Vahe Naltchayan was born into a third generation jewelry design family in Beirut, Lebanon. Vahe studied locally before moving to France followed by Italy to work in jewelry design, In 1976 Vahe won an award from Luigi Dal Trozzo and just four years later decided to move to the United States in 1980. In the United Stated he sought employment with Barry Kieselstein-Cord and began by designed jewelry inspired by Greek, Turkish, Israeli, and Indian ancient cultures. His designs sold well and in 1985 himself, and his brother Vatche (who was a general manager at Kieselstein-Cord moved to create their own company. In 1985 they formed Trompe L'oeil Fashion Enterprises Ltd. and began signing their pieces with their names.