I met Jenny Crane McHugh last year at the Finery Row jewelry pop-up in Washington, D.C., where she was showcasing her Button Box brand. As I perused her displays of happy, colorful bead jewelry, we bonded over our shared status as new moms (our daughters were born less than a week apart) and our shared love for North Carolina: She resides in Charlotte, and I’ve lived in Wilmington and Raleigh. During our conversation, McHugh mentioned a new collection of fine jewelry in the works, giving me a peek at a bracelet and promising to send updates once the line was ready.
That day came earlier this week, when Campbell + Charlotte made its debut. And let me tell you, its pieces are so very appreciated right now.
“Campbell is my first child and daughter’s name, and in many ways, she was the push I needed to leave the corporate world and take a chance on my dreams,” says McHugh, when asked about the origins of her new brand’s name. “It is magical and crazy what a mama instinct can do to you—I immediately knew I wanted to make my daughter proud and show her that hard is not impossible. Charlotte is where I live with family, and where the initial collection was born. Hence, the name Campbell + Charlotte.”
Charming pendants from the brand’s Juju collection boasting likenesses of rainbows, hearts, and flowers spring from their settings of 14k gold, dusted with multicolor sapphires and diamonds. They’re “serious jewels for those that don’t take themselves too seriously,” reads the brand’s tagline, and they bring such a sense of carefree happiness that even the people least prone to whimsy may find a piece that speaks to them.
“Jewelry should be fun. It should leave a lasting smile on our faces and make us giddy each time we wear it,” says McHugh. “This sentiment seems particularly relevant right now in these strange and scary times we are living in. I think we are all looking for small ways to escape our current reality each day, and I hope Campbell + Charlotte may provide one of those mini escapes by allowing us to enjoy something that is pretty and sparkly. Certainly, jewelry cannot solve this current crisis, but maybe it can bring a little happiness to someone’s day. At the end of the day, I think my hope would be that we help our customers smile right now.”
For those who do prefer something of a more classic nature, Campbell + Charlotte offers that too. From its Crew collection, you’ll find solid gold stacking rings etched with bands that appear to me like lifesaver rings on a boat (who couldn’t use a life raft right now?), a style mirrored in bangle form (I think it’s the one I got to peep back in September?), and with counterparts in the earring and necklace categories too.
A brushed-gold cocktail ring dances with concentric circles of gold and diamonds, surrounding a center green tourmaline, and dangling charms accentuate styles of hoop earrings and chain bracelets. These are some of the pieces from the Evolve collection. I describe but a sampling; there is a lot to love here.
“I have been dreaming of this collection for so long that, in a way, the inspiration for the line has been a culmination of all my life experiences. One of my parents’ favorite memories involves the nightly war I waged as a 2-year-old in refusing to remove the dozens of plastic bracelets, necklaces, and earrings I wore each day. Then, each morning, every piece had to be put back on before the day could start. I love that story because I think it really shows just how long ago this seed was planted, and I am thrilled to now be following my dreams.”
Top: Juju collection Shooting Star necklace in 14k yellow gold with multicolor sapphires, $2,650; Campbell + CharlotteFollow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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