Sustainable Malibu-Inspired Designs, Christine Street’s Vision for Chocolate and Steel Jewelry

Christine Street’s venture into jewelry design with her brand, Chocolate and Steel, emerged organically from her clothing design and merchandising background. Her passion for art and design was initially kindled by her career in menswear and womenswear, but she later found a new medium in jewelry. “I missed designing and started making jewelry for the pure joy of it,” Christine reminisces. “Customers would buy the pieces off my neck.”

“The Message Circle necklace “forever is composed of nows” was born out of that day that we took the pandemic field trip drive to Malibu. It gave me perspective on slowing down. It’s another way of saying, “How you spend your days is how you spend your life.” There is no grand plan that needs to be in place. Do the thing today that matters to you.”

This newfound passion became Christine’s side hustle while she worked as a merchandiser for Anthropologie. During maternity leave in 2005, she took the leap into e-commerce, setting up her shop on Etsy. “I fulfilled orders during nap time and worked from 6 pm to 2 am making the pieces,” she shares. It was an exhausting yet gratifying period that allowed her the flexibility to balance work and caring for her baby.

Living in Southern California, particularly exploring Malibu with her family, profoundly influenced Christine’s creative vision. “I am drawn to a breezy, sun-baked vibe,” she explains. Nature, especially the sights and colors of Malibu, inspires her designs. During the pandemic, with limited options for outings due to closures and restrictions, Christine and her kids embarked on a Malibu adventure, complete with permission slips and a carefully curated playlist. This experience became a soul-healing moment that later informed her Malibu collection.

The “Malibu” collection reflects Christine’s love for her surroundings. “The first thing you’ll notice about the Malibu collection is how bright and cheerful it is,” she says. Malibu’s turquoise seas and pink skies manifest in her designs, evoking the beauty of California’s landscapes.

“I envision the turquoise opal beaded necklace on a hike through Sycamore Canyon and then out for a night at a nice restaurant. I think your jewelry can look fabulous all the time. These pieces have that transformative energy that can be worn day or night – roughing it or glamming it.”

Christine’s commitment to sustainability is woven into Chocolate and Steel’s ethos. “Giving back is built into the foundation of my business,” she affirms. They use recycled sterling silver and ethically sourced gemstones and run their studio on alternative energy sources. Christine’s connection to the environment fostered through childhood beach cleanups, underscores her dedication to preserving nature.

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Her jewelry reflects the lifestyle and culture of Malibu, embodying a blend of organic and industrial elements. “My style has always been a combination of organic and concrete,” Christine muses. The Message Circle necklace, adorned with the quote “forever is composed of nows,” was inspired by her pandemic field trip to Malibu—a reminder to cherish each moment.

Looking ahead, Christine is excited about upcoming projects celebrating the wonders of California. Original illustrations capturing the essence of the Golden State will soon grace her collections, continuing her journey of creative exploration and heartfelt connection with her customers. “I learned that slowing down and taking the time to enjoy something adds so much value to the experience,” Christine shares. “I bring that same sense of awe and wonder to the process of choosing the stones I work with. It is a mindfulness practice to note all the details – the color, the translucency, the cut, the finish, the temperature, the shape, the size.” Through Chocolate and Steel, Christine Street’s designs not only adorn but also inspire—a testament to the beauty of mindful craftsmanship and the enduring allure of Malibu’s landscapes.

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