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Designer Profiles: Arman Sarkisyan

Town & Country Designer of the Year brings old-world charm to the modern woman.

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FROM THE AGE OF 12, Arman Sarkisyan has studied jewelry design. He apprenticed under his dad, who earned a reputation in Armenia and Russia with a fine jewelry career that spanned 50 years. “It’s just in my blood,” says the designer whose jewelry recently earned him the distinction of Town & Country Designer of the Year at the 2010 Couture Show in Las Vegas. His aesthetic mixes the skill of bygone eras with contemporary and sometimes playful takes on ancient architectural motifs. Sarkisyan has refined traditional processes and created new ways of blending the best of the old world with sentimentality and passion for a new generation of woman.

like father, like son: “I grew up in Armenia (during the Soviet era) watching my father make jewelry. He could produce all different styles and work in various techniques — whatever the demand. From the moment I saw a piece completed, I was mesmerized by how a piece of metal could be transformed into a beautiful, intricate piece of jewelry in my father’s hands. I knew then that was exactly what I wanted to do, too.”

early inspirations: “Armenia is a land of old churches and temples. Inside the churches, you saw beauty come to life in the frescos, and I could follow the paintings or just sit and think for hours about the big blocks of stone. All of this would influence my jewelry later on.”

building blocks: “My father thought I should apprentice under a renowned silversmith for five years to hone different skills and techniques. I did this and then went to college to study architecture. When I first came to the United States in 1990, I worked in the jewelry district as a bench jeweler. I then worked for various larger firms. I eventually opened my own manufacturing business and both designed and produced for wholesale companies and retail stores.”

launching the label: “Louiza, my wife, really was the driving force and pushed me to start my own collection in 2005. She is my muse and I very much respect her input and take on what I am designing. She is a woman with great taste (she is also a fashion designer so she knows about trends). She has old-world values, yet is modern in her style, and she represents the woman for whom I am designing.”

philosophy lesson: “I try not to worry about what is going to sell. The most important part of creating is to express yourself. You have to put your heart, soul and feeling into it. I never get bogged down in what others are doing or if I am on trend or on target. I believe you will sell best and make the most impact if you love what you do, believe in it and stay true and authentic. After you create the collection, you can always think more about what your customers might want and how to market the collection.” 

aesthetic beauty: “My goal has always been to bring old-world charm to the modern woman. I thrive on the meticulous quality of handmade jewelry and its power of going from generation to generation. The woman who wears my pieces is someone who knows and appreciates all types of jewelry, from all different time periods and cultures. She is educated and is as taken by the craftsmanship as she is by the nature of the collection. Jewelry should enhance a woman’s beauty and style, it should not take away from it. Fine jewelry should be effortless to wear, have grace and move with the woman who wears it.”

future growth: “I am happy with the way the company is growing. I want to keep it hands-on and handmade and keep control over the final product. I don’t need to be everywhere. I want to have good supportive relationships with the stores I work and to always continue to grow as a designer.”

material world: “My palette is a combination of high-karat gold and oxidized silver; it offers the perfect blending of old and new and highlights my designs, which are steeped in Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance architecture. I love the contrast and how it brings out certain engraving and gives pieces a timeworn feeling. As far as gems, I mostly work in richly colored stones. I think that each design has its own gemstone that is perfect for it, and eventually you find the best fit.”

Wide architecturally inspired cuff bracelet with lapis and other gemstones and diamonds in 22K gold and oxidized sterling.


 

22K gold and oxidized silver cathedral locket and key pendants with gemstones and diamonds


22K gold and oxidized silver rings with diamonds and cabochon gems


22K gold and oxidized silver three-dimensional boat pendant with sapphire and diamonds

Beth Bernstein is a published author of three books and jewelry and fashion expert with 18+ years experience. A broad knowledge of the history of jewelry and fashion coupled with a background in "the story", writing, trends, design concepts has earned Beth a proven track record.

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