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What's in Store Special Edition: Jennifer Montana Design

Jennifer Montana, Joe Montana's wife, provides us with a peak inside her jewelry line. Learn how she is helping the community of Oakland, the inspiration behind her products, and where to buy.

Photos by Jack Hutch

­Famous football wife, philanthropist, and artist, Jennifer Montana creates modern heirlooms. And with her new business, Jennifer Montana Design, she is putting some Oakland residents to work. We caught up with Montana to learn more about the inspiration behind her jewelry.


Tell me about the collections.

I named the collections after my kids. Alexandra is the oldest, and hers is the most sophisticated of the lines; it’s the eternity style—the key is connected to the chain on both ends. The next one is Elizabeth—she is free-spirited and edgy; all of those pieces are pendants. Then, we have the Nick & Nate line, and those pieces are rugged and have a rustic type of look with one or two keys on a masculine chain. The guys say the ladies dig the necklaces!


Why did you decide to design jewelry?

One is the positive/inspirational words that I put on a key. The key signifies opening doors, and new opportunities. The key is an heirloom, a source of inspiration from the giver to the recipient. Secondly, I have the ability to employ women who otherwise may not be able to work. They are legal immigrants who are placed in the Oakland area, in a program called Harbor House.


Why did you choose Harbor House?

These are women who have worked in communities with their families in their native countries. When they’re placed in Oakland, they’re only with whomever they came to the States with, and they don’t yet have a sense of community. When they’re assembling the jewelry, they are sitting around a common table, communicating as best they can, earning money for their families and being creative, too. They get a sense of community, and you can see their joy because they’re not just sitting alone at home.


What do you enjoy about the creative process?

Everything! The first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning is ‘how can I make this necklace evolve a little bit more?’ I wake up in the night, and I have paper and pen near me, so I can write down ideas. It’s really important for me to keep it within the price point. I would also like to go into a whole different line, and I plan to.


Finally, what’s next for Jennifer Montana Design?

I would like to develop a fine jewelry line with precious jewels and pave diamonds.

Montana’s necklaces are available at www.jennifermontanadesign.com and at Flaunt Boutique in Danville. Eighty percent of the proceeds go to the Montana Family Foundation, which primarily benefits children’s charities and family-based organizations.