NEW YORK. Ani Shirinian has a passion for pearls. The force behind the two-year-old Victoria Six Jewelry, a moniker comprising her middle name and lucky number, designs “modern pearl jewelry with a retro flare,” she explains.
Shirinian, who was raised by a grandmother fluent in couture clothing design, recalls playfully wrapping herself in spools of French lace and falling hard for ever-present ropes of pearls in the matriarch’s Hollywood, Calif.–based studio.
“I learned from her that pearls went with everything I had to wear,” she recollects.
As an adult, Shirinian became a lawyer, but eventually traded family law for clothing design to follow in grandmother’s fashionable footsteps. That is, until a chance encounter with the late Michael Bogosian of Michael B., renowned for his micro-pavé, led her to rediscover jewelry.
“He taught me every step of the business where I worked for him for the remaining seven years of his life,” she says.
Bogosian’s diamond-intense business brought her to major trade shows, where she always found time to shop for pearl jewelry. But it was also in this sea of trade-fair stands that she struggled to find the fresh, fun pearl designs she wanted—a quest so important that she decided to pursue it herself.
“I never found cool pearl jewelry that was modern but still classic,” she says. She also wasn’t impressed with the silver settings that well-known designers were using with pearls—she wanted gold. “Pearls just felt so neglected,” she laments.
Today she sketches looks and works closely with masters of 3D technology in Los Angeles to bring her pieces to life in 14k or 18k gold. From freshwater to akoya to Tahitians, pearls (and the occasional gemstone) are a key part of contemporary styles like cuff bangles with negative space, whimsical cluster styles, and shepherd’s crook drop-hoop earrings. Her signature? Vintage-kissed (think 1960s- and 1970s-inspired funkiness) pearl-bead effects in metal that are complemented by pearls. Whimsy and bold flair are also abundant, and each piece aims to be as fresh in 50 years as it is today. What’s more, retail prices in 14k gold start at just $180—a more-than-fair entry price for a fashionable but timeless piece of fine pearl jewelry.
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