Jamie Lynn Sigler and Holly Freeman, Courtesy Erika Bierman
Jamie-Lynn Sigler has been beyond busy since her series The Sopranos ended. First, she started her CJ Free jewelry line in 2008. Then she quickly followed that milestone with an engagement to baseball player beau Cutter Dykstra and a new baby boy, son Beau Kyle, whom she and Dykstra welcomed last summer.
And now that she’s gotten being mom down to a science, she and her CJ Free design partner, her close friend Holly Freeman, are doubling down on their jewelry efforts — including introducing a new line of fine jewelry. But it all started almost by mistake; at first, Sigler and Freeman weren’t even planning on entering the jewelry industry at all.
“After the Sopranos wrapped, I moved back to L.A., and during the transition, lived with Holly and her family. We had so much fun hanging out, and would often discuss our future project, which we originally thought would be a production company. Late one night, Holly brought out these beautiful gold beads, and we started making bracelets while watching TV. A spark went off, and really, the rest is history,” Sigler tells PEOPLE of starting the line, named after Freeman’s son.
A view of their workshop; Courtesy Erika Bierman
They started with one piece and expanded from there, again, almost by accident. “Our first piece was a simple gold beaded bracelet,” Freeman says. “Jamie decided to wear our first prototype to the premiere of Entourage a few years back, and neither of us thought anything of it, because at that time we hadn’t even launched CJ Free. One of the reporters asked her about the bracelets, and the next thing we knew, it was all over the press. We definitely were not expecting that!”
Since then, celebrities including Lea Michelle, Hilary Duff, Ali Larter and even Russell Simmons have all worn CJ Free. Says Freeman, “We just recently saw a picture of Russell and he is still wearing our bracelet — I don’t think he’s taken it off since last summer!”
Some of the pieces in progress; Courtesy Erika Bierman
Both designers have a hard time picking favorite pieces. Freeman loves the Ladybug charm bracelet from the line, while Sigler’s favorite charm has a very special meaning to her: “I’ve always loved our Boy Charm bracelet, but up until recently, it had no real connection to my life. Now, since having my baby boy, it’s become all the more special and it feels ‘legit’ to have it on every day. Maybe it was some sort of sign all along.”
In addition to their signature jewelry collection, they also have a large collection with a charitable component. “Charity is also very near and dear to both of us, so fusing those worlds together serves as our creative endeavor,” says Freeman. And even as they grow, the goal is for each piece to feel unique: “Our aim is to produce jewelry that is personal to the wearer, so anything in our collection can be customized,” says Sigler.
The designers at work; Courtesy Erika Bierman
That very personal aesthetic informs CJ Free’s new fine jewelry collection, which has been in the works for a while now, and features a variety of gold, sterling silver and precious stones, and all the pieces are crafted in L.A.
“Our jewelry has evolved with us over the years, but I love how each new piece retains our core design values,” Sigler shares. “I’m obsessed with everything in our new collection. It’s a great feeling to look down at my hand or wrist or catch a glimpse of my earrings in the mirror and be so proud of what I see.”
Adds Freeman: “CJ Free still feels very personal, new and exciting, and that’s how I want to keep it. I love communicating with our customers and really giving each part of the business my utmost attention. My dream is to remain focused and hands-on and to create jewelry that stands the test of time.”
What do you think of the line? What pieces would you splurge on? Share your thoughts below!
–Brittany Talarico, with reporting by Alex Apatoff