One of a Kind
Model: Camre Jalan Farr
Photos By: Willie Daniels of Photo Artistry
From gemstone miner to luxury designer, Jacqueline Grande is known the world over not only for an unerring eye for detail, but for an irresistible rock collection to match.
Honing more than 20 years of expertise – both as a designer and gemologist, Jacqueline Grande brings to the international arena custom fine jewelry designs for discerning clientele. With a unique approach to the craft, her designs are purely inspired by the gems and precious stones themselves – allowing their story and natural essence to be revealed, as opposed to making a design fit the rock. As a result, Grande is known for her timeless and versatile style, creating one-of-a-kind commissioned pieces that celebrate life moments.
Home to San Diego, Grande’s designs not only appear throughout the U.S., but in Europe, Asia and the Middle East as well; considered haute couture, her jewelry is adorned by international royalty, celebrities and fine art collectors alike. In a recent interview with FINE Magazine, Grande relays her philosophies regarding her designs, as well as the importance of seeking jewelry with purpose and meaning.
FINE: When did you become involved in the jewelry business Jacqui?
Jacqueline Grande: I started Radiance International in 1986 as a gemologist interested in mining rough gemstones. Initially, RI was a wholesale gemstone company concentrating on mining, cutting and buying gemstones in Sri Lanka and other remote gemstone rich countries and then selling the rough [uncut] and/or cut gemstones in Europe, Asia and the U.S. to wholesale buyers and jewelry designers. Later, I began to design, and was noticed by an elite Asian market. Eventually, I was hired by a Japanese firm to design for them.
FINE: What inspired you to become a jewelry designer?
Jacqueline Grande: When I was selling gemstones at International trade shows, I found that many well known designers bought stones from me after they had already created the piece of jewelry. They were just looking for something that fit into the mounting. That seemed strange to me because I thought the gemstones deserved to have the piece of jewelry created to reflect the uniqueness of that particular individual gemstone. It is similar to a painting; one would never buy a frame first and then search for a painting to fit into it. A painting, like a gemstone, should be chosen first because you admire it for its beauty. The frame or the jewelry design is added to complement and enhance the beauty.
FINE: What stones are your favorite to be creative with when you are making a piece for a client and why?
Jacqueline Grande: I like to know the personality of the client I am designing for so I can create something that they will enjoy wearing, and possibly passing on as a family jewel. Beauty, brilliance, durability, and uniqueness of the gemstone, plus versatility of the piece of jewelry is what I have become known for as a designer. Personally, I love sapphires because they are very durable and they occur in so many different colors. I also love rare colored gemstones. Custom jewelry highlighting rare gems that are not so easily found in nature makes that piece of jewelry so much more intriguing and fun to wear. It becomes a conversation piece. Many times there is a story accompanying an unusual gemstone that I sell because I know the country of origin, which cut it and how rare it really is.
FINE: In your opinion are diamonds a girl’s best friend?
Jacqueline Grande: No, JEWELRY is a girl’s best friend. Diamonds are fabulous, but do not limit your possibilities for fear of seeming different. Only in America is a diamond used for engagement. In Europe and for International royalty, for centuries, fine colored gemstone jewelry is preferred over diamond jewelry. Colored gemstones express a sophistication and knowledge of finer jewelry and of course, the finer things life has to offer.
FINE: When looking for that perfect gift, whether it be for Valentine’s Day, a birthday or even anniversary, what advice could you give?
Jacqueline Grande: Look for something unique or enjoy a piece of jewelry custom made to express the individuality of the one who will be wearing it. Purchase from a reputable jeweler or gemologist [that] you trust and is knowledgeable of the product you desire.