Nicola Nakase is a new emerging jewelry designer based out of Santa Monica, CA. Her jewelry incorporates wire wrapping techniques with semi-precious stones. The designs are modern, fresh, and elegant; inspired by the beaches of Hawaii and the lifestyle of Southern California.
As a child, Nicola has always been involved with arts and crafts. At an early age, she had a passion for creating things with her hands and loved to design and be creative. In her childhood, she learned to crochet from her grandmother, made scrapbooks with her sisters, and learned to sew from her mom.
Years later, her father involved Nicola with sports as a teenager. While playing basketball for 10 years, she incurred several sports injuries and consequently months of rehab. Combining her love of working with her hands, knowledge of sports injuries, and compassion for people; Nicola went to college to become a physical therapist. In 2002, she received her doctorate of physical therapy from the University of Southern California. Since graduating, Nicola has worked in several clinics in Los Angeles treating professional athletes, dancers, actors, and motion picture crews.
While looking for a creative outlet from work, Nicola began taking knitting classes in 2004. However, she became impatient with the days it took to finish one piece. Her attention was then diverted to a wire wrapping class at a community college. Since the class, Nicola was off and running to various bead stores, and gem shows.
Wahine, meaning 'Hawaiian girl,' serves as a source of inspiration for the designs. The concept of Wahine Jewelry stems from Nicola's family roots. Nicola has been visiting Hawaii every year since she was a little girl. The beauty of the Hawaiian landscape, people and culture has helped to create the designs. She has intertwined modern, clean lines with tropical beach lifestyle in her collections.