Saturday, January 8, 2011


The Channel Islands National Park is perhaps Southern California’s best kept secret. Situated off the Californian coast the park’s extensive acres reach as far as Los Angeles, and house more than 2,000 species of fauna and flora. California is also the home base for featured jewelry brand JudeFrances.

While the phrase 'California casual' is often used to describe the region’s easy going fashion style, since starting this blog I have learned that designer jewelry from this region is surprisingly eclectic.

There is the bold, adventurous spirit of Melinda Maria Jewelry; the funky, vintage reimaginings of Liz Law; and the alternately vibrant and edgy collections of Tarina Tarantino.

Design team Frances Gadbois and Jude Steele add their subtle yet dramatic aesthetic onto California’s variegated style palette.

The pair bring both classicism and powerful iconography of Old World Europe to their stunning fine jewelry of 18-karat yellow and white gold, black onyx, topaz briolette, turquoise, and clear white diamonds.

Texas-born Steele and England native Gadbois met in 2002 during a charity dinner and both knew their destinies were intertwined when they learned of one another’s passion for baubles.

Armed with only $9,000 and their steadfast motto to “just go for it,” the duo started their company determined to succeed in the competitive jewelry market.

Gadbois’ background in vintage jewelry and interior design lends itself to the jewelry’s timeless outlines and she painstakingly oversees “design and manufacturing” choosing only conflict free diamonds for use in exquisite cuff bracelets, diamond earrings, or a diamond pendant necklace.

Steele’s management and marketing expertise helped the JudeFrances label to acquire the multi-talented and winsome Kristin Chenoweth as the brand’s spokeswoman. “Kristin had already become a fan our jewelry. She bought our Guinevere Cross Necklace one day she was out shopping,” says Steele.

“Frances and I decided we wanted someone to be the 'face' of the company and we were trying to find the right woman to represent JudeFrances. We immediately agreed that Kristin was perfect because she is beautiful, approachable, and like our jewelry she is every day chic.”

The noble Fleur de Lis emblem, the Alhambra, and the protective Maltese Cross are recurring motifs within their jewelry collections. While the renderings are commanding and regal they remain feminine and elegant.

“Our jewelry has a vintage feel with a modern flair,” says Gadbois. “Our designs are inspired by architecture and travel helping to create a style that is classic and romantic.

The jewelry is timeless and meant to be worn every day whether with a pair of jeans or a fabulous designer gown.”
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Marquis Ring with White Topaz and Pavé Diamond Ring
Photo 2 (center): 18-Karat White Gold and Diamond Cross Cuff Bracelet
Photo 3 (bottom left): 18-Karat White and Yellow Gold Circle Clover Diamond Pendant
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