Get to Know Julia Popovich of Zhulia Pearl Jewelry

Julia Popovich traded in translations for jewelry design three years ago when she debuted Zhulia, a line of saltwater pearl jewelry. “I speak Mandarin, and zhu means pearl,” explains the student of East Asian studies with a minor in Chinese, who fell in love with pearl jewelry ushering corporate clients from Hong Kong to China to buy pearls, learning the ropes of production from freshwater pearl farmers. Eventually, she moved into design full time, favoring akoya and South Sea varieties for their specialness and luster. “I like the quality of saltwater pearls and the luster and the fact that oyster take two years to make a pearl versus the 50 in one freshwater mussel,” she explains. Her signature look is geometry—modern angular silhouettes in 14k gold or silver with diamonds and pearls, using sketches and CAD to translate ideas into finished pieces.

Julia Popovich of Zhulia

Jewelry designer Julia Popovich of Zhulia

Accounts: No stores to date, though Popovich does sell four pieces in silver with Tahitian pearls through QVC under the name Sterling Black by Zhulia

Trade fairs: None to date

Retailer buy-in: Five pieces

Contact: Zhulia, San Diego, 760-487-5091;

Thunderbolt earrings in gold with akoya pearls by Zhulia

Thunderbolt earrings and jacket in 14k gold with 8.5–9 mm AAA Japanese akoya pearls and 0.06 ct. t.w. diamonds, $3,700

Triangle bracelet in gold with akoya pearls by Zhulia

Triangle bracelet in 14k gold with 9–9.5 mm. AAA Japanese akoya pearls and 0.16 ct. t.w. diamonds, $5,200

Triangle pendant necklace in gold with akoya pearls by Zhulia

Triangle pendant necklace in 14k gold with 8.5–9 mm AAA Japanese akoya pearl and 0.22 ct. t.w. diamonds, $5,300

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