SARKISSIAN: “We glorify the name of Russian jewelry companies, having Armenian roots”
The SARKISSIAN jewelry house works in three directions: it is designer silver jewelry with ethnic motives, fine jewelry collections and exclusive high jewelry products. Hayk Aghabekyan, Managing Director of the company, spoke about the development plans, business scaling and unique gems of the Private Collection.
What are the stages of the formation of the SARKISSIAN house?
We consider 1994 to be the date of foundation, when my mother Zabela Sargsyan decided to realize her entrepreneurial abilities in the jewelry business. It all started spontaneously after moving from Yerevan to Moscow, she wanted some kind of activity. Science and she is a physicist was no longer involved in science, but ambitions did not get along with the role of a housewife. And my mother began to bring and sell silver items of Armenian jewelers. She had a circle of familiar craftsmen, with whom she, by the way, collaborates to this day.
By the time I graduated from the institute, about twelve years ago, I had a strong desire to create my own jewelry workshop and make unique things from precious metals and stones. To obtain high-quality jewelry, we purchased a 3D machine then we were one of the few who dared to invest in it and opened a small atelier in the center of Yerevan. My father gradually joined the production part, and then we also began to make our own author’s silver jewelry.
Today we have a full-fledged production in Yerevan, and in a year we plan to expand it even more we are already renovating a new large space where everything will be concentrated: workshops, offices, and a showroom.
Does this mean that from a niche brand that produces unique things, you want to try yourself in the mass market?
No. There is nothing wrong with the mass market, but this is a different business. We will continue to develop in the field of high jewelry and the author’s view of jewelry. This is our strength and it must remain the same, but we want the scale of this business to change. We have development plans, including international ones. We want to create a successful international jewelry company based in Russia, in Moscow.
By the way, you participate in many jewelry exhibitions in Russia. Was there any foreign experience?
We regularly go abroad to exhibitions, but so far as visitors. This helps to understand in which direction you need to develop. But there are ambitions to enter the international market, as well as the confidence that we will be successful there too. We are in no way inferior in the quality of jewelry to most jewelry companies in the world. By the way, in February our jewelry won first place in one of the nominations at the JUNWEX jewelry exhibition in St. Petersburg.
Congratulations! What kind of work is this?
This is a set “Geometry” a ring and earrings in the form of a hexagon with natural sapphires, my design.
Now you have three main areas silver ethnic, fine jewelry and high jewelry, right?
So. Only what you call ethnics we call designer jewelry. Actually, this was the beginning of the House, and we continue to work on them.
In the fine jewelry segment, we mainly produce products with colorless diamonds.
That is, there is a certain circulation in this segment?
We have never limited the circulation, never set ourselves the goal of making, for example, a maximum of 500 units. But since our production is still small, naturally things do not become massive.
In high jewelry, accordingly, everything is different each piece of jewelry is made under a certain stone, and it is unique.
In the field of high jewelry, how do you build the production process?
Can be built from two sides. First, it can come from an idea that accumulates in me as an artist. Based on this, I start sketching, looking for suitable stones.
But it happens the other way around: there is some fantastically beautiful stone, and design ideas are already developing around it. Recently, for example, I came across a very rare luxurious Ural emerald. I immediately offered it to the client, and he, trusting my opinion, agreed to buy without even looking at him. At that time we ourselves did not yet know which product this stone would become a participant in. In a short time, they came up with and made an offer to the client, he liked it, and after a while a necklace appeared.
Are you personally developing the design for high jewelry?
Yes, just like fine jewelry. My mother continues to be engaged in the production of silver jewelry. We have such a natural division because it is impossible to cover everything.
Do you produce unique jewelry in the same workshop in Yerevan?
Yes. Our team includes craftsmen who have been working with us for many years, some from the times when we did not have our own workshop. I make sketches and sketches here in Moscow and then send them to a designer and jewelers in Yerevan.
What stones and where do you use?
From around the world. It depends on the case. We use diamonds that have international certificates. As for the geography of origin of colorless diamonds, this factor is not decisive for us. Due to our existing logistic features, we are looking first of all for what is economically profitable to purchase. And unfortunately, these are not always Russian stones. However, for some colored stones, the origin is of great importance, which affects its value, rarity. There are legendary deposits, the stones of which are the subject of the hunt of all connoisseurs of precious stones. We have a variety of suppliers, including those supplying stones for the world’s finest jewelry houses. This is about high jewelry.
For silver jewelry we use a lot of Russian stones, about 80%. These are gems, beryls, jasper, aquamarines, Trans-Baikal tourmalines, many minerals from the Kola Peninsula, Kazakhstani chrysoprases.
Do you produce high jewelry as single items or collections?
These are still isolated things. Because when combining the functions of a designer and a manager, there is no time for a deep study of an integral collection. Every piece of jewelry is such a spark, inspiration. I hope that in a year or two I will have more opportunities to engage in the creative component, and then I will probably return to the jewelry we made and think about how to develop them in the collection.
And what happens more often purchases in your boutique or custom-made products?
More often purchases in a boutique. But from an economic point of view, these are probably comparable things, because usually custom-made products are expensive things that have a large budget. Moreover, making jewelry to order is our strong point, for this, among other things, our clients appreciate us. We cannot neglect this service, especially if the request comes from the client’s side.
How do you position yourself: as an Armenian or Russian brand?
Our company was founded in Moscow after all. We have developed and strengthened due to the fact that we work in Russia. And the fact that a number of jewelry has a pronounced Armenian style fits very naturally into the fact that we are a Russian company our base is located in Moscow. And it seems to me that we can glorify the name of Russian jewelry companies, while having Armenian roots.
You can trace Armenian roots in your silver collection. Are such motives possible and will there be in your collection of high jewelry? It seems that everything you are doing now has quite a classic design.
Integration of ethnic motives is, of course, possible, but apparently the time has not yet come for us. There are companies that do this successfully, for example some of the great Swiss and French jewelry houses. But such things have a much more complex perception in a utilitarian sense.
As a designer, I haven’t yet had the impulse to create distinctive ethnic jewelry. We really have a completely European design, in the best traditions of European jewelry companies. It is unreasonable not to take this baggage into account when creating your jewelry, but we try to make our jewelry stand out even in classical design, our style and approach to work. It lies in balanced design and attention to detail, to quality.