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Designs by Alina:  Handcrafted jewelry fabricated with gold, pave diamonds, and choice pearls for the sophisticated modern-classic woman. Beauty and inspiration forever entwined. Lifestyle blog on design, travel, fashion, family.



Designs by Alina Lifestyle Magazine

Blog, Travel, family, interior design, jewelry design and fashion.



Filtering by Tag: Designs by Alina

New 18K solid gold jewels inspired by modern art

Alina de Albergaria


Whether it is a piece of jewelry, my home, or wardrobe, I have always favored the juxtaposition of the avant-garde and classic over mainstream trend. There is something very alluring about moving forward with a nod to the past while honing one’s own style. Since its inception four years ago, Designs by Alina has embraced that philosophy as well as the ideas that beauty and inspiration should forever be entwined and that quality should never be compromised for the sake of design. Today I am thrilled to take those notions even further with the introduction of our 18K Gallery Collection. 

It has been very rewarding to collaborate over the years with nonprofits from coast to coast. Our most recent partnership with The Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation, "Influential Women in Art and Design" is unique in that this new collection is inspired by art and designed precisely to benefit the very community that galvanized it. We are grateful to the foundation's Executive Director, Frederick Janka, for the months of preparation leading up to the launch and honored to support those who help immortalize a moment in time, a moment in culture, through their commitment to create.

When I set out to design this first conceptual collection in the series, I had six goals in mind:

  1. Use high karat gold which is unparalleled for its richness in color and texture.
  2. Juxtapose modern art with the look of ancient gold.
  3. Fabricate a cohesive collection that is in equal measure meaningful and stunning. 
  4. Each heirloom quality piece to be fabricated by hand in my beloved state.
  5. Donate a percentage of proceeds at each launch and private event to organizations that support the arts.
  6. Collaborate with galleries and museums to propel their work.

About the first collection in this artist inspired series…

When Frederick turned my attention to Xaviera Simmons, recently named by Elle Magazine as “one of the most powerful women in art today,” known for her multimedia exhibits at MoMA, The Guggenheim and MCA Chicago among many museums, I was captivated. The moment I saw the piece below: Untitled (Green), I knew I had found my inspiration.

Xaviera Simmons  Untitled  (Green), 2016 - Photo courtesy of the artist and The Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation

Xaviera Simmons Untitled (Green), 2016 - Photo courtesy of the artist and The Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation

Uncovered  ring - 18K solid gold and white diamonds hand-forged in California

Uncovered ring - 18K solid gold and white diamonds hand-forged in California

I knew very little about the artist when I designed Uncovered (above) but as the days and weeks progressed my obsession to understand the mind behind the work sent me on a quest to unearth everything I could on Simmons. The internet became my best friend offering a plethora of insightful podcasts, videos, interviews, and of course, images of her work, each new revelation fueling my own creativity.

When we met, I was delighted to learn that she is a kindred spirit of sorts with whom I share many interests and views. While we have both been infused with an insatiable need to create (Xaviera describes herself as “restless” when it comes to filling that need) I also discovered that her desire to carve out meaning as it relates to culture, spirit, and landscape, is suspended somewhere between past, present and future, a theme that runs deep in her ever evolving work. That fusion of nostalgia with the unexpected has been a topic of interest to me since childhood, especially as our family was uprooted so often. This is just one of the many ways I feel connected to Simmons’ work.

The rest of the collection was inspired, not only by her works, but by the conversations that followed. Our Cocoon necklace, for example, incorporates elements from Around the Y, (2010) as well as conversations Xaviera and I shared about the preservation of culture and being home. 

Xaviera Simmons,  Around the Y , 2010 - Photo courtesy of the artist and The Modern Notes Podcast

Xaviera Simmons, Around the Y, 2010 - Photo courtesy of the artist and The Modern Notes Podcast

Cocoon  necklace - 18K solid gold hand-forged in California

Cocoon necklace - 18K solid gold hand-forged in California

While the necklace below Canyon, draws inspiration from Simmons’ love of landscape, our Migration earrings, spawn from conversations revolving around the theme of migration and Simmons’ work Superunknown (Alive In The) (2010).

Xaviera Simmons,  Canyon , 2010 - Photo courtesy of the artist and The Modern Notes Podcast

Xaviera Simmons, Canyon, 2010 - Photo courtesy of the artist and The Modern Notes Podcast

Canyon  necklace, 18K solid sold, hand-forged in California

Canyon necklace, 18K solid sold, hand-forged in California

Migration  earrings, hand-forged in California with 18K solid gold

Migration earrings, hand-forged in California with 18K solid gold

Discover the full collection here: 18K Gallery Collection

With deep appreciation to Xaviera Simmons for the inspiration and wonderful conversations, to Frederick Janka for his friendship, support and laughter, and to the Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation for giving artists a wonderful platform from which to evolve.


