From Mine to Store: Victor Velyan’s Fire Opal Baby Dragon

From the moment Victor Velyan saw the giant Mexican fire opal embedded in this jewel, he imagined it as the red-hot end of a gold-stemmed habanero pepper. “It was sitting on my desk for three years,” says the designer. “And one day I walked in and said, ‘That’s a little girl dragon.’?” Plans were quickly hatched in his Los Angeles studio for a baby dragon with a face that was “cute and sweet” but didn’t bely her true nature: “She’ll grow up and be mean,” he says. “You can just tell.” The pendant debuted at Las Vegas market week 2012, priced at $130,500. There were no takers, but “I didn’t make her thinking about whether she was sell-able,” says Velyan. “I made her because I wanted to.”Delicate Balance“We worked really hard to keep her somewhat wearable and not make her extremely heavy,” says Velyan. “We did that—but she’s nine ounces and

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