I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Kirk Kara, namesake of the family-owned jewelry company and designer of beautiful creations. It was through this enjoyable chat that I gained insight into Kirk’s design inspirations, learned a little family history, and even got a little schooling on the best happy hour libation. Take a look at what I learned about the Jewelers’ Choice Award winning world of Kirk Kara, from the man who puts family first and truly believes in doing everything with love.
JCK Marketplace: Briefly, tell me about the history of Kirk Kara.
Kirk Kara: Our family roots began in Armenia, and we have been in the jewelry business since 1890. My great-grandfather was a master jeweler in Turkey, where my grandfather and father learned the craft as well. When I graduated from college I began to work in my father’s workshop in Lebanon. It was there that I learned the Old World methods of crafting jewelry, and the same handcrafted procedure has been used ever since. I moved to California in 1983 with my family and have made a home that I love. My wife, Lucy, was my backbone in business, and in the last 10 years, my daughters Angela and Grace have joined. You will be able to see some of their designs this year at JCK Las Vegas. I have been in this industry for 40 years. This is my life and I love it. If you don’t do something with love, you can’t do it the right way.
JCK Marketplace: If you could sum up Kirk Kara in just a few words, what would they be?
KK: Art, passion, craftsmanship, and innovation.
JCK Marketplace: What is your favorite piece from your Marketplace showroom and why?
This ring from the Angelique Collection, which won the award for Best Bridal Design ($2,501-$5,000) this year in the Jewelers’ Choice Awards. In my imagination and design, the two lines on the shank represent the husband and wife. They unite in the middle at the center stone, which represents family. The collection is named after my mother Angelique, who always wore a lot of jewelry because my father was a master jeweler. The thought of this always inspires me. All of our pieces are handcrafted and custom-made for the wearer to their liking.
JCK Marketplace: If you could give one piece of advice to jewelry retailers, what would it be?
KK: A retail store manager must train their employees to be knowledgeable of the pieces that they sell. It’s important to know the brand’s history. If you don’t do your homework, you will fail the test. And if you can’t pass the test, you will fail to make the sale.
JCK Marketplace: And just for fun, what’s your favorite happy hour drink?
KK: Scotch: Johnnie Walker Blue. It’s the rarest, the best, and is very smooth. The color of the blue bottle is an inspiration as well, because I love to use sapphire in my designs.
You can meet Kirk and the family at this year’s JCK Las Vegas, where you’ll likely find us sharing in a toast of Johnnie Walker Blue!