Jewel was born in White Rock, British Columbia, but her family moved almost immediately to Maui where she lived until she was four. Jewel made her first public appearance while in Maui at the "Maui County Most Beautiful Baby Contest" and has loved the limelight ever since.
In 1986, Jewel's family moved to her current home town of Vancouver. There she was approached by a Sears representative to appear in a video for the department store. At first she refused because she felt she was being talked down to, but after seeing the clothes that young models got to wear she changed her mind. Her parents supported both decisions, and her modeling career was soon underway. Modeling jobs led to commercials which led in turn to larger acting roles.
She got her start appearing in a student short film for the Vancouver Film School, called Meeting Dad. This lead to some small movie parts and then to a larger role in the series Flash Forward for which she won a Gemini Award in 1996. She was featured in a number of other series, but is probably best known for playing the role of Kaylee on the short lived Joss Whedon series Firefly and the movie sequel called Serenity.
Her Firefly co-star Morena Baccarin was the maid of honor at her wedding to Matt Anderson on April 25, 2003.