Trend File: Daniela Villegas on the Animals That Inspire Her Designs

Los Angeles–based fine jewelry designer Daniela Villegas is known for creative, color-drenched designs inspired by the natural world, particularly animals and insects.

For her autumn/winter 2017 collection, Chromatic Paradise, she rendered a small zoo’s worth of creatures—from flamingos to coyotes—in gorgeous and whimsical ways.

The designs were largely inspired by Villegas’ Mexican roots, she says, adding, “My intention with this collection is to inspire and radiate a theme of empowerment, which leads to self-reliability, which in turn promotes respect and ultimately a peaceful-yet-dynamic and expanding existence.”

I asked the designer to share what she finds inspiring (visually or otherwise) about each animal in her latest kingdom of creatures.

The Crab
“I have always loved crabs. I love the design, the way they move (like a stiff dancing), the playful eyes. My grandpa was Cancer (Zodiac) and since he is not with us anymore, I wanted to have a little bit of him in my designs…At some point, crabs exchange their hard shells for another one, symbolizing a point of rebirth in their life cycle. This teaches us that to achieve happiness, it is important to let go of the old in order to give space to the new.”

The Snake
“I love this element in jewelry because it is very powerful, always a conversation piece. I’m using this animal as part of the Chromatic Paradise Collection that is inspired by my Mexican roots…Its undulating movement reminds [one of] the winding rivers, rolling hills, and tangled roots.”

The Beetle
“The beetle was sacred to the Ancient Egyptians as it was associated with the god of the rising sun. Part of the reason they can build such amazing colonies and structures is due to their ability to organize within a community.  A great lesson the beetle offers is its ability to work with others toward a common goal.”

“These pieces are inspired by the collaboration we’ve had with NBC Universal to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Jurassic Park.”

“The flamingo encourage us to be more vibrant and social, and to truly enjoy the company of others and take time out to play. I love these new pieces because part of their sales will go to the Fundación Pedro y Elena Hernández, [an organization that supports the restoration and protection of the environment].”

The Coyote
“The coyote is a teacher of hidden wisdom with a sense of humor. The spirit of the coyote reminds us to not take things too seriously and bring more balance between wisdom and playfulness.… I placed tiaras on the coyotes as a symbol of dignity. We are in constant change and growth. This growth must come in a way in which we honor and respect ourselves.”

(All jewelry by Daniela Villegas, prices on request. Images courtesy of Daniela Villegas.) 

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JCK Senior Editor

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