Nea Hildebolt has been making jewelry her whole life. However, her time as a jewelry designer really began after a year-long trip around the world brought her to Bali in 2002. Her collection has grown and expanded since then as she finds inspiration in what is happening in the world around her. She hopes her designs become a legacy of spreading positive messages and creating beautiful, wearable art.
She was introduced to Robert Goodman Jewelers through a mutual friend and has since become good friends with Bob and his family.
Tell a little about yourself
My name is Nea Hildebolt and I was born in Ohio but grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. I went to university at Washington University in St Louis to study English Literature and Philosophy. After graduating I bought a round-the world ticket and started travelling through Fiji, Australia, New Zealand and then to South-East Asia.
After six months I decided to stay in Bali for the remaining six months and met someone selling boulder opals. I bought a few and had them set in silver by a local silversmith, brought them home and sold them. Three months later I was back in Bali making more jewelry and that was in 2002. I have been making jewelry ever since.
Why did you become a designer?
I have always loved jewelry as an artistic medium because it is something very personal and you can carry it with you. Since I was a little girl when I had to give presents for birthdays or holidays I always made people jewelry. It seemed like something I could put my love, attention and creativity into and whomever was receiving the gift knew they had been given something made with love and intention.
I personally love jewelry, what it means, and the amazing diversity of gemstones from nature. Designing jewelry has now become a way for me to share the way I view the world, through an artistic medium whether by incorporating inspiring words, elegant designs, incredible gemstones, or fun symbols.
What influences your collection and style?
I am influenced by whatever speaks or moves me. My designs change as I do, and my journey and the things inspiring me on that journey are always reflected in what I create.
For example, I have found the last few years a period of great change and personal reinvention, and there have been difficult times for me emotionally. I gravitated at first to the lotus symbol, inspiring me to rise above the challenged, and lately that has shifted to the tree of life, reminding me to stay firmly grounded so I can rise up higher to create and recreate a new and better self.
What does your collection mean to you?
Currently my collection is rooted in symbolism for protection and inspiration. I meet a lot of people from all over the world where I live, and everyone has a journey they are on both physically and metaphorically. In this collection I focused on using symbols connected to nature so that when people wear them they have a reminder to help them feel connected no matter where they are. They style is very rustic and earthy to reflect this.
How do you hope your collection affects others?
I hope they feel inspired and touched deeply by whatever symbol resonates with them, and this has a positive effect on their lives by reminding them where their dreams and journey are leading them, and that this brings them joy and peace in their lives.