Jenna Iannelli


From a dream to reality

This designer makes a “statement” with jewellery pieces that capture the beauty found all around us

by Irina Lytchak

Creating jewellery may have started as a coping mechanism for Jenna Iannelli but today she calls it a full-time job and the best one she could have chosen at that.

Back in 2008, Iannelli went through a difficult period in her life, having to care for her ill father, and in the process, she needed to find an outlet to cope with both her own and her family’s emotional struggles.

“I started playing with jewellery with a gemmologist friend of mine, and it just relaxed me,” she says. “I loved it and I grew this greater passion for it. Caring for my dad and having to see someone so close to you dying just pushed me to follow my dream and live life to the fullest.”

Eventually, that dream became Valentine Rouge; Iannelli’s jewellery line consisting of statement pieces that are meant to be worn with something as casual as a white tee and a pair of jeans or something as elegant and classy as a little black dress for a night out on the town.

The designer explains that the meaning behind the name is quite simple; with much of it being inspired by her father.

“I said to myself, ‘I’m going to do this for my dad,’ and that’s why it means ‘red heart,” she explains. “[My father] had heart disease for 13 years and that’s why I called it Valentine Rouge. I love hearts and Valentine’s Day and the whole feminine sensuality thing — that’s me as well.”

Valentine Rouge is comprised of three very distinct collections; Allure, Spirit, and Renaissance and Iannelli prides her one-of-a-kind jewellery pieces on being professionally hand-crafted in Canada, with some parts even flown in from Italy, which has always been synonymous with quality.

“Allure is boldly chic, luxurious, opulent, and glamorous,” she says. “It can be worn casually or on the red carpet. I’m so in love with today’s trend of wearing a statement necklace with a casual tee and jeans, or a bold bracelet with a fabulous sweat top.”

Iannelli explains that she found inspiration for the Allure collection in the art and architecture of the Baroque era. “It was very ornate and lavish but then I try to create the pieces with a modern take on it. I tone it down,” she says.

The second line of jewellery under the Valentine Rouge brand is Spirit. Unlike Allure, this collection is all about the bohemian-chic image. “It’s made with real precious stones and gemstones, whereas Allure is made mainly using Swarovski crystals.”

When working on this collection, the designer spends a lot of time actually searching for and selecting the assortment of gemstones she finds at various jewellery shows as well as on her personal travels.

Last but not least, the Renaissance collection exudes classic beauty and old-world charm yet stays up-to-date with current trends. Iannelli’s desire to revive the elegance and grace of the Renaissance and Baroque eras into a modern and feminine vibe is reflected in these designs.

“I’m not much of a beach person, so I love traveling to cities and exploring their history, art and architecture; both old and modern. Oftentimes when I do shows, clients will ask me, ‘What does this represent?’ They want a story, so I put my own spin to it. I’ll combine the right colours and then I’ll add my own touch to it.”

When it comes to gemstones, Iannelli doesn’t limit herself, having used

everything from labradorite, chalcedony and quartz to opal, blue sapphire and amethyst in her designs.

“I like to work with so many because I love colour,” she says. “I probably work with about 20 different types. I hand pick all of the stones myself and I love placing different colours and shapes that work beautifully together to create unique pieces which express my sense of style; feminine to the core, Neo-Baroque, elegant and timeless.”

And while Iannelli’s designs are driven by much of her personal style and taste, she admits to always keeping one eye open to current trends in order to know what colours are in season.

“I would say 75 per cent of my designs are driven by me and then 25 per cent are lightly influenced by fashion trends,” she explains. “What I do look for every season are colours, and I might introduce a couple of those along with the classics.”

What started out as a hobby now takes up most of Iannelli’s time and she couldn’t be happier about it.

“I started off in a workshop, making my first necklace, and I didn’t think much of it,” she recalls. “But then, just like a lot of designers, I started making what people wanted.”

Having studied interior design at the International Academy of Design & Technology in Toronto as well as carrying a business background under her belt have both been pluses for Iannelli on her jewellery-making journey.

“I pour beauty and passion into every one of my creations and they are as unique as every woman’s heart,” says Iannelli. “I believe a woman transforms herself when wearing jewellery; she appears more confident, more beautiful, and more put together – ready to take on the world! When I see that sparkle in their eyes when trying on my pieces, I feel I have done my job.” CJ