The Makur approach is definitely worth its weight in gold or, more precisely, rose gold.
by Silvana Longo
You can debate endlessly about the many desirable qualities and must-haves needed to make your mark in the fine jewellery business. But in the end, you just know success when you see it. This is the case with Makur Designs – a place where the simple beauty of design meets the refined desires of a sophisticated clientele. And the results are magical.
The masterminds behind the award-winning New York-based Makur Designs are husband and wife Masis and Arlene Hagopian. He is the talented designer who has created a unique line immediately recognized as Makur, and she is the taskmaster extraordinaire who handles everything in the business from quality control to customer service and marketing.
But years before there even was a Makur, one thing seemed to be evident – Masis was destined to design, and he showed this propensity at quite a young age. His family emigrated to the U.S. from Turkey when he was only nine years old and, by the time he was 13, he was already immersed in the jewellery world after school as an apprentice diamond setter for the family’s jewellery manufacturing and setting business. What normally takes years to master, Masis learned in mere months. His true calling, though, was design.
“Masis has always had a love for drawing and design,” says Arlene. In fact, his penchant for design could have played out on an entirely different stage. Arlene says he also wanted to pursue architecture, but because his family already was in jewellery, he followed the path he grew up with, while putting his own creative stamp on it. In 1995, he branched out on his own with Makur Designs.
KEEPING IT CLEAN
The word “makur” means “pure and clean” in the designer’s native Armenian. The reason he chose it was to reflect his pure and clean design aesthetic and point of view.
“It was inside of me so it had to come through my designs,” says Masis. “What inspires me most is trying to differentiate myself from other designers and jewellers by keeping things as simple as possible while using different shapes and textures.”
Arlene says Masis “loves simple, geometric shapes and lines,” and says their long-term customers appreciate the high quality craftsmanship, materials they use and the high attention to detail that is paid to each and every piece made on-site in the company’s factory.
Keeping it simple seems to be their motto, but what distinguishes them most in the fine jewellery marketplace is their impressive collection of rose gold and, in particular, the important role they played in taking a once rarely-used gold to its present-day popularity.
This blush-hued version of gold, once a rarity, is and always has been a staple at Makur. “Ninety per cent of our line is rose gold,” says Arlene, “and we just can’t get enough of it!”
CLAIM TO FAME
The rediscovery of one single element, though, does not a legend make. To further elevate its beauty and add that “wow” factor, Masis decided to combine rose gold with morganite and that proved to be their claim to fame.
“We never really had any colour stones in our line so we decided to introduce morganite to add some,” recounts Arlene. The result? “It’s unbelievable how much morganite has been embraced by our customers.People are choosing morganite even as an engagement ring.” She says adding it to their favourite gold (which is alloyed with copper giving it that coveted pink tinge) propelled a whole “mad for morganite” craze.
The stone itself comes from the beryl family, which when pure has no colour, but it is the element manganese within the gem that gives it its brilliant colour, ranging anywhere from pale pink to pretty peach. Another desirable feature is its durability. It ranks an eight on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it easy to cut the gem into various shapes. They source their particular batch from mining camps in South Africa, Mozambique and Southern California.
Another marker of their success that both husband and wife agree upon is the harmony of their colours and extraordinary finishes of their pieces. Those much-loved finishes are diamond, matte, satin that they combine with a high polish.
In the end, the rose gold and morganite combination is a winning formula – and unmistakably Makur.
“We introduced the combination 10 years ago at JCK in Las Vegas and a year later Makur won the award for the colour category,” says Arlene.
Overall, they have won four awards by JCK and the World Gold Council. But, most importantly, it’s their customers they are motivated to please. After almost two decades designing for a very loyal customer base, the couple has even coined a description of the Makur woman: “She is a romantic, glamorous city girl,” says Arlene.
Even if the road to success was paved with rose gold, it’s the combination with morganite that created Makur’s signature look. Brand recognition is a milestone, but for Masis it’s still about his love for design. Says Masis: “There’s a beauty in just creating.” CJ