Summer Pairings

Bernardo de Albergaria

Ready for summer? I'm not quite there but I'm sure getting in the mood with Elizabeth Charles's "Best of" list which is chock full of dreamy summer pairings. I'm particularly crazy about how our new opal and diamond necklace pairs with those edgy Carbon and Hyde earrings and Faith Connexion dress. It's a summer match made in Ms. Charles' heaven!

Designs by Alina, Faith Connexion, Carbon and Hyde

So if you're in San Francisco, head on over to Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights' for summer inspirations from Elizabeth Charles boutique and many others along the way. 

Six things I discovered about Australia (and a few I already knew)

Bernardo de Albergaria

Beautiful Victorian with filligree balcony in Melbourne

Beautiful Victorian with filligree balcony in Melbourne

No koala sitings. No kangaroo trekking. No snorkeling or endless reading on sandy beaches, nope! Following months on end of jam-packed schedules (work and children) my better half and I were in neither an overly active nor overly restful state of mind. Unable to completely pull away from our creative endeavors, we found ourselves in a "loungey-city" mood for lack of a better word, and indulged it by weaving our way through Sydney and Melbourne along whichever street happened to strike our fancy, some hidden, some not. And it was just puuurrrrrfect.

Australia is the sixth continent I am fortunate enough to have visited and it is easy to fall in love. I knew that the Opera House was beautiful, that the feel, much like Southern Calfornia, would be relaxed, that the weather was temperate, that they drove on the left, and that kangaroos were largely considered pests. Ah, but there is so much more to the land down under.

1. The Aussies know how to make a good cup of coffee.

“Two what?” I ask puzzled on the heels of Bernordo’s “two flat whites please.” He correctly states that I will love what he just ordered: a perfect cross between a cappuccino and a latte. Served up with a smile, the flat white never disappoints. Not with the taste. Not with the presentation. And there are popups everywhere.

2. The Sydney Opera House is not just beautiful, it is exquisite.

Sure, we have all seen photos of the giant building reminiscent of white sails, but believe me when I say they are, well, just photos. The magnificence of the structure is impossible to portray for three reasons:

  • Every view is a surprise in a Forest Gump box of chocolates sort of way. One minute you are touching a sun scorched curved surface, and the next you are on the floor trying to capture the perfect shot. After you've clicked a hundred times you take it all in again with selfish eyes that share the glory with none other than your own swooning heart. 
  • The beauty is in equal parts structure and setting. With the imposing Harbour Bridge in view, the Opera House stands in all its glory and is arguably as stunning when viewed from the water, where an intimate outdoor concert venue and amusement park remind us that there is no backdrop quite as enchanting as the sea. 
  • It’s Day and Night. Literally. You will become so entranced by the natural and man-made beauty on your first stroll, you’ll want to return at night. We choose to enjoy the "set changes" offered by the vanishing sunlight as night fell. The entire scene, beautifully enhanced by lights on the glistening surface and above, deemed us grateful for having been able to witness such veritable beauty.

And that was just the beginning. The highlight of our trip was enjoying Madama Butterfly in its penultimate night with Japanese soprano Hiromi Omura whose powerfully emotional portrayal of Cio Cio San brought me to tears. Our preordered interval drinks were served up with breathtaking views of the Harbour. We exited the theatre to a grand finale of fireworks making our romantic evening rival any other on Earth.

On gratitude

Bernardo de Albergaria

The de Albergaria family in Siena

I need to work on "untearing" myself. Or not. Perhaps feeling torn is part of what makes us stop and appreciate the mere fact that we have options. We can be torn about where to go on vacation or what child to take with us on a new adventure; about whether to go on a cleanse or whom to meet for dinner. I've been in countries where choices are limited and am reminded of this often.

They say that with age comes acceptance but what age has given me is a prism through which most of life can be interpreted, embraced. Not to say that the prism is always within reach, but I try to keep it close, put it to good use and be grateful all the while.

Tessalina, our daughter, embracing life.

Take my trip to Australia for example. It is one of the many journeys I have shared with my better half, the man who every so often peels me away from Designs by Alina, from my children, and from my daily routine, to remind me that there is so much more of life to be shared, discovered. And yet when I hear my children's voices, I feel torn between wanting to share these new experiences with them and wanting to recharge my battery with the man I love. Those very choices galvanize gratitude and that is when I know my prism is within reach. 

So without further hesitation, I place my "mom hat" in repose and embrace the opportunity to be "half-a-traveling-duet" ready for a new discovery which I will share with you in my next post: Six things I discovered about Australia (and a few things I already knew). Stay tuned!