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“I have always been inspired by nature, it’s where I go to reconnect with the world, to be at peace, it makes me happy,” says Daniela Villegas, the LA-based jeweller behind the brand that bears her name.
Originally from Mexico, Daniela channels her curiosity for nature’s nuances into whimsical and innovated pieces. Many of her influences come from her childhood. She grew up surrounded by strong women such as her glamorous jewellery-loving great-grandmother for whom it seems, life was one long fiesta.
Today, Daniela weaves that fun-loving element into each of her fine jewellery creations, which include a glittering array of spikey porcupines, crab and insect motifs. At her LA studio, she sketches pieces of wood, feathers… pebbles. It is almost as if the contents of an old curiosity cabinet has been opened and scattered about her desk. Then there are her favourite curios of all, brightly coloured beetles, preserved over the years in glass display boxes. For her, they are like living jewels, or as she says: “In nature, every piece is one-of-a-kind.”
Elsewhere, the colours and traditions of Mexico provide the key to much of the symbolism in her work. Common themes include skeletons, which are linked to rebirth and reinvention. They can be seen in the outline of a chameleon perched on a beautifully carved stone in one of her necklaces. Mexican influences are also evident in beautifully bejewelled broaches and jewel-encrusted piñata earrings. The symbolic ‘Sisterhood’ collection is characterised by sculptural earrings and necklaces. Each one features a honeybee wearing a crown on top of their tiny heads to emphasise the theme of female empowerment.