For as long as I can remember, I have been making jewelry and other crafts by hand. I grew up in Seattle, WA and went to college at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI. After graduating in 2014 with a BFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing, and a concentration in Nature, Culture, and Sustainability Studies, I moved back home to pursue a career in jewelry. Since then I have been creating jewelry in my studio in the International District, as well as working as a bench jeweler, and volunteering for the Seattle Metals Guild.
I constantly get asked "why jewelry?" and my best answer is, "I love making things that people love wearing." I really enjoy going to my studio with a piece of sheet metal, some wire, and some tools, and leaving with a finished, portable piece of art. I love the way jewelry interacts with the body, but also has a life of its own. I love the practicality of jewelry, as well as the limitless expression that accompanies it.
What Makes Nina Raizel Jewelry Special
The jewelry I make is based on conscious design, craft, and sustainability. These three focuses have always been a part of the way I design and create work, and will probably always guide me.
Conscious design means completely thinking out a piece of jewelry before I start making it. I sketch every detail of it on graph paper, calculate the amount of materials I will need, and work out any design flaws before I start fabricating. This step of my process ensures that the production of the piece goes smoothly.
Craft means fabricating jewelry with the utmost care and attention to detail. I don’t cut corners when I’m constructing a piece, because I want it to be durable, comfortable, and wearable for many years to come. Each piece I make is special, and doesn’t leave my studio unless I’m confident that it is perfectly crafted.
Sustainability means making the most of what I’ve got so that I have minimal impact on the earth, while improving the local and global jewelry communities. I buy recycled metal and paper, go to local tool and supply trade meet-ups, and save my silver and gold dust to be recycled. I do my best not to waste any resource no matter how precious or common it is.
Not only do I practice conscious design, craft, and sustainability in my studio, but as a way of life. I don’t own a car, I live in a small apartment building, and I buy materials and supplies locally as much as possible. I’m not perfect, but I do what I can to make the world a better place.
Design and Fabrication
Each piece of Nina Raizel Jewelry is designed and hand-crafted by me. I design pieces to be simple, elegant, and easy to wear. I want my pieces to make a statement without being over-the-top. I make very small batches of pieces (from 2 to 10 copies), to make the work more efficient, without sacrificing quality. Everything is cut by hand out of sheet metal or wire, with a jeweler’s saw. I solder pieces together with a mini torch and silver or gold solder, and then do other assembly work by hand and finishing work with my flex-shaft. In each of my designs, I let the materials speak for themselves, without over-designing or complicating them. I do just enough designing to make them unique and noticeable, but not too much that they dominate the wearer.
Custom work and Repairs
As a jeweler who is passionate about reusing and recycling everything, I am happy to repair or re-design jewelry to give it a new life. I want to give back to the wonderful community of jewelers and jewelry wearers by sharing my craft and designs. I think jewelry and art is so important to creating community and sharing ideas. I appreciate when people buy jewelry locally and support artists of all kinds. When your jewelry stops being meaningful to you, pass it on, or give it back to a jeweler to create a new work of art – don’t let it tarnish in your closet!