Yvonne Léon develops from fashion magazines to her own brand – JCK

Some children grow up with plastic toys and blocks. Yvonne Léon was one of the lucky ones: her parents and grandparents were jewelers, so she was allowed to play with gems and diamonds.

That sounds like the perfect Parisian childhood. But Léon is quick to point out that as much as she was surrounded by precious materials, her favorite toys were paper, glue and stamps – speaking to her imagination and dreams of becoming a designer.

This ability to take raw materials and transform them into something that exceeds expectations has remained with Léon from her time at the renowned Paris school Esmod, to working in fashion magazines to her current position as CEO of her fine jewelry brand, Yvonne Léon.

Yvonne Leon ring
Yvonne Léon says she wants her jewelry to reflect both her love of nature and her understanding of vintage, giving her work an organic feel as well as timelessness, as in this 9k gold maxi ring ($1,517).

Her years in Vogue magazine in Paris not only informed Léon’s personal style, but also gave her the tools she now uses every day in her jewelry line. Combine that with her family’s decades of knowledge and her father’s sense of style—more on that later—and you have the seeds of a career focused on beauty, luxury and, of course, jewelry.

“I loved the fashion universe,” says Léon. “It was very interesting, introduced me to the world of creation and fueled my love for fashion.”

They Vogue deadlines also made her good at multitasking, says Léon—something that allowed her to ensure every detail was perfect while simultaneously filling the pages of one of the world’s most important clothing and accessories magazines.

Yvonne Leon bracelet
There’s something delightfully delicious about a bracelet that has diamonds but is named after donuts ($4,028).

How did she get through those stressful situations? “I’m creative, I’m good with numbers and I know how to sell,” says Léon. “I am very resilient and I never stop thinking about new goals and projects in my head.”

With these skills, Léon was ready to re-explore her fascination with jewelry. In addition to her interest in design, she found her muse on trips, going to museums and visiting vintage jewelry, furniture and decoration stores.

Léon says her father’s eye for what looked great on her mother gave her brand a signature piece: dessous d’oreilleor “ear jacket”, an earring worn under the ear.

“Everything around me inspires me for new jewelry ideas,” says Léon. “My first design was an earring. My father designed a similar piece for my mother in the 80s and I was inspired by that. I added pearls and diamonds. My brand was launched after its inception.”

Yvonne Leon earrings
Cha-cha-cha, indeed. These green glass earrings with gray diamonds and 18k gold are an example of how Léon loves to make earrings spectacular ($5,076).

In managing her own jewelry brand, Léon says she is inspired by her father’s influence, as well as her family’s understanding of what makes people happy.

“I worked in my parents’ store when I was younger and I learned the importance of prioritizing customers,” says Léon. “I watched my parents work diligently to satisfy their customers and maintain their loyalty to make sure they would come back again.”

This is exactly what Léon hopes will happen as he continues to develop his talents within his namesake brand.

“I want my brand to grow and develop with me,” says Léon. “I also want to expand outside of France and open stores in London.”

Top: Yvonne Léon began her career in fashion magazines, working to tight deadlines and killing all the words. Then her background in jewelry became a siren song, calling her back to the family business (photos courtesy of Yvonne Léon).

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