Friday, October 29, 2010


According to legend lurking beneath the waters along the Ha Long Bay in Vietnam is a giant yet affable dragon. The stretch of limestone islands located here is a popular area for tourists to explore. Vietnam is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Chan Luu.

Like all jewelry items, the origins of the bracelet dates back to antiquity worn in ancient Persia, Egypt and Bulgaria.

In different cultures the bracelet has been worn to appease gods, serve as protection, and to signify marital status.

Wrist jewelry comes in an assortment of styles from the elegance of diamond tennis bracelets to the casual bearing of silicone bracelets to the tough, edgy aura of leather bracelets to the spiritual overtones of kabbalah bracelets.

The appeal of this jewelry item is widespread, and such designers as Alex and Ani’s Carolyn Rafaelian (USA), Amrita Singh (India), and Ippolita Rostagno (Italy) have made this iconic form their signature item.

Composed of brown, Greek leather adorned with a stunning array of vivid crystal beads, and semi-precious gemstones, Luu’s signature wrap bracelets have become the must-have item for the likes of Janet Jackson, Christina Aguilera, Megan Fox, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga.

Luu emerged onto the fashion and accessory scene nearly forty years ago landing in Boston, Massachusetts with dreams of becoming a fashion designer. Not knowing any English, the steely and determined fashonista took a three-month crash course to learn the language prior to attending Boston University where she earned a degree in fashion design.

Around 1979, she eagerly accepted a position with a fashion retailer learning the ins-and-outs of the business. In 1982, she felt ready to start her own couture line that features gorgeous silk and cashmere scarves.

In the fourteen years to follow, Los Angeles-based Luu began efforts to develop a line of jewelry accessories enlisting the assistance of Jaipur immigrants to cultivate jewelry marked by vibrant spectrums of color. The jewelry collection was officially launched in 1996.

Shortly thereafter actor Jennifer Aniston was photographed in Milan, Italy wearing the designer’s first piece: a hand painted seashell necklace with a leather cord.

Once the photograph circulated among various fashion publications interest in the designer peaked allowing a who’s who of famous clientele to build, along with the delight of seeing some of her scarves and wrap bracelets showcased in the highly popular 2008 film Twilight.

I love the broad range of gemstone and bead colors. Based on what I have viewed online, the focal point of all her designs, including earrings and necklaces, is the gorgeous assortment of crystal beads.

Of course the straightforwardness of the wrap bracelets in particular belies a complex arrangement of beads seemingly woven into coiling strips of leather. Some leather strips are braided while others take on the appearance of streamlined tapestries.

Luu also includes chunky, statement-making necklaces, charm necklaces and flirty, seed bead fringe neckpieces. I love the drape and flow of the fringe necklaces as they seem almost like chainmail.

There is a sexy, peek-a-boo aspect that is fun and eye-catching. The collections as a whole are a great display of understated form drenched with incredible color.
Photo 1 (top right): Cherry Quartz Wrap Bracelet
Photo 2 (center): Gold Mix Nugget Double Frame Earrings
Photo 3 (bottom left): Gold-Plated Sterling Silver Multi-Chain Necklace
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