Women of Charlottesville

Highlighting the unique and diverse amazing women of Charlottesville, VA.

Ana Cavalheiro

This is Ana. Her sidekick, Gringo (a welsh terrier), is with her pretty much wherever she goes–so it’s only natural that he’s in most of her shots. Ana is an insanely talented and gifted jeweler who makes one-of-a-kind gorgeous pieces that always have me drooling–you’ll see some below. She is also an avid traveler with amazing photographs to prove it. She is fun and feisty–so full of depth and immense creativity! Plus and she has the most amazing Portuguese accent that you could just listen to all day long! Enjoy her interview!

us: So, Ana, tell us a little bit about yourself…

her: I’m a jewelry designer who creates bespoke jewelry with personal details. I’m also an avid traveler that loves to take photos ( that I usually don’t share) and like to taste new foods and cuisines ( which I will try to replicate or adapt when I come back home). 

us: What did you have for breakfast this morning?

her: Pedro (Ana’s husband) brought me a MarieBette baguette with butter and an americano.

us: Does pineapple belong on pizza?

her: Oh, please—no!

us: Do you sleep in your socks?

her: Yes! If my feet are cold, I get a cold.

us: What’s your go-to midnight snack?

her: Bread. But, it’s not a midnight snack; it’s an every hour snack. If there is bread in the house, I will eat it.

us: Mountains or beach?

her: Beach

us: Current favorite song?

her: “Dancing on the People” by Sofi Tucker

us: Salty or sweet?

her: Salty. My nick name is Salt Lick. I like sugar—but only if it’s coated with salt. My favorite cake has salt on it!

us: Pet peeve?

her: So many . . . I hate symbols that stratify you or put you in a box. Symbols that make you think to have to belong to a group—this can be logos or objects . . . Be your own person! In addition, arrogance, lack of humility, lack of transparency, lack of honesty . . .

us: Room entrance song?

her: “Piece of your heart (Alok remix)” by Meduza & Alok 

Ana (and gringo) hard at work in Ana’s studio.

us: Favorite place you’ve traveled to?

her: That’s hard. Each year it changes. Can I choose two? We just traveled to New Zealand, and I loved it. It’s beautiful! Love, love the people. It’s wild. I could live there. They love coffee. They have coffee in the most remote places. I’m not kidding . . . they’ll have like a little mini Marzocco in the back of a station wagon in the middle of a national park where you have to drive like three hours to find a small village. Those are my people—they know you need coffee—good coffee! You have your flat white in the middle of nowhere! The other place I would say is Patagonia.

us: What’s your favorite room in your house?

her: My kitchen. It’s where I spend most of my time. Being Portuguese you drink coffee at the counter. You get to the counter, and it’s a five minute thing—you ask for an espresso, you drink it and you’re off. You don’t hang around, and my kitchen feels like that. It has the counter, so it’s my space—but people can be at the counter having that espresso. Since it’s an open kitchen, it doesn’t feel like I’m in the kitchen; it just feels like I’m sharing my space.

us: Who has been the most influential woman in your life?

her: Many . . . my mom. She is a strong and independent woman. She’s always worked. My sister, as well. And, then, my boss at my first job–she was impressive. She was a good example of a business woman. A lot of my friends too. They’re professionals, they have their own businesses. They are their own person. Most of the women that are in my circle—they are all great examples.

us: What accomplishment are you most proud of?

her: I changed my life. I went from a more regular lifestyle—going to university–being an undergrad in Switzerland for economics in private banking to the unknown world of jewelry. And, that was weird and freaky and fun all at the same time!

Some of Ana’s gorgeous photos from her travels around the world.

us: If you could give your younger self a single piece of advice, what would it be?

her: Trust your instincts…always. Another one would be don’t be so proud—be more open to advice.

us: Can you tell me about a challenge that you’ve overcome?

her: Having a business–that’s an ongoing challenge. There’s a lot of challenge in having a business. Always questioning, should I keep going? Should I stop? Should I change? Another was that when I turned 30 I decided I wouldn’t take sh** from anyone else. When I turned 40, I decided I was going to do what I wanted. Not in a negative way, but more like, making people come my way–and I’ve been able to do that!

us: Where do you find your inspiration?

her: From travels and moments in history. It all comes full circle when you travel, you get to know other cultures and their history. And from that I get to know the stories, traditions and let my imagination take over.

Some of Ana’s gorgeous pieces of jewelry.

us: Any embarrassing nicknames we should know about?

her: So many! Salt lick because I like salt so much. My mom would call me Aninhas. My dad called me Anita or NaNa. When I was like five or six years old, my sister would call me Ana Banana. When I was a teenager I was called “Beta Radical”—which translates roughly to “Radical Hipster.”

us: Any hidden talents we should know about?

her: My cooking and entertaining skills.

us: What are you most thankful for?

her: So many things. I’m thankful for my parents because they gave me opportunities. They raised me well with good principles. They gave me the opportunity to go to university and live a good life. I am not a lucky person—but when I need luck, I’ll have it. I also work my a** off, so it doesn’t come easy, but when I need luck, it will come. I’m thankful for my friends. I’m thankful for my family. I am very thankful for the life I live. It wouldn’t have been possible 30 years ago to have all of these professions that don’t require you to go to a 9-5 job at an office that sucks the life and creativity out of you.

us: What is your favorite thing about living in Charlottesville?

her: It gives me quality of life. I get to walk a dog in the beautiful countryside. I don’t have stress, like being stuck in traffic. I get to have amazing bread (thank you, MarieBette). I have interesting friends. I’ve made more friends here than anywhere I’ve ever lived. It has a very interesting community. And, it’s beautiful! My only complaint is that it could be closer to the ocean, but hey, I can go back to Lisbon for that!

If you want to see more of Ana’s stunning and unique jewelry, you can fine it here.

Thank you Ana (and Gringo!) for sharing!