Arman Sarkisyan’s fascination with the Sacred Heart, the Roman Catholic symbol depicting Jesus’ heart, is steeped less in religion and more in the idea of devotion. “I’ve been infatuated with the Sacred Heart for a long time,” says the Los Angeles–based designer. “For me, it’s the ultimate symbol of unconditional love.” In this one-of-a-kind necklace, Sarkisyan keeps his (gemstone) heart well protected. A meticulously cut rubellite, affixed with a 22k gold crown of thorns and burst of flame, is the literal heart of the eclectic piece. When the pendant is closed, the gem is hidden by a diamond and sapphire starburst on an engraved gold facing. The nontraditional locket opens like mini French doors to reveal the luminous heart. Creating the jewel, says Sarkisyan, was “a real labor of love.” At press time, he didn’t even have it up for sale: “Right now it’s a showpiece. I may get used to the idea that other people need to enjoy it, too.”
In the Mix
This hidden heart was crafted from 22k yellow gold, oxidized silver, diamonds, sapphires (including a cabochon-cut sapphire center stone on its facade), and a heart-shape rubellite—hanging from a string of kyanite beads. Sarkisyan says it’s very illustrative of the atelier’s style. “The whole line is oxidized silver and 22k yellow gold,” he notes. “We do platinum sometimes, but we never do white gold—I’m not a big fan.” Another house hallmark: “We are always working with beautiful tourmalines,” such as rubellite.
The 22k gold doors of the pendant open with a pull of a hidden spring lock at the bottom of the piece. “There’s a great surprise element of the heart being behind closed doors,” Sarkisyan says. The starburst is a nod to common depictions of the symbol that show the thorn-wrapped heart floating in the middle of a heavenly burst of light.
The necklace took three people roughly nine months to complete, undoubtedly due to the pendant’s intricate scrollwork on the front and back. “We do everything in-house,” explains the designer. “If you try to find a good engraver, you will have a hard time—I would say it’s almost a dying art. We are known for very intricate, Old World jewelry-making.”