To earn the distinction of Jewelers’ Choice Award winner is daunting enough. Not only are the voters a discerning crowd of 20,000 fine jewelry retailers and tastemakers – they are, essentially, your peers. To do so ten years in a row is a rare accomplishment that only one bridal designer can claim.
2017 marked Kirk Kara’s tenth consecutive Jewelers’ Choice Award for Best Bridal Design. Engagement rings from the iconic Carmella, Angelique, Pirouetta, Lori, and Stella collections have been honored with the coveted prize every year since 2008.
This year’s winner is a show-stopping piece from the elegant Pirouetta collection, which has been honored with a total of five Jewelers’ Choice Awards in the five years since it was born. The intricate double halo design features breathtaking diamond twists and bows, which symbolize wedding gifts and the unforgettable first dance as husband and wife. “When you fall in love, your heart starts dancing,” says Kirk Kara. Each piece bearing the Pirouetta name is meant to embody that same sense of joyfulness and wonder.
“Our 2017 winner took more than 20 hours to visualize and perfect. We had to create a ring that wasn’t too bulky or tall despite its elegant bows,” says Vice President and designer Grace Terezian. “Designing is not easy, especially when you want to create a few perfect rings rather than hundreds of mediocre ones, hoping you get one right. What makes a ring perfect is when you can dream of it on the hand of the wearer.” That dream took an unexpected sentimental twist when sister and fellow Vice President Angela Karaguezian Kassabian became one of those wearers. “When I first designed this ring, I didn’t know that my sister would choose it for her own engagement ring,” says Grace. “It brings so much satisfaction to see it on her finger every day.”
The Karaguezian family has handcrafted stunning rings and fine jewelry for four generations, with Kirk Kara’s grandfather paving the way in 1890. Theirs is an innate, unmistakable talent for jewelry design, one they consider an honor to share. “We were born with this unique gift, and even though the rings we design are physical items, we feel like we are giving back and sharing our gift with the newly engaged couple,” says Grace. “Their relationship has passion and commitment in the same way we have passion and commitment for our craft,” adds Angela. “It is our responsibility to keep designing for those who appreciate expert knowledge and all the thought and detail that goes into creating these rings.”
At Kirk Kara, everything is carefully executed – from the initial vision and sketch to the meticulous details that bring it to life on a woman’s hand. But it does not end there. There’s an enormous amount of thought given to the symbolism and emotion behind each ring. Says Grace: “When we design, we want to channel that feeling of ‘wow, they really get me.’ We think of rings as everyday extensions of the wearer, almost like a sparkly tattoo that accompanies you wherever you go. It is a material object, but it becomes a part of you. It’s an honor to bring that to life.”
Our meticulous creations have captivated the most selective panel of judges for a full decade, which begs the question: What makes Kirk Kara designs so appealing year after year? There’s no magic formula for creating winning designs, but there is the Kirk Kara Difference. We approach our craft with laser focus and believe in the power of handcrafting versus mass production. One ring can take 20 hours to perfect on paper, 6 hours to engrave just right, and countless hours in between. As Kirk Kara has famously said, “There are no shortcuts to perfection.”
The brand aesthetic is glamorous with vintage appeal, but we don’t merely reproduce classics; there is no art in that. Instead, we reimagine them through the lens of today. We draw inspiration from timeless shapes and styles of the past, then give it a modern-day transformation. Ultimately, our designs have a uniqueness all their own. That’s why they continue to captivate the industry and win the most distinguished award in the jewelry world.
“As the next generation of Kirk Kara, we are committed to preserving our family legacy of creating wearable works of art,” says Angela. “We put so much heart into what we do, and I think that comes across in our designs. It’s something that really resonates with both fans of our brand and the insiders who vote for us year after year.”
What is remarkable about all the winners is that shared sense of timelessness. In looking at the breadth of the Kirk Kara brand, it would be difficult to distinguish rings that were designed last year from those that have been around for a decade or more. “An engagement ring shouldn’t be upgraded. It should be treasured forever, and therefore Forever Captivating. That is our ultimate goal,” says Grace. “When we see rings that are ten years old still cherished by women around the world, it is truly humbling.”
Get to know all of Kirk Kara’s exquisite Jewelers’ Choice Award winners. They may represent the past ten years, but to us, they’ll always be ageless – and Forever Captivating.