JCK Asks…Arman Sarkisyan



Jewelry is a family affair for the California-based, Armenia-bred designer

Arman Sarkisyan majored in architecture in his native Armenia. “Knowledge of structure and functionality has helped with my engineered pieces like the more complex lockets and such,” he says. But the Los Angeles–based designer began his jewelry training long before university—in his father’s studio, in their home country, at age 12. The two men still work side by side, producing Arman’s gilded, Gothic-influenced 22k gold, oxidized silver, and gemstone wonders. The toughest part about working with his father, Hamlet? (We won’t tell—we promise!) “He is the Order and I am the Chaos; he is one at a time and I’m at least 20,” says Sarkisyan. So what’s the best part? “No limits to what can be done.”

Left: tourmaline and tsavorite ring; right: emerald and chrysoprase ring

Age: 40

Number of years in the biz: 22

Number of employees you oversee: 5 (as good as 20)

Family and pets: Wife Louiza (muse); son Emil ­Hamlet, 7 (artist); and daughter Lia Rozae, 6 (jazz singer)

Describe your personal style: Eclectic

Lia Rozae, Louiza, and Emil Hamlet

First piece you ever designed: 26 years ago—a cross with Celtic motifs

The single piece of jewelry you’re most proud of: My ship earrings

Best piece of advice you ever received: “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Worst piece of advice: “You will look great in a Caesar cut.”

One of Arman’s ship earrings

First job ever: Bench jeweler

How did you get started designing jewelry? Not by accident

If you weren’t designing jewelry, what would you be doing? Assisting Anthony Bourdain—he has the best job, traveling the world and eating great food.

Jewelry you’re wearing right now: Hand-engraved simple 22k band

22k gold, silver, and diamond earrings

How does your Armenian heritage inspire your designs? The land, the history, the churches, and the memories are an endless inspiration.

Five items on your desk right now: Cappuccino from coffee shop next door, tray of multicolor tourmalines, pencils, my sketchbook, jeweler’s visor. That’s what’s visible at this moment under a pile of uncertainty. 

Five songs on your playlist: “The Köln Concert,” Keith Jarrett; “Distractions,” Sia; “Piano Concerto in A minor,” Edvard Grieg; “The Call of Ktulu,” Metallica; “Maya,” Remember Shakti

Exercise regimen: Walking to work

What did you have for breakfast? Coffee and cigarettes

Guilty pleasure: Red velvet cupcakes

Drink (daytime/evening): Coffee/anything 80 proof and up

First website you check every day (not your own!): Netflix at the end of the day

Scent: Amber, bergamot

How do you unwind? Movies and playing with my kids

Superstitious? Only if it works to my advantage

Book you’re reading: The Art of War, Sun Tzu

Book you’ve been meaning to get to: The Baron in the Trees, Italo Calvino

Preferred news source: NPR

Main means of transportation: Mostly car since I live in L.A.

Favorite movie: I studied film and I’m a big movie buff. Can I do five, please? There Will Be Blood, Talk to Her, Taxi Driver, Amélie, and Oldboy.

Who would play you in your life story? If I ever go crazy and start hallucinating about things—Daniel ­Day-Lewis would be a perfect fit. 

Personal motto: “All is good!”

More JCK Asks… on JCKonline.com:
+ JCK Asks…Wendy Brandes
+ JCK Asks…Andrea Fohrman
+ JCK Asks…Alishan