Le Vian is a family-owned jewelry company with a long history, dating from the 15th century, although the name needs no introduction. It is well-known for the reinventing of several categories of fine jewelry through unique combinations of colors of diamonds, gems and gold to create the various collections.
We chatted with CEO Eddie LeVian to get the inside scoop on his favorite part about working in the jewelry industry, how the brand handles the high expectations of consumers, what he’s most looking forward to at JCK Las Vegas 2019 and much more:
How did your journey in the jewelry industry begin?
The old fashion way, I was born into the century’s old family business. When I was 13 I interned in the stone cutting factory of my late father. We had the best teacher, our late father, who was very hands-on and knowledgeable. In our teenage years he would take us to the mines where we purchased rough stones, and to the jewelry making factories. He helped us understand the global network of the supply chain and how the parts come together. I also studied jewelry making, business, the GIA, and jewelry design, diamonds and gems.
What is your favorite part about working in the jewelry industry?
Best part is knowing that the jewelry will outlive us. It is a way for our name to be remembered as part of other family legacies which are being commemorated with the purchase of various jewelry. It is incredibly rewarding to know that what we do in our generation could be passed down for many generations to come in your family. By putting that passion and beauty into each piece it is almost like we get a peek into future generations.
What was the initial inspiration for your brand?
After coming out of business school 41 years ago it was shocking to learn that the jewelry business and diamond business felt that jewelry and diamonds should be sold generically.
This went against everything I had learned about how a modern capitalist economy should be run, in which brands should be used for companies to differentiate themselves to compete. The Jewelry industry was very fragmented with a lot of businesses and not a lot of branding, so we saw an opportunity and went against that tide by branding within our company.
I find it interesting when we reminisce on the old days, many of the companies that were against branding their jewels and diamonds, now vie to implement the same branding that we have always done.
As far as branding goes, it is especially difficult to implement for a family business with limited funds. To receive recognition levels and to get branding that is legally defensible and attractive inspirationally was quite an effort to achieve.
What else inspires you when designing?
We are inspired by the old and the new. We have over a 520-year history in the business. Often, we look back at design ideas and concepts that we have done over the centuries and generations to get inspiration and find new ways of interpreting those concepts. Each generation is challenged to break the box and do something different than has been done before. At Le Vian we are constantly inspired to bring newness and excitement into the business while keeping with the knowledge that our long history has taught us.
How would you describe your brand using only three words?
Passion, Originality and Value
Le Vian is a very recognizable name. Do you feel pressure to meet the expectations people have for your brand?
Of course, there are always very high expectation especially being that what we do at JCK is incredible and takes a year of planning. People always say at the end of our show “That was the best one ever, how will you top that next year?” We must spend the next year trying to figure out how in the world we can top what we did the year before. It is in everything we do; with the retailers we work with, the way we bring our program forward, we are continuously having to reinvent ourselves. Our trend forecast is the center core of this reinvention, becoming our playbook for the year.
You have a number of different collections. Do you have a personal favorite?
I have to say that I am really loving the 11 new Bold Gold collections we are bringing to market this year. It’s a different look for Le Vian which I love, and it is turning out to be fantastic.
What do you think sets your jewelry apart from other companies that specialize in fine jewelry?
The centuries that we have been in the business. I also feel that the passion with which we go about making jewelry sets us apart. This shows in everything that we do, from start to finish, the way we source our stones to the thought we put into making each piece.
What is one of your favorite memories at JCK Las Vegas?
We have a lot of great memories from JCK Las Vegas, too many to choose just one.
What are you most looking forward to at JCK Las Vegas 2019?
I am most looking forward to seeing the reaction of our retailers when they see all the new things we have in store for them.