After more than 25 years in business, you could say that Just Jules is a veteran brand. But designer Julie Romanenko’s creations are always evolving and enchanting, so while she has used these years to hone her impressive skill and attention to detail, her creations manage to stay forever young and fresh—reliably remarkable, but never staid. Started in 1991, Just Jules puts a playful spin on fine jewelry, with a focus on vintage-inspired and one-of-a-kind designs. You’ll find something to suit every taste and nearly every price range, from the antique-obsessed to the gemstone hound.
Julie Romanenko is JCK & LUXURY-bound for the first time, and we’re excited to welcome her to the show. Below, a bit on her inspiration, love for vintage jewelry, and what she’s looking forward to in Vegas this year.
In 1996, you moved from the northeast to Arizona. Are you still living there? If yes, how have your surroundings influenced your jewelry design? Do you think your designs would turn out differently if you were still in, say, New York?
Julie Romanenko: Yes, I am still living in Scottsdale, AZ. I have moved two times since becoming a transplanted desert rat, and we now live in a wonderful part of town, right across from the desert. I know that living in this tranquil beauty has influenced how and what I create. I find that the stillness and the quiet fuel my creativity. Now when I go back to New York, I am surrounded by too much stimulus and it overwhelms me a bit.
Tell us about your passion for vintage jewelry. How does it influence your design?
JR: My passion started with my grandmother and my mom. Both loved Art Deco pieces. Twelve years ago, I came across a handful of lockets. I had met the man who would become my husband a few weeks before, and I was thinking from my heart at that moment in time, because these antique lockets struck me in a way they might not have otherwise. After some time of shopping for these lockets, I was drawn to other antique pieces of jewelry and they have influenced so much of the new work I am creating, especially the Commitments line of engagement rings and wedding bands.
Do you have a favorite type of design or gemstone to work with?
JR: I have been opal-obsessed for many, many years. I worked exclusively with Boulder opals years ago and have recently switched to black opals. I love the depth of color in these beauties. I am very particular with the stones I choose to work with—they have to speak to me.
Do you have a favorite collection?
JR: It would be a toss-up. I love the big, bold colored stone pieces in my Color Color Color collection, and I am so proud of the Commitments collection of engagement and wedding rings. To be able to create these pieces of jewelry that are so meaningful and full of symbolism is truly an honor.
Many of your designs are one-of-a-kind. Do you ever find that it’s difficult to part with them when they go home with a customer?
JR: Every once in a while, there’s a piece that never makes it past my own jewelry box!
What are you most looking forward to at the upcoming LUXURY by JCK show?
JR: I am looking forward to introducing Just Jules to a new audience. I have exhibited at Couture for many years, and I think this change of venue will put me in front of retailers who only shop JCK.