Designing doubles sparkle in jewelry
Linda Miller • Published: October 30, 2005
Some of the most interesting fine jewelry seems to be coming from designing duos.
There's Anthony Camargo and Nak Armstrong for Anthony Nak and Slane & Slane from sisters Heath and Landon Slane.
Another line that's getting lots of buzz and celebrity attention is Jude Frances, created by Judy "Jude Steele and Frances Gadbois.
These are the designers who created Oprah's diamond "O initial necklace that she often wears. The talk-show priestess also owns two other Jude Frances pieces.
Steele and Gadbois describe their necklaces, earrings, rings and bracelets as contemporary-vintage, with just a hint of Gothic. Each piece is accented with diamonds, gemstones or pearls. Prices start about $300. Each piece is available in either 18 karat white gold or yellow gold.
The designers were at Valerie Naifeh Fine Jewelry recently in celebration of Naifeh's seventh anniversary.
What distinguishes theirs from other jewelry lines is that it's more fashion-forward with more seasonal colors. And it's changeable, Steele said. Charms are sold separately for earrings and necklaces.
The most popular item in the collection is the diamond hoop earrings. Hundreds of different charms can be added to create individual looks. The charms include diamond crosses, pink tourmaline chandeliers and pearl drops.
The concept encourages repeat customers and appeals to those women who love to collect.
"It's very user-friendly, Gadbois said. "Any jewelry I've designed and I've always designed for myself I want it to do different things. It has always done double duty.
Before they created Jude Frances three years ago, Gadbois was an interior designer for 15 years, and Steele was a photographer and managed a small jewelry boutique inside a successful women's store in Newport Beach, Calif.
One of their goals was to make jewelry that women would want to and could afford to buy for themselves. The right-hand rings are especially popular.
After three years, the collection continues to evolve. "Frances and I are really proud of the line, Steele said.
"It looks like us now, Gadbois said.