Gorjana Crafts Barely There Jewelry for Layering

At Gorjana, delicate jewelry designed for layering takes center stage in a laid-back space inspired by the company’s Laguna Beach origins.
Story By: Julie Pendray
Photography courtesy Gorjana

A relaxing stroll along El Paseo is just the right ambience for some refreshing “me” time, a romantic weekend, or a girlfriends’ getaway. If you’re in the mood for jewelry shopping, you might visit Gorjana (pronounced “Gor-yana”) and see delicate rings, earrings, chains, charms, necklaces, and bracelets designed for lightweight layering. Find solid gold, diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, pearls, topaz, and turquoise at affordable prices.

The Gorjana look is a “barely there” style, meant to enhance or add to your beauty, according to Kenah Camera, vice president of brand marketing. “These are timeless designs that can be mixed and matched, not just one-time trendy pieces. People can have a collection,” she says. The bestselling collection is the Parker line. “People love the diamond alphabet series. Some even buy the alphabet letter of the name of their pet to use in a necklace around their own neck — particularly if they don’t have kids, or if they’re retired and are empty nesters.”

An ice-dying process lends itself to soft, beautiful colors.

Other popular items are the 14-carat pearl Newport bracelet and necklace. “Customers love pearls,” Camera continues. “Gorjana ones are super dainty and lightweight. It’s a modern take on classic design. We use the more organic shape, rather than the perfect look.”

Gorjana Reidel, who co-owns the brand with husband, Jason, designs necklaces so they can be layered with older pieces. The company is about 20 years old and has 44 other stores across the country; a design purchased a decade ago would still look fresh alongside a brand-new item.

The couple share a part-time residence in Palm Desert with their children. Originally from Serbia, Gorjana was seven when she and her family immigrated to the United States. “They had nothing,” says Camera. “They were a tight-knit family, with multiple generations living in one building.”

Timeless designs will last for years to come.

Her grandmother would make everything they needed, whether that was clothes or jewelry. Gorjana picked up that resourcefulness. She didn’t speak any English when she came here. By the time she graduated with a degree in marketing and communications, she felt she needed to do something for herself. She and Jason met at Arizona State University and launched their business from their apartment floor, taking Gorjana’s designs on the trade show circuit. Later, in Orange County, she worked the jewelry counter for Neiman-Marcus and became an apprentice to a local jeweler. “They faced a lot of trials and tribulations getting their business off the ground, but eventually they were picked up by Nordstrom nationwide,” Camera says.

The interior is styled like a coastal gallery space, a blank canvas for your adornment.

Jason oversees sales, real estate, and finance, while Gorjana is intimately involved in each product’s design, as well as the stores’ management. The couple are “a great balance for each other,” Camera says. “Gorjana has personally edited, approved, and wear-tested each piece of jewelry.”

Customers can shop online and pick up purchases at a store, but Gorjana believes in creating spaces for people to interact with each other and the products, too. Her stylists help create an individual look for each customer inside the store’s peaceful, coastal-inspired interior theme, which nods to the company’s Laguna Beach origins. The laid-back vibes keep customers happy.