September 1, 2016
julez bryant jewelry designer
Julez Bryant's artful and geometric designs are inspired by the natural world around her. Elements of her jewelry are glimpses into cities, landscapes and architectural aspects as seen through the eyes of Julez in her travels and daily life. We spoke with Julez to learn about her design inspiration, upcoming projects she's most excited about, and the future of her growing brand.

How did you get your start with jewelry design?

I started my creative journey in 2003 in San Diego, California. A dear friend, who lost his life to cancer, gave me a charm. He taught me to capture life and run with it.  I converted the charm into my first necklace (which still hangs in my office today). A local shop owner stopped me and asked me who the designer was and I shared that I had made it. Within days of that meeting I suddenly was a jewelry designer by night and Director of a Video Game developer by day. Two years later the company I worked for was acquired, I was offered a position with the new organization, and decided I would test my business acumen on my own venture. Giving myself 6 months to fly or fail -- and 13 years later, I still am flying. I must say there hasn’t been a day that I don’t pinch myself and think, “Wow I have the best job on the planet.” What a gift my friend left me and I know he would be smiling along with me. For anyone that knows me they might say I attack everything at full force, like a freight train. I don’t dabble in things, so Julez Bryant Inc. became a reality.

What is your design inspiration?

One never knows exactly what inspires creativity, however I can say shape and forms that come from my travel and architecture I see along the way. It isn’t in large forms, but rather the small details in corners of old windows, buildings with rusty findings etc. I believe and have noticed that I have an intuitive understanding of physics (weighting, timing and balance) which sublimely has helped me with my design aesthetic. I’m not a formally trained jeweler -- a bit rogue you might say, however I feel for my style of design it has benefitted our aesthetic. I make it a point to follow what my mind and intuition says for design, rather than other designers and trends. I derive great inspiration from old shipyards and gritty spaces. I wanted to be a wooden toymaker as a child. It wasn’t the toys I liked -- it was the block form and tools that excited me. Texture and form is most apparent in my design. I don’t follow traditional rules of jewelry design and crafting. I believe my lack of formal training both attribute to our successes and failings. 

How would you describe the “Julez Bryant” woman? 

The Julez Bryant woman is a person that adorns herself -- a woman that has a simple yet amazing style.  Our woman has keen eye for quality. I have noticed our Julez Bryant woman surrounds herself with curated things they have personally chosen both in their home and wardrobe. Typically self-purchasers, and once they are hooked they are very loyal to the brand -- almost addicted in a way. I notice many of my clients still wear pieces from 10 years ago and they somehow become a part of their everyday wardrobe. I often hear these lovely clients say “I have gorgeous jewelry from wonderful brands, BUT your line is my go-to daily”. I design for busy lifestyles, for getting dirty in the garden or gym -- the more you wear it the better it gets.

For you personally, what are your most loved/worn accessories?

A bracelet that my grandmother put on layaway for 4 years when she was in her twenties. It’s a gorgeous wide yellow gold cuff with a very large opal in a bezel. It is so timeless and reminds of how progressive and amazing she was. And my very simple engagement ring engraved with ILUAMATSATO… which is a special acronym that my family uses to express our love for each other. It’s is a very simple band with 5 stones representing my two children, husband and our dog Cindee Loo Hoo. My daughter Gia designed it for me and it’s perfect and much loved. If you can’t tell, I am very sentimental. Lastly, my son made me a little piece of glass on leather in grade school and it will forever be coveted by me. What more could a gal ask for a ring designed and executed by my daughter and a pendant by my son.

Where do you see your brand going in the next 5-10 years?

I have a very defined path of where I would like to see the brand and best methods and steps to get there. It takes time to develop a truly curated brand that will stand the test of time and trend. I feel Julez Bryant is a brand that has its own rhythm and aesthetic and I am proud of that. I have brought my brilliant daughter on board. Gia graduated from Stevens Tech in Hoboken and she was on a path to get her doctorate. She came to me over two years ago and shared with me she desired to work with Julez Bryant and that the medical field wasn’t the future she could see for herself. What a blessing it has been. Gia started in Production learning the most important part of Julez Bryant and that is our production process. Gia showed early on she has very strong design sensibility and strong relationship skills. Gia has been promoted to sales and now beginning with her own designs. Her next phase of learning is the business aspects that are essential for any strong business person.  She is learning that design is a small part of the brand and that to be a great designer you have to have to be a great business person as well. Gia is unafraid. She is a big part of our future. Recently stores have been watching us and decided it’s time to get on the Julez Bryant train, wonderful stores like London Jewelers and our momentum with their chain of stores has truly helped the brand to be more understood. I’m very excited for our future. 

What is your favorite metal, materials or gemstones to work with and why? 

Rose gold of course. I started with rose gold and not many did 13 years ago, of course it’s a trend now, but again I don’t follow trends on purpose -- I follow my gut. Yellow gold is a staple and recently I have been working with some white gold. I love metal… the more the better. And monochromatic color value is my favorite. I love cognac diamonds and natural pink sapphires and white diamonds. I am not a designer that works with delicious gum drop colors, so many do that much better that me. Why I love metal goes back to my love for metal yards and shipyards.  

Do you have any upcoming projects or collections you’re particularly excited about? 

Yes! To date my favorite collection is my newest called METRO (pictured above). It came to me in the night (like most do) but this time it was so clear. It's geometric and it truly encompass my inspiration. Cities, shapes, simply complicated. It's unafraid and powerful. Small bits of every city I’ve gone to. Small feminine shapes of stones embedded in sheets of metal. I feel so excited by this. It represents rebuilding, reaching as high as a sky scrapper can go.
Browse more jewelry from Julez Bryant in our Jewelry Gallery.

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