This interview with Orna Levy, co-founder of Yvel, gives us some insight into the things that inspire the driving force behind this industry-leading jewelry manufacturer. Many of Orna’s responses use the words “we” and “our” rather than “I” and “my” as Orna and her husband, Isaac, are an inseparable team in both their private and business lives. Yvel is their shared vision; one that has evolved and continues to evolve from the melding of disparate yet complementary ingredients – much like those that create magnificent pearls.
Why have you focused on pearls as your medium of expression? What is it about pearls that attracts you?
My family has been in the pearl business since 1888. I grew up playing with pearls. Family legend has it that I knew how to string pearls before I knew how to walk….
As pearls are the only precious gemstone grown inside a living organism, they uniquely represent my husband’s and my love for natural beauty. Just as no two people are exactly alike, so no two pearls are identical. It’s the richness of diversity in nature that appeals to our family and deserves to be celebrated in one-of-a-kind jewels.
However, Yvel is no longer exclusively pearls. In early 2009, we discovered incredible and beautiful natural, un-heated, and un-treated sapphires from a mine in the Umba River Valley in Tanzania. This area is known for producing some of the finest and most distinctive sapphires ever recovered on the African continent. The beautiful array of rainbow colors captured our attention as we had never seen anything like them before – in sapphires, or any other precious stone.
Pink and Green Sapphires & Diamond Gold Ring
Sapphires are one of the four precious gemstones, and we were inspired by these lovely gems straight from the crust of the Earth. We used them to produce a beautiful and sensual “Rainbow Collection” that looks fabulous on every skin tone.
Where do you get the inspiration for your designs?
Keshi Pearl & Diamond Gold Ring
From Mother Nature herself. We seek out the unusual and the attractive in nature and then caress it with some gold or sprinkle it with diamonds. We truly set ourselves apart by enhancing Mother Nature’s unparalleled beauty and hand-crafting it into wearable works of art. Our jewels are Created by Nature, Designed by Yvel.
It’s now possible to buy real pearls quite inexpensively, and I don’t think a lot of people are educated about what distinguishes a good quality pearl from one of inferior quality. Can you explain the distinction? What is it about Yvel pearls that makes them of such exceptional quality?
Pearls are in my DNA. Having grown up playing with pearls, I have developed a keen eye for quality and almost a sixth sense to find the most lustrous, rare, and beautiful pearls in a literal sea of mediocrity. We visit the pearl farms and pearl auctions in the Far East regularly to seek only the best and most unique pearls and have the experience to know what makes a truly magnificent pearl.
The quality of a pearl is determined by its size which is directly proportional to its age, color, brilliance or luminosity, and its shape. Older, larger pearls with unusual shapes are highly prized but, most importantly, the purity of radiance and the luster of the nacre are what set exceptional pearls apart.
We believe that the beauty of an Yvel piece of jewelry is truly enhanced when placed on the right woman. Only then, will Yvel pearls look exceptional….
Pearls can be frumpy and considered an older look- how do you keep the stone looking fresh and young?
At Yvel, we are ‘not your grandmother’s pearls.’ We thrive on baroque pearls and exotic gemstones, organically produced treasures that evoke a sexy sense of boldness and a daring allure which is at once both classic and bold. We strive to keep our designs modern without being trendy and elegant without being limited only to special occasions. Versatility is key. Our pearls can dress up your favorite pair of designer denim or perfectly complement that little black dress.
Who is the ideal Yvel woman?
The Yvel customer is a passionate, fashion-forward woman who values beauty and creativity, with a penchant for collecting items of great artistic value and meaningful provenance. She avoids trite and traditional styles but appreciates heritage and enduring value. She appreciates the organic beauty of Mother Nature and empowers herself by wearing jewelry with inherent natural beauty and value that will last a lifetime and be versatile enough to serve her through every changing phase of her own unique life.
How should pearls be worn? Dressed up, dressed down, everyday, occasionally?
The best thing you can do for your pearls is to love them! Wear them and stroke them with loving fingertips. Your natural body oils will enhance the sheen and luster of the pearls. Pearls are so organic in shape and possess such a natural beauty that they maintain a very unique versatility, making them perfect for everyday wear or for glamming up a special dress that needs that extra little something. Not many gems can claim such versatility. At Yvel, our special clasps also make it easy to add a bracelet to a necklace or to combine multiples into one long plunging necklace when additional drama is required.
How does your home country of Israel influence your designs?
Jerusalem, our hometown is set in the middle of the Judea desert. The combination of our pearls coming from the sea and the Yvel gold texture inspired by the Judea desert brings the most exotic combinations and designs to the woman of the world.
Of all the places in the world that pearls come from, what’s your favorite? The South Sea?
The South Sea is not only of my favorite places but also produces some of my favorite pearls. However, recently I find myself more and more attracted to the colors and shades of the natural baroque fresh water pearls. They come in great sizes, amazing shapes, and rare colors that no salt water pearl oyster can produce.