Haute Jeweler: Cedrick Jihanian on Jewelry Trends and Building a Collection

Cedrick Jihanian

Cedrick Jihanian

Long before rose gold became the trendy metal du jour, Los Angeles-based fine jeweler Cedrick Jihanian was using the metal in his luxury line, Cedrick Fine Jewelry. And he was even — gasp — mixing it with yellow gold! While the metal has been molten hot with the fashion set for the past few seasons, for Jihanian, it’s a classic that remains one of the mainstays in his collection.

“I love to work with rose gold,” said the Paris-born Jihanian, who studied jewelry making at the prestigious L’ecole du Louvre in Paris (the same school attended by Manolo Blahnik and Hedi Slimane). “It is modern, but still very classic. And it’s absolutely chic to mix with yellow gold, too!”

The line, which is carried in Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, has garnered a loyal following of fans, from Hollywood heavies such as Felicity Huffman, Drew Barrymore and Julianne Hough to Palm Beach and Houston society mavens who never miss a single trunk show he has at Saks. And for years they have been buying and mixing everything from his rose gold pendants to yellow gold-and-diamond chains with his signature fleur-de-lis detail to statement-making cocktail rings with semi-precious and precious stones.

18K Rose gold with Cedrick signature intricate fleur de lis detail and diamond center stone

18K Rose gold with Cedrick signature intricate fleur de lis detail and diamond center stone

In fact, it’s his stone setting that makes Jihanian one of the most sought after independent jewelry designers. He was only 17 years old when he first apprenticed at Societe Bilbaut in Paris, one of the few haute joallerie houses used by high-end luxury companies to design private-label pieces.

By the age of 23 Jihanian achieved the title of master jeweler, or head designer.

Cedrick pendant

Cedrick pendant

He was working with such expensive, precious stones that his boss would not tell him just how precious they were, so as not to make him nervous when he worked with the stone. (Missteps in working with precious stones can lead to either the stone falling out of the setting or cracking the stone, which is catastrophic.)

“One time, when Cedrick was given a rare 23-carat sapphire to set for a member of the Hennessy family, Cedrick’s boss locked himself in a room, so as not to transfer the nervousness to Cedrick,” said Sophie Jihanian, Jihanian’s wife and business partner.

But none of it fazed the preternaturally calm Jihanian, who soon after went on to work for some of the most glittering names in the business, including Boucheron, Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier.

It was after his stint at Cartier that Jihanian decided to make the move from Paris to the U.S.

18K yellow ring cabochon rose chalcedony, rhodolite, pink tourmaline, blue topaz

18K yellow gold cabochon ring with rose chalcedony, rhodolite, pink tourmaline and blue topaz

But upon arriving in the U.S. in 1987, Jihanian found himself struggling to find places to put his luxury skills to good use. He spent 10 years in downtown L.A. simply setting stones, and the drastic shift from designing and crafting for such esteemed houses to simply setting stones day in and day out sent Jihanian into a deep depression. He had given up on his passion and tucked away all of his designs and samples. It wasn’t until he got married and his wife unearthed all of his hidden pieces that he began to want to design again.

“It was simply too painful for me,” said Jihanian.

With encouragement from Sophie, Jihanian slowly began designing again, and in 2007 started his own company.

While the line, like Jihanian’s pedigree, has always maintained a very classic signature honed from his stints at Boucheron, Van Cleef and Cartier, it has evolved to include bolder and larger jewels — from cocktail rings to cuffs, pendants and more. For fall, Jihanian will be focusing on his Iconics collection, which is the core line and features bangles, long necklaces and medallions in both rose and yellow gold and his signature fleur-de-lis. The fashion-driven pieces for the upcoming season will have deep forest green quartz and amethyst stones.

Jihanian also designs an exclusive line of haute joallerie, from which he crafts only a couple pieces each year. This year, he will launch a one-of-a-kind necklace and brooch with rare gemstones in an exclusive European cut. The piece will feature an eye-popping lemon citrine, surrounded by diamonds, pink sapphires, akoia pearls and  leaves made out of tsavorite.

While not every woman can, obviously, invest in such museum-worthy pieces, building an exquisite fine jewelry collection can still be achieved — even if you have to start in baby steps.

“A woman starts building her jewelry wardrobe with staples such as a nice cocktail ring, hoop earrings, diamond studs and a good-quality pearl necklace, ” advised Jihanian. “Chic Parisian woman are not afraid to wear pearls because they don’t see it as a reflection of age. Eventually, women should start investing in one-of-a-kind pieces that are a reflection of their taste in style, art and ideology.”

Golden advice, we think!

For more information on Cedrick Jewelry, go to www.cedrickjewelry.com

Cedrick Fine Jewelry Upcoming Trunk Shows:

Neiman Marcus, Beverly Hills

Friday, May 25 and Saturday, May 26

10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saks Fifth Avenue, Santa Barbara

Friday, June 1 and Saturday, June 2

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Author:Michelle Dalton Tyree

Fashion Trends Daily is the brainchild of Michelle Dalton Tyree. She is the former West Coast Retail Editor for Women’s Wear Daily, Fashion Editor for The Japan Times, and founder of former L.A. luxury boutique Iconology. Michelle is frequently quoted about fashion retail trends in major media outlets such as NPR, KPCC, The Inside Source and the New York Times. She has developed content for many luxury brands and retailers and has written for Allure, Worth Global Style Network, Footwear News and other media outlets.