The Royal Jewellers S01 ep17 : Avakian Jewellery [Geneva]

Interview with Edmund Avakian

GENEVA- Edmund Avakian - Royal Jewellers.

What do you do if somebody comes at 5 o'clock on Saturday afternoon for example, and wants to buy an important piece and pulls out the cheque book- he wants to pay you. He might be the most famous guy on the NASDAC or the most famous crook. So you have to use a lot of judgement.


Edmund Avakian
KM: What is Avakian?

Well it is a company that is striving for perfection lets say for the past 25 years.

KM: And your origin is Armenian?

Armenian, born in Bulgaria, and when I was ten we ended up in Lebanon.

KM: But your father wasn't a jeweller?

At that time no. At the beginning I was not interested, I was going to university,
I had finished my engineering studies, and in parallel with that I was studying

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

Lebanon used to have a big market, before the war, it was completely
destroyed. I found out that there were a lot of skilled people, very skilled
people in Lebanon, for many types of trade, particularly jewellery. It was a
good starting point to start this type of business. This is why it started in
Lebanon. I found out that if you design things from scratch, you buy your own
stones, you cut your own stones, you make your own designs. That this was
really something that was like engineering. Then once you were in you wanted
to be different than everybody else.

On a personal basis, I am a Leo, you see, so I am quite ambitious and I don't
like things that come easy. This has been applied also later in my life, even
when it comes to the design of jewellery. We always like the challenge of
making things that are much more difficult to make.

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

KM: How would you characterise the styles of jewellery that you were familiar
with back in the 70's?

I speak fluently the Slavic language, so there was some Slavic influence in me
and I was not particularly too much interested to the Middle Eastern style of
jewellery and I found out that there was a lack of designers on the market
trying to do something else.

KM: What is jewellery to the Slavic mentality?

Well it is not as straight forward as the Roman, because the Roman is well
known. I am always surrounded by a lot of books having to do with old ancient
Bulgarian culture. It is a mixture of influences you know, some is from the
Greeks, some is maybe remaining from the Turks but I wouldn't say that that
is my whole influence, you know, because I was reading about those things
while I was reading with other things because when you are studying
engineering and architecture you see. But with time you start to have your own
feel of design.

Jewellery Theatre Elements

KM: How do you create jewellery, what are you looking for in jewellery?

It is a mixture of European and middle eastern Slavic influence and this also
characterises a little bit our way of operating because we operate in a
continent... lets say between Europe and the Middle East and lets say Russia
and the Republics in the last several years and our clientele is mostly
composed of these type of people.

KM: What is jewellery to you what does it mean?

Well jewellery is two things: for example it can be an investment, it can be,
provided you know from where to buy and how to approach a jeweller, and it
can be just something that is a nice present and not as good as an investment,
so you have the two sides.

Jewellery Theatre Fairytales

KM: How do you work with designers?

You have to define what design means, because actually the first inspiration is
done on a piece of paper when you are flying 10,000 kilometres up in the air...

KM: So you are actually designing yourself?

Well I said the first sketch, the first design, the first idea I would say and as
soon as I land somewhere I talk to the designer, fax to him the sketch or an
idea and they develop it by hand and then today we follow with a lot of
technological tools. For example we have many computers, simulators etc. My
engineering background has help me in many things, but mostly it has helped
me in having such a mind and a focused mind but the technological advances
in the past few years, whether it is designing a good inventory programme with
images and all types of statistics which helps management decide in which
direction they are going: coming up with daily reports, etc and also design wise
when a customer orders a design, traditionally it would have taken a week to
10 days to satisfy him now we are doing it in about 3 hours.

What do you do if somebody comes at 5 o’clock on Saturday afternoon for
example, and wants to buy an important piece and pulls out the cheque book-
he wants to pay you. So he might be the most famous guy on the NASDAC or
the most famous crook. So you have to use a lot of judgement...

KM: How do you deal with that?

No I think that in the past 25 years and having lived in Lebanon has taught us
a lot of things that you cannot learn in university.

KM: Exactly.

And I think each situation is particular but we have in our drawers of course
uncashed cheques. I think anybody in this business has been hit a few times
and this is one of the way to learn.

KM: As long as you are not learning with big, big cheques.

Ahhh yes.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Avakian Jewellery