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Jewelry designer fights cystic fibrosis

Jewelry designer Tracee Nichols isn't always sure how celebrities end up with her pieces, but she was there when a necklace from her Roman collection caught the eye of singer Taylor Swift.

Nichols says she and a friend were backstage after a concert, and the friend was wearing a similar necklace. "And [Swift] said, 'Oh, my gosh, I have to have the necklace.' And my friend said, 'Here is the designer.'"


More often, she says, the celebrity attention is the result of "if you ever need anything" pitches she routinely makes to agents and stylists looking to outfit Hollywood A-listers for high-profile events and photo shoots. That's how her jewelry turned up on English model and actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in a cover photo and five-page spread of Harper's Bazaar magazine, she says.

"Being positioned with some of the biggest designers, like Christian Dior [who was also in the magazine], was really fun," she says.

If you go

* What: Trunk show by jewelry designer Tracee Nichols

* When: 6:30-10 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4

* Where: Michelle Workman home, 100A McFarland Road, Lookout Mountain, Georgia

* Online:



Her designs, which range from rings to earrings to cuff links, have also found their way to such notables as John Travolta, Juliette Lewis, Kristin Chenoweth and Lily Singh, as well as celebrity fitness trainer Tracy Anderson.

On Monday, the Los Angeles-based designer will showcase some of her favorite pieces at a jewelry trunk show at the Lookout Mountain home of her friend, interior designer Michelle Workman, who relocated her family from her native Los Angeles to Chattanooga in 2013.

Nichols' visit will raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-Chattanooga, a chapter led by Chattanooga mom Ginger Birnbaum. Her 7-year-old son, King, has the disorder, which causes severe damage to the lungs, digestive system and other organs.

Workman made the connection between her far-flung friends after realizing that Birnbaum's warrior spirit against CF was the embodiment of Nichols' signature design, a Roman soldier representing courage.

"The Roman seems to be the one people really gravitate toward," Nichols says. "People are always interested in it when I wear it. They want to know the story. Why are you wearing that piece? What's your story?"

Nichols says all of her pieces signify strength and power. "I don't have dainty little pieces," she says. "I just believe in being bold."

For the trunk show, she has created exclusive, limited-edition designs that will honor those living with cystic fibrosis and help support the search for a cure. All are crafted from 14-karat gold and adorned with diamonds, emeralds and other precious stones.

Nichols says most pieces will fall into the $500 to $1,800 range, but she will have a couple of higher-priced pieces. Fifteen percent of proceeds will be donated.

Birnbaum says her family awaits the day that new treatments and research will make a difference for her son. "Before I go to bed at night, I envision putting a pill in my child's hands that will give him a new lease on life. I can't think of a better gift."

Contact Lisa Denton at or 423-757-6281.