Discovering VRAM Jewelry is like falling down a rabbit hole into a world of beautiful objects. Vram Minassian’s designs are inventive and sculptural, experimenting with shape, science, and the cosmos. After being a private jeweler for 30 years, the Beirut-born, Los Angeles-based goldsmith and craftsman ventured onto his own with the debut of his namesake collection in 2016. VRAM pieces have become highly coveted for their unique, abstract shapes and perfect pavé settings. They dramatically adorn the body like mini works of art and are the essence of why we love jewelry so much. And PS: if you’re taking notes, VRAM’s Colony I ring is at the top of our wish list. -Jenna Fain Wise for The Stone Set
How did your life lead you to launch your jewelry line?
My father was a jeweler in our hometown of Beirut, Lebanon so I was exposed to the profession from an early age. As I grew up I was always interested in becoming a jeweler or an architect, and my father insisted on giving me a well-rounded education so I went to university in Paris to study international business. When I received my degree and still wanted to be a jeweler I came to study at GIA in Santa Monica, California. That was over 30 years ago and I’ve been based in Los Angeles ever since. Until the launch of my Continuum line in 2016 my work had been designing and manufacturing private label for other brands.
I also started collecting art and founded a gallery in 2010 to house my collection along with the work of other artists I admire. With the birth of my daughter Elsa in 2015 my creative energy was refreshed. I knew right away that the new designs had to be my own brand. So I shut the gallery and six months later the Continuum line landed at Barneys.
What’s your brand philosophy and who do you see as your muse?
The brand philosophy is my personal philosophy. Of course the brand needs to to create wonderful objects that spark intrigue and inspire self expression. The other side of the coin is that it is essential for me to enjoy the process.
When I first came to LA I didn’t have enough money to furnish my apartment. Still, I used to go to the Rose Bowl Flea Market every month looking for treasures. Art was as much the priority then as it is now. I gravitate towards mid-century abstract artists—especially those from California. There was a magical thing going on here in that time. The materials were so approachable and the techniques were simultaneously precise and rustic. The best way to view my inspiration is @vramjewelry on Instagram.
What are your trademark pieces? What pieces do you personally wear every day?
The first piece that I designed from the collection was a ring called Echo. It was the initial spark. After I created the Echo ring prototype, the rest of the pieces followed. In addition to Echo, the Colony I ring and Sine earrings are both pieces that need to be tried on. They are like nothing else and they always turn heads.
For the last few months I’ve been wearing a ring and bracelets from my Continuum Moment 3 collection that will be available in Spring 2018. I get a lot of compliments on them. Everyone asks who the designer is and I’m excited to be able to share them very soon in both women’s and men’s sizes.
What sets you apart from other jewelry designers?
My work speaks for itself. When you see it and you touch it or if you live with it then you understand. Or perhaps you don’t understand it or you don’t like it. Obviously I prefer that you love it—but the most important thing is to have an involuntary response that comes from inside.
What drives and excites you
Motivation comes as naturally for me as I imagine it does for most creative people. The innate desire to create is a part of my DNA. It’s what makes me happy. The excitement comes when that creative energy is channeled through the brand because then my family and my team participate in their own ways, forming a strong community of people that trust and support each other.