Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Shopkeeper of the Week - LeJu Sustainable Jewellery

Within the designs of LeJu jewellery is an intoxicating mix of colour, form and texture. It is clear the pieces are influenced by a distant, ancient culture, yet they are also contemporary and most importantly, incredibly wearable.

Founded in 2004 by designer Lenny Trines and business partner Juan Munoz. Lenny Trines became inspired to design jewellery whilst travelling through South America, during this time she spent eight weeks in the Amazonian rain forest, exploring and visiting different villages. It was here that Lenny discovered her true desire: to create jewellery using natural, sustainable materials in the colours, shapes and energy echoed in the rain forest.

LeJu pioneer the use of a very special seed known as Vegtable

Ivory. The seed is obtained from a palm tree called Hyphaene Phytelephas found in the Amazonian rain forest.

Vegetable Ivory is the only 100% sustainable alternative for elephant ivory given that its colour and hardness are extremely similar to ivory. Therefore, its use stimulates the economies in South America, provides an alternative to cutting down rain forest for farming, and prevents elephants from being killed for their tusks. Before it can be worked, the seeds must be allowed to dry naturally to gain the hardness required to be carved. Consequently, the older the seed the more valuable it becomes.

We take a few moments out with Lenny Trines, the head of design at LeJu.

How would you describe LeJu?

LeJu has always sought to combine the best in contemporary jewellery design with sustainable components taken from nature, as well as ideas and manufacturing techniques garnered from South America fusing them with European fashion to create designs that are unique and full of colour.

Who/what are your biggest influences?

Designing jewellery is an emotion for me. Elements may come to me like a splurge or a blur at any given time of the day or night and I then evolve that thought into a finished piece of jewellery. Each piece is very personal to me. I used simple forms and shapes for inspiration in each collection.

What is your favourite item from your current collection?

Oh that is a difficult one! If I'd have to pick one it'd be the Taniwah necklace. To me this is a very unique piece of work and when I wear this necklace it makes me feel very happy and proud. But also I absolutely love the Byzantine long earrings as they are just perfect for day and night wear, they style a simple outfit up in no time!
Where is your favourite place(s) to visit for inspiration?

Colombia. We have our own production there and I visit this country twice a year to work on my new collections and also to spend time with our production team.

Furthermore, the whole world is an inspiration to me, it is like a treasure box with lots of hidden gems and beautiful places, I get energised by spending time in nature. I am intrigued with textures, colours and smells within nature this could be in a nature reserve in Colombia but also in my own back garden.

Do you have any new items/collections about to be launched?

Yes I will be launching my new collection At PURE London in August! you can expect lots of new interesting colour combinations with neutral base tones and beautiful new shapes.

What do you enjoy most about being one of the shops in The Secret Arcade?

We love the concept of a selective selection of designers offering unique designs. We are very proud to be part of this concept.

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