Eight years after moving out of bustling Los Angeles to settle down with her family in Nashville, Tenn., Judith Bright is back on the West coast. The jewelry designer and retailer—a former executive for Quincy Jones’ music publishing company—will launch her first West Coast store on up-and-coming shopping row, La Brea Avenue, with a grand opening party tonight.
Pieces from Judith Bright’s collection (photos courtesy of Judith Bright)
This is the third standalone store for Bright, who belongs to a burgeoning group of designers bridging the gap between fine and fashion jewelry by using gold-filled metals and sterling silver in an effort to keep prices low. She currently has stores in Atlanta and Nashville.
Big, bold semiprecious gemstones (citrine, carnelian, pyrite, etc.) wrapped in gold-filled wire constitute Bright’s signature look. But her collections also include hammered gold-filled and sterling silver lines and the boho JB Zen collection, which marries sandalwood beads blessed by Buddhist Lamas in Kathmandu, with chunky slabs of gemstone. Prices range from $43 for a thin hammered sterling silver bangle to $798 for an elaborate wire bib necklace strung with gemstones.
“The collection has very clean lines and is not fussy at all,” says Bright. “It’s big-girl jewelry that’s reasonably priced.”
Bright initially began working with gold-filled metals out of a practical desire to create a collection that “wasn’t just two bracelets and a necklace,” she says. “I knew I could afford to get a really big collection quickly with [gold-filled brass and sterling silver]. I started my business after I was 40 and I didn’t want to waste time or money. It let me really find my voice as a designer much more quickly than I would have juggling the finances of precious metals.”
She also noticed a niche in the jewelry market that seemed itching to be filled. “I think people should be able to have great-looking jewelry at an affordable price,” she says. “It shouldn’t be only people who can afford David Yurman who can buy big fancy pieces.”
To help the brand’s Skittle-like array of gemstones really shine, Bright designed the new space predicated on a pure white palette. Aside from a sea-foam green area rug, the boutique is awash in white—from the white-painted concrete floors and walls to the rows of white drawers. Track lighting casts rays of white light on 32 illuminated display boxes.
“It’s very clean and very light,” notes Bright. “Like my jewelry.”
And the designer says she’s delighted to be back in the city she called home for 20 years. “When I had my third child, I was working for Quincy Jones and it was just too much. I couldn’t do it. But I love California, and always will.”
A provocative poster Bright designed to celebrate her new L.A. boutique