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
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!”