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Doin' It for Themselves

© Daniela Millan Designs

Unlike most designers, jewelry designer Daniela Millan does not have a background in design. Her education was in finance, and she first moved to the U.S. from Venezuela to work for a bank in Chicago. Then, she moved New York. By day, she was in a Midtown skyscraper, working as a financial advisor for a Chilean bank. On the weekends, she was a bit closer to earth, selling her jewelry at a table at an NYC market. 

She has always, always designed. But it wasn't a business until recently, when her sister Lorena took a look at the pieces that Daniela was creating and saw some affinity between them. She suggested to her sister that it was time to create a collection.

The designs are very much alike, but not so that they're redundant. Rather, each piece is surprising in its beauty and simplicity. Almost everything in the collection is made of crocheted artist's wire (plated in either silver or gold) and semi-precious stones. The result is a kind of bird's nest of metal and stone. But, rather than being hard and heavy, the pieces are very delicate. The look is chic, sleek and even daring.

Lorena (left) talks to Daniela via Skype. Daniela, who lives in Mexico City, makes every piece in the collection by hand, while Lorena, who lives stateside, works on building her sister's brand. / Lauren Doyle / MFb© Lauren Doyle / MFbLorena (left) talks to Daniela via Skype. Daniela, who lives in Mexico City, makes every piece in the collection by hand, while Lorena, who lives stateside, works on building her sister's brand.Daniela likes to make large, statement pieces. Pieces that stand out, and stand up, on their own. 

"I like to make pieces that make you say 'wow,'" she says.

Her personal style is much more demure. She wears post earrings, a single necklace, and a simple gold wedding band. (Which makes sense for someone who spends her days crocheting metal.)

Still, she says, "It depends on my mood. I like to wear red lipstick, but I don't wear it every day."

For some women then, Daniela's designs are the red lipstick of their jewelry box. For others, like Lorena, who likes big, bold pieces, the designs are perfect for the everyday.

"They're so light and comfortable to wear," Lorena, who's wearing a large but delicate ring made from silver-plated artist's wire, matching earrings and a gorgeous Daniela Millan headband, says. "You can wear a big piece and still feel comfortable because it's very delicate."

Lorena, who handles marketing for the company out of her Brickell home, has worked on getting Daniela's pieces in select boutiques in Miami and beyond. They're available locally at ISA Boutique and Joanna Paige in Mary Brickell Village, and online at Ole Unlimited, an online collection of select female designers from Latin America.

Next, Lorena plans to bring the brand to Europe. Daniela, meanwhile, wants to expand her bejeweled headpieces into a bridal line. The headpieces, which combine the crocheted wire with semi-precious stones in flower and leaf formations, are perfectly suited for a modern, fashion-forward bride. Or anyone who likes to have a bit of fun, for that matter. 

The entire line, Lorena says, is "for a girl who likes to be elegant and fun at the same time. It's not for everyone. It's for the chic, minimalistic and sophisticated."

Case in point: Daniela recently helped accessorize the models during Aquarella's MBFW runway show. The models looked stunning in Daniela's bold, minimalistic designs.

See the designs yourself at DanielaMillan.com.

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