We'll be the first to tell you we love a good summer. The sun? Can't get enough of it. We could design collections about it from here until next Tuesday. But this particular one is a bit out of the ordinary - it's inspired by a very fancy summer.
All those afternoons wandering around, soaking it all up. The coloured bricks, cobblestone streets, the flickering sun on warm, dusty hues. Boats churning away on the river nearby. Towering churches with the biggest stain glass windows we'd ever seen.
We stopped to stroll through some markets and found a hidden jewellery stall. Before long, we regressed to full kid in candy store mode. Arms out, slow walk, fingers outstretched to brush against every darn jewel, bead or stone we could.
A particular bowl of beads stopped us in our tracks. They glimmered exactly like a stained glass window. The second we saw them, we knew we had to make something with them.
And that was that - the Summer Collection was making itself known at full speed.
We returned home with fresh tans, more beads than we knew what to do with, Insta feeds so good they were getting to the point of obnoxious, and a dream in our hearts... To create pieces that would feel like waking up in the warm, European sun.
So we got into the studio and started making.
First on the agenda: materials
When picking the metal to best embody warmth and sun, the choice was pretty obvious - 18k gold. Represents prosperity, magic and passion - all the best ingredients for summer. Rich, bold and bright. 18k is our go-to for pairing with bold colours because it has enough elegance to be classy and allow for a fun twist. This brings us to:
Step 2: The Pieces
The perfect match for a metal representing passion and magic? One that represents integrity and balance - our trusty freshwater pearls. We used them to infuse a feeling of timeless calm into the collection.
We put the first couple of pieces together and stood back to admire our handiwork. The hairs on the back of our necks stood up and prickled in that special way. It was like looking straight into an actual stained glass window. We felt like we were seeing something that had been around for thousands of years, on its way to many more. Both a reminder of how small we are and how we're part of something so big at the same time. Always manages to put you exactly in your place.
We resonate with that thinking so deeply. It's part of our mission to create jewellery that's part of something bigger. Each piece is a step forward for a movement for slower fashion. For deeper, longer, richer connections with pieces. For a bigger impact of goodness on a sick earth. With that in mind, it was official - these were a yes. They became Juna and Aella.
Next, we kicked things up a notch and paired the pearls with molten gold studs. The studs embody that glorious melting feeling that's never far in summer. We're suckers for texture and seeing the bumpy goodness against the sleek pearl was music to our ears. These became the Riley Droplets.
For the Lila Chain, we wanted to mix in other elements of the Jean family - The Friendly Grocer Collection. More specifically, our renowned chillies. Nothing says "hot" more than a glass-blown red chilli. They were the perfect unexpected addition to make a showstopper. Just the right amount of attitude and class.
Now, to our trusty Olina Molten Studs. We had so much fun with this sneaky little statement. The molten studs were fashioned to look like little earlobes hanging down. The faces are a nod to the gorgeous sculptures in all those chapels we so badly want to walk around in one last time.
And then... the shoot
The moment where our entire vision would come together.
With this collection, we want to transport everyone back to those good ol' Prague streets. To give you the feeling of stumbling around the markets looking for your own treasures. A sprinkle of that little bit of magic that exists outside of time itself in each stained glass window.
To photograph, we chose Ukraine-based Anastasia Garek, who shot our last summer campaign. Anastasia takes photos that are captivating and bold. She recommended Inna Tkachenko. Inna has this air about her that makes the world stop every time she looks down a lens. Just the right combination to convey all we were hoping to.
So we sent away the pieces, the wardrobe and every bit of inspiration and let them get to it. Then, we waited. It was like giving birth to a baby but not knowing how if it's alive.
When the photos came back, the feeling went away in an instant. The pictures were warm, ethereal, bold and stunning all at the same time. We are so grateful to both of them for lending their magic to the project. They brought our dream to life better than we could have ever imagined.
Presenting, Summer by Jean.
A pop of colour carrying some serious goodness.
That's our humble attempt to scoop the essence of summer into something that's not too heavy for a jump ring. We loved every minute of it and are stoked with what's been created.
When we made our pieces, we wanted to be part of something bigger, but it's the people who wear them who make that possible.
So when you get your freshwater pearls on for a day in the sun, or maybe your molten studs, or your beads, know that we're grateful.
For investing in slow fashion. For furthering ethical creativity and showing the world what the new normal is. And for keeping the magic of summer alive.