Rubies, emeralds, diamonds: these are the colors of Africa for Vania Leles, which uses gems of origin that are responsible for high-class jewelery signed VanLeles ♦
Africa for Vania Leles, born in Guinea-Bissau, means two things: pride and precious stones, with which she also realizes collections of fine jewelry. Also for this reason, for example, a couple of years ago, she created a collection of six high-jewelery pieces with emeralds and diamonds from Zambia from the Gemfields mines, which boasts a process of ethical acquisition of stones. The collection pays tribute to Dido Elizabeth Belle, who was born in slavery in the West Indies in 1761, but was liberated and raised in London, and for Sarah Forbes Bonetta, who was presented as a “gift” to Queen Victoria in 1850 and later grown up as the queen’s goddaughter. In short, stories of slavery of other times. But that Vania, of dark skin, wanted to remember. The latest collection, instead, is called Sahara: dedicated to the desert, it is made of gold and diamonds.
Fortunately, the designer had a different story: she was a model for Saint Laurent. But then she decided that jewels were more interesting than life on the catwalk and she studied at the Gemological Institute of America and then worked for Graff and De Beers. How to say that it started from above. Having learned her trade, she opened an atelier in New Bond Street, London. Her jewels are top top top, as you can see from the images on this page. Lavinia Andorno