Located in Albufeira, they offer jewellery workshops and crash courses which are perfect for those living here or on holiday!
You can find Nini Jewellery Workshop in a small courtyard at Centro Comercial Cerro Novo on Rua Samora Barros in Albufeira. The perfect spot that is not too far from shops and restaurants and moreover the sea, as I was quickly met by seagulls as I made my way across the courtyard!
Nini Jewellery Workshop opened its doors in November and has rave reviews so I had to speak with owner and Portuguese jeweller, Selénia Mcdaid (also known as Nini) to find out more.
When asked about her favourite jewellery to make, Selénia told me that she “loves to experiment, and loves tropical, beach, holiday themes.” Adding that, “I go from upcycling, to futuristic to even making more simple pieces. It is really playful; I love textures so I like to use textures from nature and then create something not so obvious with it.”
Nini Jewellery Workshop is suitable for children from 8 years old and adults whether you are a complete beginner or a jeweller. “I am happy to teach young ones and I do both solo and group sessions. We do a lot of mother-daughter bonding and home-schooling sessions and I also offer a crash course if you want to do more than one session.”
Selénia’s workshops are undoubtedly unique. “I realised that my workshops have changed a lot, they are very organic and intuitive workshops, my students say that I don’t have boundaries when it comes to creating and that I encourage their creativity. I am really encouraging because that excites me as well. We are all different so we are going to want to make different things and I think that is the difference here.”
The short-day workshops are designed to give people a taste of jewellery making and ideal for those wanting to learn something new. You will learn a couple of traditional techniques while making a simple piece of jewellery, with stacking rings tending to be popular.
The full day workshops are more in depth and creativity leads the way due to time, so they are ideal for those wanting a full experience, you learn traditional silversmith techniques and you can have fun designing and creating your own unique piece of jewellery, (whether that be a ring, earrings, necklace or bracelet.
Selénia told me that “I don’t think you need to become a jeweller to be able to actually make things. My objective is to teach people and find out what they want to make and help them achieve that. I believe you can learn at your own pace so I also make silver kits so people can also start at home.”
A Gem of a Jeweller
Selénia was born in Africa and they came back to Portugal when the war started and were based in Lisbon. Selénia told me she was “a rebellious teen and her love for travelling, especially around Asia.” She went on to tell me that her mum, a textiles teacher, actually saw that she had a knack for making jewellery as she would always be making something from spoons and electric wires so said “why don’t you do a jewellery course.” Which is exactly what Selénia did, she found a hands-on course called Direct Contact in Lisbon, which she loved. Following this, Selénia moved to England doing further courses in Hertfordshire and Bristol and also ended up doing an art course although she was already a jeweller at this point. Following this she did more travelling around Asia and Brazil and then moved to Lisbon with her partner, opened her own studio, and started teaching and creating her own workshops as they welcomed their son.
Selénia wanted to travel again and was thinking where she could start her own business, and her friends were going to Bali, so she thought this was the perfect combination so she moved there in 2009 “I loved Bali, and seeing my son walking around bare foot, and just the excitement of being alive. I started speaking Indonesian and finding different jeweller. It is a really creative hub; everybody is an artist and they are really gentle people.”
In 2018, Selénia decided to move back to Portugal to be with her family. They had an apartment in the Algarve “I thought coming from Bali this may be the least cultural shock we will have and a place that had such history to me and following the pandemic I opened my studio here.”
The Magic of Jewellery Making
I did a half-day session with Selénia, which did not disappoint. Due to the time we opted for two stacking rings with the first one being a twisted one, Selénia showed me how to use all the various forms of equipment and some of the different silver smith processes including how to use pliers, hammering with different stamps, soldering and filing. Experiencing making jewellery really lets you see how much work goes into just one simple stacking ring and it made me appreciate it even more.
I found my experience with Selénia fantastic, she is such a great teacher and really knowledgeable and explains the jewellery making process step by step in quite a lot of detail, even giving little tricks of the trade. I found as a beginner, it was easy to follow and Selénia is an expert at guiding you through each process and takes the utmost care when it comes to health and safety. I was super impressed with the whole workshop and I was really happy with how my stacking rings turned out. It is so special to be able to take home something you have made.
Selénia is a talented jeweller and also does commissions for any kind of jewellery, so please do reach out to her if you are interested as she has really beautiful unique pieces. Selénia is also establishing her own jewellery brand here in the Algarve, she revealed that she would like have a show room to showcase her brand and that she really likes working with other people so she would like to do more collaborations with fellow jewellers.
For more information and to book your workshop please email Selénia Mcdaid at email@example.com or alternatively to keep up to date with her jewellery brand please check out https://www.facebook.com/ninijewelleryworkshop and @ninijewelleryworkshop on Instagram.