jewelry atelier

On Friday, I paid a long-anticipated visit to the French Kande jewelry studio, where these unique pieces are designed and made. (Above: Nikki, the Production Manager has a meeting in the main room.)

For those who aren’t yet familiar with this jewelry line and the story behind it, in 2009 on a visit to Paris, Kande Hall found some interesting vintage medallions at the marché aux puces (flea market). Not long after she returned home, she was inspired to add one of the medallions to a long strand of pearls, and a jewelry line was born!

The studio interior is a lovely, light and airy space. The building itself dates back to the 1920’s, and Kande and Lenn did lots of work to refurbish the space and make it fun and welcoming. The decor pays tribute to the French inspiration behind the designs.

wire sculptures

Even the outdoor patio in back has some charming accents.

Kande showed me the vault where the stones, pearls, chains, medallions and findings are stored. One of the things I love most about this jewelry are the interesting stones used in the pieces. They’re beautiful on their own, but also harmonize with the medallions and settings very nicely.

French Kande studio 3
French Kande studio 4
French Kande jewelry artisan at work

Above, one of the artisans assembling a new piece. All French Kande pieces are made to order.

The most exciting part of the visit was getting a glimpse into Kande’s design process and a sneak peak of some of the designs she’s working on for the fall line. It’s going to be a fabulous collection, and I wanted one of everything she showed me!

French Kande jewelry design samples

One of the things I love most about French Kande pieces is how great they look when worn layered. Below are a few of the currently available pieces that I’m wearing most frequently. I find I prefer wearing more silver now during warmer months, as it feels light and fresh. But I do mix my metals too!

silver jewelry, vintage French medallions

Clockwise from top left (similar styles): ring | necklace | bracelet | necklace

What are your favorite jewelry materials?

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  1. One thing I’ve been curious about–are the medallions still originals or are they now reproductions?
    I have one precious French Kande necklace!

    1. Hi Leeann, this is Kande. Thank you for liking my designs! The medallions are hand cast from the original, by our artisan here in Los Angles. They are food-grade pewter, then clad in sterling or brass, blackened, and then hand-rubbed to give them an authentic aged look.

  2. Being a jewelry designer for many years, I was totally captivated by this post. I am no longer able to make jewelry but I certainly can buy it and French Kande is one of my all time favorite lines. Thank you for sharing your studio visit with us!

  3. Such pretty pieces– the combo of old medallions and stones is inspired. Reminds me of some pieces I ran across in New Orleans, years ago. You combine them in great ways when you layer, too, doubling their impact.

    I was surprised to run across a few of the French Kande pieces being offered on the Home Shopping Network: http://www.hsn.com/products/fkla-by-french-kande-amphitrite-medallion-necklace/7814414

    There’s a strictly limited number of items, and most seem to be available at extremely tempting sale prices, if anyone wants to get something home affordably to see the line. I wonder if it was a trial balloon, to see if a broader market would take to the collection? Presumably they did not compromise the integrity of the items to make them more affordable…

    1. I saw those, too, but wondered if the quality was the same? The items I’ve purchased directly from French Kande are well made and the items are guaranteed for life, apparently. I lost a tiny stone around one of my medallions and French Kande replaced it quickly and for free.

      1. Hello everyone, this is Kande. I’d like to answer questions re: HSN. I had been talking with HSN for a couple of years, with the idea that we may offer a lower priced option to women who can’t afford French Kande prices. This lead to designing a collection exclusively for HSN called FKLA.
        We do not manufacture the HSN collection, it is made overseas (whereas French Kande is made in Los Angeles), and does not incorporate semi precious stones, authentic pearls, sterling-plating, and more. It is truly a diffusion line created for a unique demographic. 

        Many of my fashion idols offer diffusion lines; Victoria Beckham, Marc Jacobs, and Michael Kors just to name a few. . . I’m grateful and excited to have the opportunity to create jewelry for a new group of women.

        Thank you all for your kind remarks 🙂

  4. I now own 2 French Kande necklaces now, thanks to you, Susan. I purchased one and then my husband gave me one as a birthday gift. I love them both. I do find, however, now that it’s getting warmer (it was 90 degrees in Delaware Saturday!) the weight of the stone necklaces seem heavy against lightweight fabric. I almost feel as if I need to try one of the chain styles. Anyone else feel like heavy necklaces are too much in the heat of the summer?

  5. You have me sold on this brand. Everytime you wear your pieces I go over to the sit and think : “shall I order one or two pieces now??” And then my Dutch tightness prevails haha

  6. Just curious, are these pieces heavy? Most curious about the bracelets. Wondering if they would be too bulky or heavy for a 6″ arthritic wrist.

    1. Hi Jaqueline, I have very small wrists and don’t find them too bulky. If weight is a concern, you might look at one of the two-strand stone bracelets like this one LINK or one of the chain bracelets like this one LINK.

  7. I’m a little confused. You said everything is “made to order.” I always thought “made to order” meant they make it to someone’s specifications. Is that the case? Maybe you meant “one of a kind” ??. I do love these pieces. Thanks for introducing them to us.

    1. Hi Christine, sorry if my language is confusing. What I meant was that each piece is assembled by hand once ordered.

  8. I discovered French Kande because of your blog, Susan, and owe you a big thank you! Just ordered my second piece today, a long pearl necklace with a medallion. I spoke with the founder’s delightful daughter, Taylor, who helped me customize my necklace. I added a bezel and also chose mixed metals; can’t wait to receive it. It can be worn two different ways (long or doubled) and will also look fantastic with the piece I already own. I get so many compliments when I wear my French Kande – thanks again 🙂

  9. I love all jewelry, from diamonds to acrylic. I purchased a French Kande piece lately at a boutique on vacation recently, mostly because of how much I admired yours. I love the look of it, however it twists incessantly. I am constantly untwisting it. If I lived closer to the store I would consider returning it for a different piece.

  10. I, too, love your French Kande pieces, and look forward to your posts which feature this beautiful jewelry. Alas, my pocketbook doesn’t allow for a purchase of these exquisite designs, but it doesn’t cost a thing to look and drool from afar.

  11. Hi! Love your jewelry!!! Can you custom order a necklace? as in get a different medallion on a specific chain combination? Hopeful buyer 🙂

    1. Hi, I’m not the jewelry designer, but yes, many of the styles have the option to switch the medallion. You can see the latest styles HERE.