Nina Nguyen grew up in Central Vietnam surrounded by a family of jewelers and oldsmiths. Her mother’s trading post was where locals came to sell gold panned from the Buon Ma Thuot river; later, this gold would be used to create gorgeous pieces by Nina’s uncle.
In the late 1980s, her family’s jewelry business was confiscated and her father was arrested and vanished for several years. Seeking a better life, Nina’s mother made the decision to immigrate to America, with 11-year-old Nina and her five siblings. After a one-year stay in the Philippines, they eventually settled in the Tampa Bay, FL area.
Nina adapted to life in the U.S. quickly. She attended the University of South Florida, and her first career was in finance. But her creative side hungered for more. So she hit pause on this chapter to take a backpacking trip through India, a 10-week adventure that ended up redirecting her focus. Mesmerized by the raw gemstones she came across—luscious, vibrant, and expertly faceted—Nina was inspired to return to her roots.
She began with intricate hand woven crochet necklaces made of gold and silver wire, and found that she remembered techniques she had learned from her family—enough to compel her to forgo a promising future in finance and pursue her dream of designing a jewelry collection.
Now based in Denver, CO, where she also has a showroom, the gorgeous Rocky Mountain landscape is endlessly inspiring to her. The location also makes trips to Vietnam, where Nina has thoughtfully chosen to set up her business’s design and production studio, something she can do with greater frequency.
“My story is one that combines pure entrepreneurship; a lot of hardship, sacrifice, and long hours, with plenty of risk and reward,” says Nina. “I have endured all of this, and absorbed everything the journey has taught me to create unique, colorful designs my customers love wearing.”
Our Jewelry – Versatile, Convertible, Addictive
Every piece in the Nina Nguyen Designs collection is created to be stacked, layered and converted into a range of looks. The affordability, as well as the way the pieces work together, make it easy to collect multiple pieces. Nina Nguyen’s current collection includes over 500 SKUs offered in recycled 18k gold, or in vermeil, sterling silver and black oxidized silver.
Our most popular pieces are our convertible earrings, an intricate, patent-pending system of gemstone or diamond-set metal charms that can thread onto hoops, wrap bracelets or necklaces. Customers tend to start with a textured metal or gemstone-accented hoop offered in a number of sizes, and then can add, or be gifted, individual charms to personalize their look. The charms can also be worn on necklaces or bracelets.
Our best-selling “necklettes” are long beaded gemstone necklaces that can be worn as a single strand, doubled-up, or as a wrap bracelet. The necklettes pair perfectly with handmade layering chains and also stack beautifully with our popular hinged-bangles (available in four sizes).
Delicate stacking rings, available in 18k gold and sterling silver, round out the collection.
Our jewelry is all about quality and versatility. These are everyday pieces that can be stacked together to create bold, dramatic looks allowing each woman to find and express her own unique style. And change it up with her mood or outfit—we have everything from neutral moonstones and labradorite, to carnelian and lapis for color addicts. Our geode series is perfect for modern bohemians who like an organic look, but also a little glamour and intrigue.
Corporate Social Responsibility
With the rapid growth of our brand, we needed to be thoughtful about how to produce our collection in a cost-effective manner—without compromising quality, or our ability to deliver to our expanding group of retail partners in a timely manner. Nina traveled to Thailand, India and China in search of a manufacture, but did not find what she was looking for. The factories did not satisfy a holistic approach to handmade jewelry design and manufacturing. It then occurred to her to visit her native Vietnam, where her family helped establish a jewelry workshop committed to quality, employee growth, sustainability, and other values that are important to the Nina Nguyen Designs brand.
“I have always believed that products should be made in a manner that benefits everyone involved,” says Nina. “I would love for my jewelry to bring this message: That people should always be concerned with where the things they purchase come from, who made them, where the materials came from, how long they will last, and what will become of it when its life is over. With consumer awareness of these issues at an all-time high, I am proud to make these concerns a priority for my brand and I know my customers appreciate it, too.”