Vanessa Leu is another uber-talented designer I had the privilege of meeting at the Couture show in Las Vegas. Born in Taiwan, Vanessa spent years as a journalist in Vietnam…not your typical background for going into jewelry! She came to the states in the 80’s and enrolled in the Gemological Institute of America. Well let me tell you, I’m thrilled she made this career change, as her designs are quite fabulous!
Here’s one of the first pieces that caught my eye. It’s a sculptural cuff made from re-claimed metal and conflict-free stones, as is her entire collection. In fact, she is so adamant about fair-trade working conditions, that she actually visits where the jewelry is being made to make sure everything is up to par.
Vanessa has a strong spiritual side to her, with a life-long Zen practice and following the teachings of the philosopher Lao Tzu. She truly strives to show a meeting of east and west in her designs, which “marries the beauties of two cultures and transcends the soul.” With minimalist lines, she really gets this feeling across in her line. Here is an outstanding pair of earrings, which I’ve spied on more than one celebrity recently!
In fact, here’s Nicole Scherzinger at a London movie premier wearing these dramatic dangles in another color.
Not only is Vanessa a very eco-conscious designer, she’s also got a big heart. She donates a portion of her profits to charity, really paying it forward. What a cool lady!