Reagan Charleston brings Croatia to the Crescent City with new jewelry line

Recent days have revealed a whirlwind of changes for the local entrepreneur.

by Chelsea Brasted
June 17, 2019

Reagan Charleston has baby brain. The reality TV star of Bravo’s “Southern Charm: New Orleans” is trying to think of a word to describe the newest pieces in her jewelry line, and the words just aren’t coming, so here are a few: Earthy, architectural and, yes, gorgeous.

But if Charleston couldn’t come up with those terms herself, you can hardly blame her. Recent days have revealed a whirlwind of changes for the local entrepreneur. With the premiere of the new season of “Southern Charm,” Charleston revealed that her divorce to former New Orleans Saint Jeff Charleston was finalized, she’d married another New Orleanian, Reece Thomas, and she’s pregnant with their baby, a girl, who’s due any day now. (Editor’s Note: She had her baby! Congrats!!!)

It’s that journey that will anchor Charleston’s storyline on the Bravo series this summer, but for now, a happy Charleston laughs, making fun of herself for not quite having her thoughts together as she discusses the inspiration for her new collection. If each piece of the jewelry looks weighty with history, that’s because it is; Charleston started conceptualizing it when she was Croatia last year.

“It’s imperative that I get out and design a new collection,” Charleston said. “I need to see different sculptural details, architectural details, things I hadn’t been exposed to. … I’m a sponge, and I needed to get cracking on new designs.”

For several years, Charleston said, a friend had been trying to get her to a business summit that takes place on a cruise around Croatia. Finally, the timing clicked together and Charleston ventured with her sister to the many islands along the Adriatic Sea.

“It was fate,” Charleston said. “It worked out perfectly.”

Surrounded by fellow entrepreneurs, Charleston explored the ancient city streets, feeling like they were at once familiar and incredibly foreign.

It was in Diocletian’s Palace, named for the emperor of ancient Rome who retired there, that Charleston found her starting point thanks to simple Dalmatian ball motifs and lotus designs. Like the Croatian streets, she married these elements with something familiar: The lux French influence of her original collection.

In Charleston’s Croatian capital cuff, the result is a rough-hewn ringlet, almost like an Ionic column wrapped itself around your wrist. In her Lotus earring, petals softly melt downward, and in the Croatian Leone necklace, Charleston grounds her signature iconography with small, almost mirrored spheres.

The jewelry is available online and in Charleston’s shop in Canal Place. The space began as a pop-up but has turned semi-permanent because she’s happy having something so close to the French Quarter.

While Charleston doesn’t intend to change that yet, she’s by no means using the coming arrival of her new baby to slow down: “Southern Charm” episodes continue to drop weekly, so she’s got to be on her A-game to help promote them. She also plans to open a title company with her father-in-law this summer.

Still, in many ways, with her divorce behind her and a new life unfolding ahead, Charleston seems to feel like the hard part is over. “Divorce sucks. It’s hard. It’s traumatic, and I was excited about the opportunity to talk about my experience being a woman going through divorce,” she said. “I didn’t realize s—t would quite hit the fan.”

Reagan Charleston Jewelry
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One Canal Place, Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA
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Chelsea Brasted is a New Orleans-born journalist and a West Banker by choice. She most recently served as The Times-Picayune's city columnist. You can follow Chelsea's work on Twitter and Facebook, and you can contact her through her website, ChelseaBrasted.com.

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