If you’re looking for something to knock the socks off the rest of your jewellery box, Daniela Villegas jewellery might just be it! Using precious metals and richly-hued gemstones, combined with an eclectic variety of materials including leather, beetle shells and beach pebbles, each of Villagas’ permanent collections and unique pieces has a link to her outgoing way of life and connection with nature. We caught up with the Mexico-based jeweller for a chat about pasta beads, insects, heirlooms and sisterly love.
Adorn Jewellery Blog: As an avid explorer and traveler, how did you first get into jewellery design and manufacture?
Daniela Villegas: Jewellery has always been a part of my life. I used to play with my twin sister and pretend we were princesses wearing my great-grandmother’s jewellery. We could spend hours doing just that. I have always been drawn to bling and shine.
AJB: You believe that ‘life is a playground’. Do you aspire to inject this motto into your jewellery designs?
DV: My jewellery journey started with me using pasta and plastic beads. That evolved to pebbles, garnets and silver charms, and now to 18K gold and precious stones. I take my work very seriously but that “playing” part hasn’t changed a bit. I’m always looking to have fun with what I do, to create a perfect balance between creativity and sophistication. And yes, my intention is for all of my pieces to have a message of playfulness and joy.
AJB: Every piece you create is a one-of-a kind article yet part of a permanent collection. How do your customers respond to the ownership of such a unique piece?
DV: So far so good. It is always a pleasure to receive emails or notes from happy clients that share stories about their pieces. The ultimate goal when I create a jewel is that the piece will take you into a dream. I want to create jewellery that, after some, time can be an heirloom and that you can use to create memories than can be passed from generation to generation. This is how I fell in love with jewellery and I would love for my pieces to have that same effect on the people that buy it.
AJB: Do you enjoy using traditional methods and materials, or more modern techniques?
DV: I try to use the technique that is best for the idea, a combination of traditional and new technologies. Everything starts from a dream and some research, the symbolism I want to impregnate in the piece, the story behind it and then I sketch and make 3D moulds to show a better idea of what I have to my jewellery team. I don’t craft the jewellery myself, but I have a team of incredible artisans with whom I’ve been working for several years that helps me to create the final piece. We operate like a family, we support each other all the time.
AJB: You use precious metals and stones in your work, as well as natural, less expensive objects. Which are your favourite materials?
DV: One of my favorite stones to work with are opals, because of the range of light in the stone and the way you can see the rainbows inside them. I also love to work with the actual shells of insects. It is a great material with such an incredible energy and variety of color and textures.
AJB: Each design portrays your personality through being unique, charismatic and colourful. Have you ever made a piece, and ended up keeping it for yourself?
DV: I only make jewellery that I would want to wear myself, however I rarely keep something. The pieces that I own have very symbolic stones and different meanings.
Every birthday I design a piece for my sister and myself. I pay for hers and she pays for mine. Sometimes when my family is thinking about what gift to give me, they call one of my stone dealers and buy some gems from him, that way I need to create something special to celebrate by myself, that I cannot sell.
Interview: Lauren Rowden