Fashion

Los Angeles Jewelers Huckleberry And Kazanjian Debut ‘Updated Estate’ Collaboration Of Artfully Luxurious Rings

Launching during 2021’s holiday season, the Huckleberry Ltd. For Kazanjian Updated Estate Collection is a high luxury, nine-piece cocktail ring collaboration between Los Angeles-based Huckleberry Ltd., founded in 2013 by Jason Hoehn, and the fourth generation, family-owned Kazanjian of Beverly Hills, which formed in 1913 in Paris, then moved to Springfield, Mass. in 1918. The heritage firm was founded by James Kazanjian (father of the firm’s current chairman Michael), along with his lapidary brother, Harry. The Kazanjian family has been dealing in superb quality gemstones and creating important jewelry in Los Angeles since 1928. In 1969, Kazanjian relocated to Beverly Hills, where it’s now headquartered on Camden Drive in a 5,000 square foot gallery illuminated by the bright and revelatory, Southern Californian sunlight that’s ideal for appreciating important gems and refined jewelry designs.

While Huckleberry’s rare blend of low-key elegance, high grade gemstones and master artisanship has secured such notable clients as the world-renowned musical artists Pharrell and Rihanna, prices in the company’s initial collaboration between Huckleberry and Kazanjian range from $30,000 for a 33-carat black sapphire ring set in brushed, 18-karat rose gold to $115,000 for a 10.14 squared Colombian emerald in a squared-off, emerald cut. Because of their sleek stylings and high artisanship, however, these designs are gender-fluid and ageless.

Although they were founded a century apart, Huckleberry and Kazanjian are natural collaborators. Both are connoisseurs of tastefully designed; masterfully fabricated jewels set with irresistibly beautiful gemstones. What’s more, as Jason Hoehn explained in Kazanjian’s Beverly Hills salon, “Although we may seem like very different companies, we share many of the same values. Both Huckleberry and Kazanjian have always been committed to repurposing vintage or antique gemstones to create one-of-a-kind, masterfully made designs that transcend trends and are treasured as heirlooms.” Accordingly, the Huckleberry X Kazanjian initial collaborative offering presents nine gender-fluid rings in 18-karat yellow gold and rose gold that embody timeless styling and stones of superb character. The jewels in this Updated Estate Collection can be viewed and/or ordered online at huckleberryltd.com or at kazanjian.com. Pieces from this collaboration are also available for viewing by appointment at Kazanjian’s Beverly Hills flagship. Email [email protected] to arrange an appointment.

Within this notable collaboration, there are two emeralds of extreme intensity and clarity to choose from. There is the previously mentioned Colombian emerald with a carat weight of 10.14, and a smaller Colombian emerald of just over 9 carats. The fiery end of the color spectrum is represented by a velvety ruby, a juicy reddish-pink rubellite tourmaline and an entrancingly intense, orange-colored sapphire. There are also luminous and perfectly cut yellow and black sapphires, plus a lilac tourmaline of rare radiance. “All embodying high clarity and artful cuts, these gems were a joy and an adventure to select from Kazanjian’s estate jewelry vaults for our repurposed Updated Estate Collection,” Hoehn recounted.

While seven of the precious gems in these rings are set in either rose or yellow gold with brushed satin finishes, two are intricately hand–engraved. The one that is perhaps the most Huckleberry-esque in style and substance features an unusually shaped; reverse set lilac tourmaline that rises from its hand-engraved, all-over pattern of intricately detailed tiny huckleberries. While this design looks utterly contemporary, jewelry connoisseurs and art history lovers may also note that the ring’s engraved botanical motifs embody aesthetics and techniques similar to those found in Ottoman empire treasures as well as in the finest Arts and Crafts-era jewels. (The Arts & Crafts movement blossomed in the United Kingdom in approximately 1860, contemporaneous with the birth of the Aesthetic Movement. Arts & Crafts forms and concepts took root in the United States in the 1890s, and their popularity endured in the U.S. into the 1920s.) While Huckleberry and Kazanjian are both high luxury yet pragmatic 21st century jewelers, many of their shared values align with guiding principles of the Arts & Crafts movement. These include the primacy of Nature as inspiration, a devotion to artisanship and a belief in maintaining the intangible cultural heritage of traditional, labor-intensive jewelry making techniques, such as meticulously wrought hand-engraving. Finally, Kazanjian, Huckleberry, and their artisans all do their utmost to exalt the inherent beauty of the materials they work with while celebrating the virtue of simplicity in their designs.

