How a modest hobby grew into a bicoastal brand coveted by bohemians and sophisticates alike.
Serbian-born Gorjana (gawr-yan-ah) Reidel was raised in a world where women handcrafted everything, from traditional Balkan cuisine to custom garments. This handmade culture remained a powerful influence in her life, even after she moved with her parents to Canada and then the United States. Years later, Gorjana’s respect for authenticity and a compelling urge to “be creative” would lead to her first semifine jewelry collection and, eventually, to eight eponymous boutiques stretching from Newport Beach to New York City.
Against blue Shibori wallpaper and glossy white display cases, pieces in gold, rose gold and silver catch the light. Crescent moons, stars and palm fronds dangle from delicate tiered necklaces and playful statement earrings. Bracelets and rings range from thick and bold to dainty, some adorned with shiny Opalite and crystals. A special collection of “power gemstones” promises to enhance an array of emotional strengths, including courage, self-expression and healing. The collection appeals to all ages and somehow adapts to the person who wears it.
Around her own wrist, Gorjana, whose style is a seamless mix of bohemian and city gal, sports a gray labradorite bracelet. “It provides balance,” she explained, “which helps when you’re juggling all the checklists that come with raising children and running a business.”
Like many brands, the label sprang from unexpected beginnings. After earning a marketing degree, Gorjana went to work at Neiman Marcus and found herself in the jewelry department. “I didn’t know much about it,” she said. But in the world of gemstones, she discovered her passion.
“At 23, I couldn’t afford a $1,500 necklace, so I began playing with gemstones and other beautiful materials.” She created pieces only for herself at first, but her friends started to ask for them. Before long, a store in Newport Coast® wanted to carry her line, and soon demand exceeded supply. “One Christmas break about 15 years ago, I made my family help me make jewelry,” she said. “That’s when I knew I needed to expand.”