Va­nia Leles: Stay­ing True To Her Roots


Lo­cated in the heart of Lon­don’s fa­mous Bond Street, the ul­ti­mate ad­dress of lux­ury jew­ellery brands, VanLe­les, a fairly new en­trant, is al­ready mak­ing waves for its ex­clu­sive jew­ellery with a strong eth­i­cal mes­sage. Founder and cre­ative di­rec­tor VA­NIA LELES from West Africa has won ac­claim for her na­ture-in­spired cre­ations that are colonised with hand-picked, fairmined gem­stones that ben­e­fit the min­ers and the com­mu­ni­ties at large. She be­lieves that the birth of a jew­ellery piece be­gins from the mines. It was all about prove­nance, which proved to be a turn­ing point for Va­nia. The re­al­i­sa­tion that more than half the re­sources for fine jew­ellery are pro­duced in Africa, and yet the coun­try had not pro­duced enough fine jew­ellery de­sign­ers nig­gled at Va­nia’s con­science. The need to pre­serve and up­hold Africa’s cul­tural pride fu­elled her am­bi­tion to start the best of the best fine jew­ellery brands that would talk of her coun­try’s nat­u­ral re­sources that ben­e­fited the work­ers who brought out these beauties from the ground. Be­fore strik­ing out on her own, the GIA-trained de­signer and gem­mol­o­gist fur­ther honed her skills at some of the ex­em­plary jew­ellery houses such as Graff and De Beers. She even did a stint at Sotheby’s as a client man­ager that made her ap­pre­ci­ate the his­tor­i­cal value and artistry of pieces. To­day, Va­nia’s global brand VanLe­les is known for qual­ity and out­stand­ing de­signs – and she is one of the few shin­ing ex­am­ples and an in­spi­ra­tion for African women in the field of jew­ellery.

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