Gorjana is based in Laguna Beach, but I hear you have a great San Diego connection.
I was finishing law school and Gorjana was finishing college, and she came to San Diego with her mom and sister—and we went on our technical first date for sushi in La Jolla. We had dinner at BJ’s Pizza the next night and right away the dialogue was, “What are we doing with our lives?” And we very quickly started talking about starting a fashion brand. It’s insane to me that our new Gorjana store is less than a mile away from our first date in the summer of ’99.
My first exposure to jewelry was for a really high-end jewelry designer in Newport and it was something I couldn’t turn away from. I loved jewelry; I fell in love with the whole medium of it. I come from a family of engineers, so to me it’s about the structure, and it’s artistic and creative. I couldn’t afford to wear a $1500 necklace, but I wanted to design things that I could wear and that my friends could wear—and people would look at it and fall in love with the beauty. The whole point is the timeless aspect. It has a fine jewelry aesthetic, in that I want you to buy it and in two years still love it and want to wear it. I don’t want you to look at it and think, “Oh, that’s so trendy. What was I thinking?”
What are your longtime staple pieces?
There are obviously pieces that are more fun, like the tassels that we play with, but there are other pieces we’ve done that we still have years later. [For instance] the Taner bar necklace is a really simple, organic bar on a chain, and it’s totally wearable anytime.
This is your fifth freestanding store, but it’s a unique storefront for you.
This is very unique—it’s cut like a diamond and we have so much glass that fronts the store. Laguna Beach was our first, and last year we opened our West Village [NYC] and Abbot Kinney [Venice Beach] stores, and then Elizabeth Street in Nolita. We’ve got our strategic partnerships, like with Nordstrom, and we continue to grow those partnerships, and ecommerce. We have a bespoke engraving machine that allows a customer to get their jewelry personalized right there. We also have an aura reading machine: They can get more information about which power gemstones might be right for them. But the thing I’m most excited about is taking power gemstones and personalization to the next level with a bespoke power gemstone bracelet.
GR Our own stores are a way to really experience and understand the brand. Our Venice store was the only one that had a live wall, and UTC let us put one in, and we have beautiful elements like crystal pendant lighting. It’s our first store in San Diego and we love it.