Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Gemstones and carpools--in the "studio" with jewelry designer Valerie Nahmani

With her jewelry featured in national fashion magazine, Marie Claire, and regular weekend stints in Bloomingdale's Chevy Chase last winter, one would think that Bethesda jewelry designer Valerie Nahmani, the force behind jewelry company VND, would be ensconced in some high-tech studio, with a team of people helping to get the product out. Not so. I recently had the good fortune to get a behind-the-scenes look at a successful jewelry designer, who has fashioned a career much like the rest of us--around her children, carpools and naps--and doing it all from her dining room.

When I visited her "studio," it was during working hours, so she worked straight through our entire chat. "Working hours" are a precious commodity. She squeezes in designing and creating her beautiful jewelry while her kids are at school. Her studio is open and accessible to the rest of her house and filled with all tools and materials necessary for her creations. During my visit, she was getting pieces ready to sell at a festival taking place the very next day. 

I admire her multi-tasking abilities almost as much as her creativity.

She has found her niche with druzy stones, unpolished natural stones that sparkle and glint like crystals. Her eclectic mix of materials--beads, natural stones, leather and gold--and creative, eye-catching designs have been a recipe for success. All from a former marketing executive with no formal art training. Eventually, Valerie made the decision to stay home with her children fulltime. Needing something to do, she started making bracelets for her friends, which caught on. Now her designs span the gamut to pendant necklaces, chokers, bracelets and rings.  Peruse the collection at

While I need an office sequestered from any living creatures except my cat, Valerie can stay focused in the midst of family life and chatty bloggers.