JudeFrances Jewelry (Est. 2002) The brand name, JudeFrances is derived from a combination of the names of the company’s founder, Jude Steele and Frances Gadbois, a designer and one of Jude’s best friends. Despite being described as different as white and yellow gold, the two realized they would make ideal business partners soon after they met at a charity dinner.
Jude, whose background includes photography, is a Texas native and mother of three. She is the sales and marketing force behind the company. It is also said that she is the inspiration behind the edgier sides of the line. One of her favorite pieces in the brand’s jewelry line is a white gold cuff bracelet with a diamond cross that Frances gave her as a birthday gift.
Frances was born and raised in the English countryside, is a mother of two and a former owner of an interior design firm. She has said that, at the beginning, neither she nor Jude knew very much about jewelry design. Today, Frances’ responsibilities include overseeing design and the operation of JudeFrances Jewelry.
Frances is inspired by romantic, classic styles including architectural designs. One of the brand’s most popular lines, the Venetian Collection, was inspired by a trip she and Jude took to Italy for Frances’ 40th birthday.
Frances is reported to have said, “The iron grill work I saw in Venice inspired our new diamond overlay designs.” This jewelry line is defined by the rich use of yellow gold and ornate, interchangeable charms.
Originally conceived in 2001 but officially established in 2002, JudeFrances began by creating its signature hoop and charm earring concept that was quickly taken up for sale by Neiman Marcus. Now operating for nearly two decades, the brand has produced lines that feature necklaces, earrings and rings across several collections.
“The hoop and charm earring concept was created based on the idea of the female self-purchaser and collector,” says Jude. “Each JudeFrances woman can collect and wear their jewelry in a unique way. They can mix and match their hoops and charms and create looks that are just as individual as they are.”
By 2008, JudeFrances jewelry could be found in some of the finest stores in the country, including Cayman’s in Norman, Oklahoma, Saks Fifth Avenue, plus at locations in China, Hong Kong, and Russia.
The two friends say they learned as they earned. Their jewelry sparkles in 18-karat white and yellow gold with diamonds and semiprecious stones. Much of the first collections were comprised of hoops and charms that could be mixed and matched and go from day to evening wear. Hoops and charms started at about $300 and went as high as $8,400.
Also known for cuffs and rings, the California-based company has introduced bridal collections with hearts and fleur-de-lis themes that are also represented in limited editions. The company makes only 10 pieces of each design in the limited-edition collections.
Frances designed Steele’s wedding ring and the diamond cuff she wore on her wedding day. The wedding ring has a tiny sapphire inside the band to represent something blue.
Today, JudeFrances Jewelry offers something for women of all ages. The endless combinations of JudeFrances categories include its signature earring hoop and charm concept, stackable gold bangles, long layering chains and pendants, stylish cocktail rings, and simple gold stackers. Such diversity gives the JudeFrances collector the ability to create a distinct style.
Another component to the popular JudeFrances earring hoop and charm silhouette is the earring charm frame that adds to the variety of ways to wear the creations. Combining JudeFrances 18K gold and diamond hoop earrings with any number of earring charms and earring charm frames creates limitless style possibilities.
After introducing Earring Charm Frames in 2016 that added to the popular hoop and charm earring concept, Jude planned to introduce even more classic and fashion forward collections in 2017. Created in 18K gold, diamonds, and semi-precious stones, she said, “We are very excited to introduce our new fall collections including the Lisse, Grecian, and Barcelona Collections.”
Although some of the brand’s designs come in silver, they typically come in gold. “We favor 18K gold and diamonds with our signature brushed JFJ finish.”
The collections are inspired by travel, cultures and different perspectives. “Our current collections are all names of places that have inspired us throughout the years” Jude says. When approaching a new collection, she says they “generally like to find a motif from a region or travel destination that inspires [them.] Then we can build on that motif to create a cohesive collection.”
The brand’s twice yearly Spring and Fall Collections include pieces in the Provence, Lisse, and Moroccan Collections and are made with 18K gold, diamonds and semi-precious stones. The JudeFrances Silver Collection features sterling silver, pavé white topaz and semi-precious stones and the newest collection, Mixed Metal features Sterling Silver with 18K Gold and Diamonds.
Current retailers are located in Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and Ohio.
The brand’s intricately designed pieces showcase Jude’s eye for textures and shapes. The firm’s detailed designs and precisely placed stones make every piece appear simple and complex simultaneously. Each intricate piece exemplifies feminine grace and beauty and is designed for women of all ages to give them a contemporary, fun look.
Now internationally known for its designs, the label artfully combines classic elegance with directional shapes built of fine materials and glittering adornments. Each piece of JudeFrances’ jewelry fits seamlessly into ageless wardrobes. The brand’s necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings are the epitome of modern opulence with dazzling gem stones and intricately cut trinkets giving a striking finish.