exclusively by local Brazilian artisans who weave the blades.

Geode Pendant Necklace
I love to create jewelry that is flattering to women, makes them feel good and really stands out.

Our designs reflect a harmonious blend of past and present; primitive and cosmopolitan; diversity and elegance.”

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