Meet the talents behind our brand

Julie Swartz, CEO/Founder

Family matriarch. Design maven. E-commerce entrepreneur. Julie is recognized all over the world for her innovative and captivating designs. With clients spanning the globe, she is often commissioned to create one-of-a-kind pieces for their collections.

Julie has earned an industry-wide reputation for her designs and eye for trends – essential elements for delivering top quality jewelry to customers every time. Julie was born in the Carpathian Alps in Hungary during WWII and was hidden as an infant as the Holocaust swept Europe. Taken to Canada, she grew up, married, had six children and launched a jewelry business that became the Internet’s leading online jewelry company.

“When I was a little girl, my mother got these gorgeous diamond earrings for her anniversary. I thought they were the most magnificent things I’d ever seen. Then, I thought it was something I’d like to do.” Armed with passion and perseverance, Julie entered the jewelry business in 1971. When a local businessman shunned her as she tried to learn the ropes, Julie took matters into her own hands. Pearls first sparked her interest. Eager to learn everything about the market, Julie traveled to Japan, accompanied only by a guide from the Japan Pearl Association. She completely immersed herself in learning about pearls, visiting wholesalers and forging relationships to grow her business. She expanded her expertise in the field by studying at the Gemological Institute of America in California. Julie’s jewelry design skills were also tapped by Mattel to create a line of jewelry for the toy maker’s legendary Barbie collection. The line received a prestigious design award.

Brenda Gansbourg, Executive Vice-President, Merchandising

The jewelry business came naturally to Brenda Gansbourg. After all, it’s where she grew up. Brenda is the daughter of Delmar and Julianna B CEO Julie Schwartz. From a young age, her world was filled with the fascination and beauty of jewelry. She would go into the basement of their family home, admiring the latest designs and dreaming of the day she’d own something like them.

It’s an industry she didn’t think she’d find herself in, but today, it’s her passion. Brenda learned the trade at home through years of observing her mom. “My favorite part of our business? I love seeing finished pieces. There’s a process that goes into perfecting a piece and when you finally see the complete piece – it’s a thrill you can’t explain.”

She is inspired by trends, but not ruled by them. Brenda believes jewelry should be a reflection of the women who wear it – symbolizing their elegance, heart and talents. Brenda brings edgy, yet playful accents to the Julianna B line, combined with her mother’s classic elegant style. It’s a blend for timeless pieces, like her personal favourite, the diamond cuff. It’s evocative of lace, encrusted in diamonds.

She believes their designs are geared toward women who want to look and feel good. “When you put on something you love, you feel good. It makes you happy.”
When she’s not dreaming up new collections, the mother and grandmother is spending time with her family – another passion of hers.

Claire Vessot

Working from her studio in Montreal, Claire's specialty is brand development:¬ creating new looks and extending the depths of those that exist. While earning 20 Industry Design Awards, Claire is known for her more visible work as former Lead and Senior Designer for ELLE jewelry since its inception. Claire’s targeted specialties of brand development sparkle plenty as she believes confident styling is revealed with ease, and always remembering to have a little fun while at it.

Claire’s accreditation highlights include Canadian Jeweller, JCK, AGTA and Debeers, but her message remains the same: to create beauty.

“My personal taste is ever¬-changing, yet I do like a little splash mixed into something very simple. Confident sleek styling would describe an irresistible combination for me. The design process is intangible, but rich and true inspiration is a feeling that comes with impetus, evolves, and I just know I’m onto something good.”