As many jewelry lovers have long been aware, the Kazanjian family has a history of discovering stones of impeccable character and cutting them with artistic precision and flair. As Doug Kazanjian related, “While we have traveled the world to discover important gem deposits and source the finest gemstones for over a century, we also have traditionally repurposed great gems to create new designs that are intended to be passed down.” In fact, Doug’s grandfather, James Kazanjian, discovered such legendary stones as the 733-carat Black Star of Queensland in 1947. Prior to James’s purchase of this palm-sized chunk of black sapphire, it had been serving as a doorstop in an Australian office (yes, you read that correctly).

As a gemologist and sapphire expert, however, James strongly suspected that deep within the chunky black stone lay a rare and massive star sapphire that required a skillful lapidary like his brother, Harry, to reveal its beauty. “A star sapphire embodies a unique internal structure that creates an optical effect called asterism which makes the stone shimmer and shine like a 6-pointed star,” Doug Kazanjian explained. “The brothers knew that if Harry could cut the stone correctly to showcase its spectacular nature, this could exponentially increase the stone’s value. (While the sapphire was purchased for $18,000 in 1947, in the intervening years, the Black Star of Queensland has risen approximately 100 times in value.)  

After months of research and strategizing his plan of attack, Harry cut the Black Star successfully so that the six-pointed star shone out of the stone. Subsequently, the gem toured the world’s museums and adorned beautiful celebrities such as Cher (!) before being sold to an unnamed buyer in Switzerland. Another historically important black star sapphire that James Kazanjian found in Australia was a 1,113-carat rough black sapphire that Arthur Kazanjian cut into a 888.88 carat star sapphire which is believed to be one of the largest star sapphires ever certified by the Gemological Institute of America. Kazanjian, working with Beverly Hills designer Robert Procop, named this sapphire the The Star of Jolie after actor/filmmaker Angelina Jolie, who collaborates with Procop on philanthropic jewelry projects. The stone, believed to be the world’s largest known black star sapphire, was sold to a Chinese collector. (Jolie and Procop have long collaborated on ajewelry collection called “The Style of Jolie”. Sales proceeds from this collection are used to build schools in conflict zones through the non-profit Education Partnership for Children of Conflict.)

Given the Kazanjian’s intrepid gem-sourcing, it makes perfect sense that this family-owned firm has evolved a distinctive style of magnificent jewelry designs that are fabricated with rare colored stones and thus embody rare value. As Hoehn noted, “Both of our companies are on parallel paths that involve careful gem selection and repurposing, smart jewelry design, and a commitment to master artisanship. It’s exciting to be working with Kazanjian because for well over a century, they have been a globally recognized purveyor of important gems and jewels from great eras and great characters in jewelry history. The fact that Kazanjian maintains relationships that span four generations of the same families or companies from around the world makes them a heritage house of broad reach, great depth and vast knowledge.” As it happens, the family firm also has a philanthropic division, The Kazanjian Foundation. This non-profit organization supports scientific and artistic initiatives that benefit underprivileged youths.

According to Hoehn, Kazanjian and Kazanjian’s gem gallery manager Joseph Barrios, “We believe our collaboration with Huckleberry works so well because each of us, along with our clients, seek out and value high quality artisanal design, beautiful materials and master artisanship.” As Hoehn explained, “Our brand name “Huckleberry” is derived from a 19th century U.S. slang term. Back in the day, huckleberry variously referred to the right person for a given job, a sweetheart, a special friend, or an especially nice person.” Ever since the swinging 1960s, however, the term “huckleberry” has also been connected to fine jewelry thanks to the classic 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In the movie’s theme song, ‘Moon River’, Audrey Hepburn, in character as Holly Golightly, sings,

“We’re after the same rainbow’s end

Waitin’ ’round the bend

My huckleberry friend

Moon river and me…”

As Hoehn put it, “In this, our initial offering from Huckleberry X Kazanjian, and in all of our future jewelry collaborations, we aim to be your Huckleberry.” Indeed, if Holly Golightly were alive today, she’d likely be breakfasting in front of Kazanjian’s in Beverly Hills while eyeing this collaboration’s cocktail rings.

Kazanjian Gem Gallery is located at: 320 N. Camden Drive, Beverly Hills, CA., 90210. Hours are Monday-Friday from 11 am – 6 pm. Telephone: 1-310-246-2410


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