JCK Asks…Victor Velyan

Pour yourself a scotch and learn more about the rockin’ L.A.-based designer

When you’re looking at a Victor Velyan piece—admiring its old-world panache, shimmery patina, and 24k gold accents—you’re probably not imagining its designer cruising around Los Angeles on a custom-built Harley. But Velyan is a rock ’n’ roller at heart and so, he says, is his jewelry. The three-decade industry veteran describes his original aesthetic as “rock ’n’ roll, but with a feminine edge.” His newest collection follows suit and puts a twist on the current blue-gem trend by incorporating a bluish patina over pure silver (“I love playing around with patinas”). When he’s not sketching a new work, you might find him searching for inspiration on the other side of the globe, enjoying the heady scent of “early mornings in Africa.” Or, perhaps, sipping a scotch by his fireplace. Come to think of it, single malt is pretty rock ’n’ roll.

24k gold and silver spessartite earrings

Age: 48

Number of years in the biz: 30

Number of employees you oversee: 12

Family and pets: Wife, two girls, two dogs, one cat, several exotic African birds, too many koi to count in my koi pond, and a snake

Describe your personal style: Rock ’n’ roll

First piece you ever designed: Ruby ring and a ­matching pair of earrings

Dragon necklace with fire opal

The single piece of jewelry you’re most proud of: Dragon necklace I made two years ago

Favorite gemstones (or current favorites): Opal and Paraiba tourmaline

Best piece of advice you ever received: “Keep your attention to what you create and never mind the competition.”

Worst piece of advice: “Design according to what’s in the market.”

First job ever: Auto mechanic’s helper

Necklaces with ruby and peridot

How did you get started designing jewelry? As a ­jeweler’s apprentice and manufacturing jewelry for many years for other designers before starting out on my own creative path

If you weren’t designing jewelry, what would you be doing? Guiding safaris in Africa

Jewelry you’re wearing right now: A cuff, several link bracelets, a rosary, and three rings

Five songs on your playlist: “I Shot the Sheriff,” Bob Marley; “Folsom Prison,” Johnny Cash; “Civil War,” Guns N’ Roses; “All of Me,” Billie Holiday; “Nuthin’ But a G Thang,” Dr. Dre

Cuff with spessartite and green patina

Five items on your desk right now: 24k gold, opal, pencil, paper, and decanter full of single-malt scotch

Exercise regimen: Horseback riding, hiking, or walking my dogs

What did you have for breakfast? Soft-boiled eggs

Guilty pleasure: Cuban cigars

Drink (daytime/evening): Iced tea/scotch

First website you check every day (not your own!): I don’t.


How do you unwind? I paint, read, or hang with my dogs by the fire when I am home.

Favorite thing to do in L.A.: Going to bars and ­restaurants with good friends and family

Favorite travel destination: Southeast Asian islands

Superstitious? Don’t run with the scissors.

Book you’re reading: Victor Hugo’s Toilers of the Sea

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Billie Holiday

Book you’ve been meaning to get to: Anna Karenina

Preferred news source: CNN

Main means of transportation: Car or motorcycle

Favorite movie: The Lord of the Rings

Who would play you in your life story? Johnny Depp

Personal motto: “Enjoy life to its fullest and try really hard not to be a dick.”

Black opal and diamond cuff Eamonn M. Mccormack/Getty Images
Johnny Depp

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