Interview with Solana Beach Jewelry Designer of BijouRocks, Reine Krief
“Each piece of jewelry tells a personal story,” explains owner and jewelry designer of BijouRocks, Reine Krief. BijouRocks, located in Solana Beach and online at www.bijourocks.com, is a custom jewelry designer line that uses handcrafted, quality materials, gemstones and vintage pieces from around the world. What makes BijouRocks so unique is each piece is truly one-of-a-kind, as Reine never makes the same piece twice. Reine specializes in refurbishing vintage pieces into something new. Whether it is turning your grandmother’s old broach or an old token into a necklace, she has an eye for making something dated into something new. Her background in fashion design and her personal collection of vintage jewelry lead her to open BijouRocks where every piece, new or old, is timeless.
Recently, she branched out and created a new line “Reine Krief Collections” where she designs beautiful Leather Handbags, made in Italy. Last year, she opened her first kiosk at Bella Sareena Salon and quickly expanded into the shop it is today that showcases a variety of jewelry, leather handbags & accessories. She spoke with FINE Magazine about her inspiration working with vintage jewelry, new collections, and her favorite winter trends for 2017.
FINE: What is your background in fashion & fashion design?
Reine Krief: Growing up in Montreal, I first began working in fashion with my father who was an importer. He imported women’s clothing from France and Italy and later went into men's clothing. I would help him during the holidays and time off. I have worked in many fashion companies at retail, in wholesale, in showrooms and even in buying. After high school, I studied Fashion Merchandising and then Business in University. I continued working in the industry even after I got married and started a family. I stopped working for a few years until my four kids were older. My brother-in-law, a builder, asked me to help him with some of his residential projects doing color and material boards for Interior Design. Eventually, I was decorating whole houses including designing kitchens, bathrooms, etc.
After we moved to San Diego, I stopped working altogether to stay home with my 4 children and in my spare time, I made jewelry for myself and new friends. Since I was 14 years old, I had a passion for antiquing and collecting vintage jewelry. I would wear my pieces and people would ask where I got them from. I’d tell them “I made it” and they would ask for me to make one for them! People would bring me their vintage pieces and asked me to make them something new. My husband eventually said, “ you have a few hundred pieces, shouldn’t you do something like, start a business?” So two years ago, I started a website and now I have a shop in Solana Beach.
FINE: What is BijouRocks?
Reine Krief: BijouRocks is a collection of unique handcrafted jewelry & accessories designed exclusively online or for my shop located in Solana Beach. In addition, I offer my customers a personalized customer service where they can bring me their favorite vintage pieces or family heirlooms to repurpose. That is also why each unique piece from BijouRocks tells a personal story. I don't like to duplicate a piece but will design around one to make a whole collection that works together and making each one-of-a-kind. I look at color and design trends and try to find elements that work in terms of beads or vintage pieces to incorporate into a collection.
FINE: Where do you get your inspiration from?
Reine Krief: I find inspiration every day all around me & everything is an inspiration from researching trends for design to traveling to Europe and Asia. Anywhere I go, I look for interesting beads, jewelry, or vintage pieces. Often, from a single special vintage piece, I can create a whole collection.
FINE: Tell me about Reine Krief Designs.
Reine Krief: I have been designing for other people for a while and had an opportunity, this year, to make designs for my own collection. I work in an Italian factory that has exquisite merchandise and designs for top-tier designers and had the opportunity to work with them to develop my first collection. It was a small collection and happily, people loved it. Italian leather and workmanship is incredible and beautiful. Unlike mass production, each purse, in these smaller Italian factories, is produced with attention to detail. Part of my first collection of unlined, unstructured totes have an added feature including beautiful colors and metallic linings that can be reversed. The totes are made of luxurious pebbled leather and suede. I also have wide totes with zippers and plenty of pockets made of soft, washed, woven leather that is rich as well as a smaller crossbody clutch that is versatile and practical. Although trending styles will always be a part of my collections in the future, I will always edge toward classic designs that are more timeless.
FINE:. What are your favorite winter fashion trends for 2017?
Reine Krief: Strong colors like burgundy and reds are some of my favorites this year. My winter fashion trend is to accessorize with a great bag and boots with a great sweater and jeans and a beautiful necklace to go with it all. The right necklace makes for the perfect finished look.
FINE: What's next for BijouRocks for 2018?
Reine Krief: For now, we are located at Bella Sareena Spa in Solana Beach but would love to expand in another area of San Diego or even in Los Angeles. We will continue to offer beautifully handcrafted jewelry, leather handbags and accessories like silk, or cashmere scarves and provide personal attention to our customers. Next year, expect to see new collections, more pop up events and home trunk shows.