VANLELES is a newcomer on Bond Street, and this jewellery house is different from any other you will find in Mayfair, or indeed any other luxury shopping streets around the world. And this is because Vania Leles, the woman behind VANLELES, brings to Bond Street her very personal approach to jewellery that never forgets the African origins of her family.
Born in Guinea-Bissau and brought up in Portugal, the former model left her New York catwalk career and trained to be a gemmologist and diamond-grader. Vania then went on to gain 10 years’ experience at some of the most prestigious jewellery houses on Bond Street before opening her own first-floor jewellery boutique.
“I am one of the few black African women to own a luxury jewellery business of this calibre,” says Vania. “I hope to be an inspiration to other African women. As I am from Africa, it is natural for me to care about where my products come from and to make sure, as much as I can, that I try to use ethically sourced and sustainable materials.”
“I always believed that jewellery shouldn’t start at the shop floor, but where it all begins - at the mines, and the communities around those mines,” adds Vania. “That’s important to me, and more and more of my clients want that beautiful story linked to their pieces of jewellery. It is a moral duty that I have as I am one of them.”
Today, Vania meets each of her clients and makes buying jewellery a very personal experience. Sometimes the client will see the rough stone and follow the process right through to the finished piece. Vania understands that her level of clients probably have jewels from the big names on Bond Street and are looking for jewels that are different and with a story to tell.
“My clients appreciate a jewel with a story, they like to know where the stones came from, what inspired me, and they often take part in the process,” explains Vania. “My clients become like friends to me.”
Vania offers five different collections, many of which are inspired by her life, travels and memories of Africa. Vania also offers a bespoke jewellery service that can feature gems of the highest value or a customised engagement ring.
Watch our video to find out more about Vania Leles and what makes VANLELES different from the rest.