Julie Romanenko, the designer of Just Jules, is another talented artist I only knew via e-mail and social media. Meeting her in person at the Couture show was long overdue. (And how perfect that we fortuitously met the night before the show was to start — stars aligning!) Before I even started looking at the treasures in her jewlery cases, I couldn’t help but stare at the stunning opal pendant around her neck, which is one of her signature pieces. The combination of tones in the stone, the unique setting and the layered look is just spot on.
Opals are, in fact, one of her favorite stones — as they are mine. Take a gander at these opal necklaces.
Here’s an array of her rings, featuring all different stones, including opal.
And what about these opal earrings? The Art Deco details are inspired by the bails on some of the vintage lockets she owns.
Speaking of lockets…Julie takes vintage lockets and re-works them, combining them with new chains, gems and pearls. They are one of the most popular collections in her line, and I can see why. SO easy to wear, and they have so much character.
Being a master of re-working vintage pieces, can you spot the bracelet in her stack that’s made from an antique pin converted into a bracelet? I think the overall effect of her mix is sensational.
Just Jules, launched in 1991, is based in Scottsdale. Julie told me she fought making rings for some time, but now she’s obsessed with it. Who wouldn’t be?! Here’s a sampling of diamond rings from her Commitments Collection. Which one is your favorite? I just can’t decide…
Not only is Julie an outstanding jewlery designer, but this gal can bake! She had a big glass cookie jar of homemade sugar cookies on her counter. (Why did I not take a photo of this?!) I may have had one every day…and taken some for the plane ride home. Boy were they yummy!
Julie, so wonderful to finally meet you and try on your jewels. I’m a big fan!! xo
I apologize for the delay in my monthly birthstone report, but I just returned from a family vacation at the beach where the Internet was spotty, to say the least. (Did you see any of my beach pix on Instagram?) I was just forced to take some time off the computer. 😉 But I’ve just returned, and the writing resumes.
Now I must say that opals have been and continue to be one of my favorites stones. The only downside I’ve discovered over the years is that they are quite fragile, so the opal eternity band I once purchased quickly had two stones break. I find them better suited to rings with the opal featured on the top, as well as in earrings, necklaces and bracelets, of course.
Opals come in a wide range of colors, from white to orange to green and more. There are also many different varieties. Some you may have heard of are Peruvian, Black, Boulder and Fire. (If you’d like to read more about the different types, you’ll enjoy this detailed article I found on CrystalVaults.com) The name opal comes from the Sanskrit word “upala” which translates to precious stone. Sometimes referred to as the “eye stone,” opals are known for inspiration, hope and optimism. They are purported to aid with:
-inspiring love and passion
-centering the mind
-protection from negative energy
I like it! And I also like so many of the stunning pieces of opal jewelry I found this month. Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorites.
I actually had to call “time” and stop searching, or this list would be endless. And…in case you didn’t know, October has TWO birthstones. While opal is the one traditionally associated with the month, tourmaline is also an October birthstone. Who knew?!
It must have been back when I was about 8 years old or so…my grandmother went on a cruise to Austraila, and she brought me back (what I thought was) THE most amazing necklace. It’s pendant was a kangaroo with some opal chips in it. I had never seen an opal before, and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven! Well let me tell you, Australian-born jewelry designer Katherine Jetter takes opals and other Australian themes to a whole new level!
I was drawn to Katherine’s booth at the Couture show because I had seen one of her rings in a glossy publication in my hotel room. It’s called the Madame Butterfly ring, and it’s made of hand-carved white opals, accented with diamonds and a Mandarin garnet in the center. Mesmerizing, right?!
Katherine is just as lovely as her jewelry, and she generously spent her time showing me her line and educating me about it.
Here’s a close-up of the stunning cuff I was wearing. It’s made of 18K yellow gold with diamonds. The detail is amazing! Look at the turtle and the coral — it’s just like you were under the sea! Speaking of turtles, this is Katherine’s signature on all her pieces. Whether it’s prominent, as in this cuff, or hidden in the back of a smaller earring, there is a turtle on each and every piece of her jewelry. According to Egyptian mythology, the turtle symbolizes good luck and protection. I love this sentiment and detail in her collection.
The main inspirations for her line come from her home country — the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. Though she spent time in the corporate world, she was drawn to jewelry design over 6 years ago. I’m so glad she followed her heart, as her designs are truly unique! (And trust me, I’ve seen a lot of jewelry lines!)
Much of her collection features opals, sourced from Austaila, Peru, and Mexico. I’m not quite sure how she comes up with her exquisite designs, but here’s a prime example. This is the Whitsunday Island pendant, which showcases a lightening ridge black opal that’s over 34 carats! Combined with 18K white gold, diamonds and a moonstone chain, the result is fantastic!
Here is how she used white opal splinters entwined in sterling silver with pink mist tourmaline, to create a pair of earrings unlike any I’ve ever seen.
I’m clearly not the only one intrigued by her designs. She’s definitely getting a celebrity following. Both Renee Bargh and Naomi Watts will be adorned in her jewels while walking the red carpet at the Australian Film Insitute Awards this Wednesday, June 27th. I think I’ll have to tune in and check it out!