The process of selecting a long-term jewelry item is a highly personal one; a trendy piece that looks incredible on someone else may not turn out to satisfy your expectations, have meaning for you, or give off that must-have feeling that's so important and exciting. With that in mind, the experience of trying on a creation from designer/artist Adina Mills will totally transform not only the way you relate to jewelry in general, but will forever awaken your senses to the intimate nature of buying wearable art from someone who put a tremendous amount of love and energy into making it for you. We realize how it sounds, but trust us: when you put on the piece that you're meant to have, you'll just know.
Adina's jewelry blurs the line between fashion and art, seamlessly blending urban and organic elements through her design process and choice of materials, which always includes a spectacular crystal or gemstone specimen (Mills likes to keep them as raw as she possibly can), serving as the heartbeat for each piece. After taking a sculpture class where she discovered that clay could support the weight of the magnificent minerals she wanted to use, Adina developed her signature method of setting the stones and spray-painting the base, giving her work a beach-meets-city vibe that's one part hip-hop graffiti art and one part cosmic queen.
What began over ten years ago as a passion project has turned into a full-blown brand—Shopbop came knocking a few years back—and you can find Adina's work on her website, along with top-notch, avant-garde boutiques like Roseark, Totokaelo in Seattle, and Brooklyn's Bird, among others. Mills herself tends to be as hard to pin down as her pieces; she's constantly on the move, but as an LA native, continually finds herself drawn to the peace of the Pacific and the salty deserts that surround the city. We were able to catch her briefly between travels to get a little more information about her inspirations and the brand.
Where in SoCal do you feel the most inspired?
Mostly in the desert, but pretty much any outdoor space in SoCal gets my juices flowing! I love sitting up at the top of Mulholland between Laurel and Coldwater Canyons and looking out over the valley. I've been going up there regularly for peace and quiet since I was a kid. Also, every chance I get, I cruise through Topanga Canyon and go to Topanga beach; it's my favorite beach in all of Los Angeles. And last, my parents backyard, in the house I grew up in in North Hollywood. So many memories and such a safe, happy place for me.
What goes into selecting the amazing minerals you use?
A connection of some sort, whether it be energetic or merely aesthetic, I have to be moved by the piece and feel it deeply.
How therapeutic/cathartic is the creation process for you?
My creation time is my therapy and meditation, and takes me to a calm space.
Do you ever get too attached to a piece to let it go?
Absolutely! Hence my wall of necklaces and boxes upon boxes of rings and things! Sometimes I am so in love with the piece, and even if I never wear it I just can't stand the idea of it not being around me anymore.
Any hints about upcoming designs?
Lots of vintage incorporation, and '90s vibes!