Kevia Jeffrey-West began developing jewelry for her personal collection while studying in Zimbabwe as an undergraduate at Lewis & Clark College in 1997 and 1999. She collected locally mined and cut stones, sketched designs, and found local jewelers to make her creations. While completing her bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology and social change, she worked in the fields of urban environmental policy, community outreach, and social justice for eight years. Her community and academic work led to a full ride fellowship in an education research and policy PhD program at the University of California Santa Barbara in 2003.  While living in Santa Barbara, she once again began creating jewelry in her spare time, the designer notes, "The natural beauty of the coastal region is vividly striking and inspiring. My partner and I lived in a two-bedroom apartment; I had a balcony garden but really needed something more substantial to occupy my creative energy." Kevia decided to officially launch her line in the winter of 2005 using her own namesake, which means "beautiful child."    With jewelry in over 600 stores, Kevia has built a wonderful brand with beautiful jewelry, utilizing real stones in fashion jewelry that make a beautiful statement at a reasonable price.  She's built an empire yet remains down-to-earth, passionate and kind.  During holiday season, she sent truffles she made for me herself, with a pair of earrings as a personal gift.  She is incredibly thoughtful and her jewelry designs are so special.