Yelena Noah celebrates individuality through handcrafted jewelry design inspired by her Cameroonian and Swedish heritage. Each piece is charged with powerful symbolism and tells a story.
Born in New York City, with roots in France, Cameroon and Sweden, Yelena is a citizen of the world and her work is a reflection of her multi-cultural heritage.
As a successful fashion model, Yelena has lived between Paris and New York all her life. She graduated from the New School in New York City with a Bachelors degree in political science and international affairs. She has done internships at the United Nations and is on the board of her family’s Noah’s Arc Foundation, created by her brother, NY Knicks NBA player, Joakim Noah.
Yelena started painting symbols at a very young age. These organically evolved onto linen and silk canvases, into ceramic and stone mosaics, and now into a precious jewelry collection. Yelena sees jewelry as a fundamental aspect of culture and a celebration of our diversity and individuality. She believes in jewelry with a narrative. Her jewels carry the story of a journey, a place or moment in time, a family’s history, a personal memory or spiritual belief. Her jewelry is charged with symbolism and meaning and carries a message.
Many of the designs begin with a center that expands into four cardinal directions, creating a type of compass. The focal point represents our “selves”. Within which lies intuition, the heart, and higher consciousness. From there stems four opposing directions. These directions and their relation to the center represents the need to strike a balance within the dualities of life; Good and evil, male and female, light and dark, life and death, the yin and the yang.
Yelena blends influences from her bohemian lifestyle and her multicultural heritage and this can be seen in her jewelry line. On her many travels, she finds the inspiration that tell the story of her pieces. Charged with symbolism and meaning, every piece is founded on geometric principles, while inspired by indigenous cultures, buddhist mandalas, and west african symbolism. Each Yelena Noah Jewelry piece is handmade and is designed by Yelena herself. Yelena Noah creates meaningful jewelry.
Yelena Noah joined Pamela Love and Pheobe and Annette Stephens of Anndra Neen at the Neue House for the talk “Land of El Dorado”, a cultural exchange about the country of Suriname. Over two years, these jewelry designers made several trips to Suriname with Everard Findlay. There, they met with the indigenous people of Suriname, peoples of the rainforest, Maroon women, Indonesian artists, and preservationists to foster a cultural exchange and to celebrate Suriname’s craftsmanship and the rich cultural diversity of the country with an international audience. Yelena created her “EPA” cuff inspired by the Maroon women, their heritage, and their story. The Maroons of Suriname are the descendants of escaped slaves in the Americas who formed independent settlements in remote areas.
Yelena was approached by the brand Each x Other, a unisex and collaborative brand that invites Artists, designers and craftsmen to design models for their collections. Each x Other’s ethos is “Art meets Fashion.” Yelena’s drawings and prints were used to create clothing and was sold in high end stores in France and internationally, such as the cutting edge Smets in Bruxelles.