Born into a family of jewellers in Beirut, Lebanon, Ara Vartanian spent his early life in Sao Paulo, Brazil surrounded by precious stones. Vartanian gained a degree in Economics from Boston University before moving to New York in 1998 to work as a trader on the NASDAQ. In 2000, Vartanian left the financial market to return to Brazil and dedicate himself to jewellery.
In 2000, Vartanian started working for his family’s business, and in 2002 founded his eponymous jewellery House. Vartanian has since developed the use of innovative jewellery settings including; two and three-finger rings, ‘Octopus’ rings, signature ‘Hook’ earrings and his distinctive use of inverted diamonds. Vartanian uses the gemstone as the main source of inspiration for his designs, creating the structure around the stone.
In 2002, Vartanian began to sell his pieces internationally in New York and opened his Sao Paulo showroom in 2005. This was followed by store openings in Sao Paulo in 2010 and Rio de Janeiro in 2012. Vartanian opened his first international flagship in London’s Mayfair on Bruton Place in 2016 in Baron Maurice Saatchi’s former home. Vartanian’s creations have been worn by celebrities including Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Penelope Cruz, Lupita Nyong’o, Madonna, Blake Lively, Jennifer Lawrence, Liv Tyler and Emma Stone.
Vartanian has worked on various collaborations with different artists including; the Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto, Brazilian decorative lighting brand Scatto, German artist Janaina Tschape, Brazilian furniture designer Hugo França and most recently with model Kate Moss. Vartanian often designs with his wife in mind, former model Sabrina Gasperin, who he sees as a muse for the brand. Gasperin in turn designs with Vartanian for her Sabrina by Ara Vartanian line, which included the 2014 collection ‘Masks’. The signatureBone Earrings from this collection have become best sellers and a favourite amongst celebrities.