São Paulo, Brazil-based jewelry designer Ara Vartanian is debuting his first U.S. retail location in sunny Miami, inside the tony Bal Harbour shopping center at the northern tip of Miami Beach.
Vartanian said his choice of Miami as the location of his first Stateside shop was partly due to demographic changes sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic. He explains, “When [the pandemic] happened in the United States, there was a strong migration from both the east and west coasts to Miami, so we thought it was the ideal place for our U.S. flagship.”
In keeping with the brand’s two locations in São Paulo, Vartanian again tapped architects Aldo Urbinati and Andrea Vosgueritchian from Estudio Tupi to design the new store (the duo also designed his current home). The nearly 1,000-square-foot space sits next to swanky home textile brands Frette and Haremlique Istanbul on the third level of the mall.
The space was conceived in understated tones that “combine Nogueira and Freijó wood structures with black, gray, and white,” says the designer. “Natural stone is one of the most striking elements, with crystal quartz walls and hand-painted and embroidered wallpaper by De Gournay.”
Stylish and modern, the intimate space is perfect for displaying the jeweler’s decidedly glamorous gemstone jewels. In celebration, Vartanian’s crafted two bracelets available exclusively in the Miami store: the Biela bracelet with 18k diamonds and Paraiba Tourmaline set in white gold, and the Pulsar bracelet made with rubellite and white diamonds, set in white and rose gold.
“Our American customers have shown great interest in colored stones,” Vartanian says, calling out classic designs such as hook earrings, the brand’s iconic octopus ring, and gemmy necklaces as pieces that resonate with his U.S. customer base. They’re already popular with A-listers including Bella Hadid, Lupita Nyong’o, and Blake Lively.
In 2017, Vartanian launched a collaboration with his good friend and supermodel Kate Moss—who’s long been a jewelry world promoter, as official brand ambassador and daring jewelry wearer—which increased the brand’s visibility, particularly in the States.
While further expansion in the States is on the horizon for the brand, the designer is quick to point out that, “We are an independent brand that grew organically, respecting the time of our handmade jewelry. After the brand is consolidated, we will start thinking about the future and possible new expansions. Ara Vartanian is a brand with Brazilian roots, but with eyes on the world.”
Outside of Brazil, the brand had one store in London, now closed. Vartanian says other initiatives are in the works, and adds that 2023 “will be a year of many projects and challenges that we can’t wait to share with everyone.”
Photos courtesy Ara Vartanian
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