Entering Daniela Villegas’ Hollywood studio is like being in a curio box of sorts. There’s a wall of colorful butterflies, beetles and bugs mounted in glass boxes, and tiny quail and fish skeletons pieced together on wooden stands. These items are often the basis for her fine jewelry collection, which sells on Net-a-porter and in stores like Roseark for $1,875 to $39,000. Her “Backyard” collection, inspired by insects, incorporates real iridescent beetle heads with matching precious stones, and her “Rebirth” collection features tiny 18-karat gold animal skeletons with moving parts and gemstone eyes made from lost wax molds that are hand-carved in her downtown Los Angeles workshop.
For spring 2016, which she will show in Paris from Saturday through Tuesday, Villegas created more baubles on these themes, such as tiny, rose gold ants atop a tourmaline cabochon that looks like a cake on a lacy gold doily. Other items she pulls out of her red leather case include rainbow sapphire trapeze earrings and large carved pendants on delicate body chains. Her next collection will include pieces inspired by her recent trip to Peru. She toyed with some native woven bracelets that she plans to recreate with precious stones. “I’m always picking things up along the way,” she said. “My husband [furniture designer Sami Hayek] jokes that our place is turning into a little museum.”