When Suzanne Kalandjian, the Los Angeles-based jeweler behind the Suzanne Kalan brand, began working with Harrods, the legendary British retailer, in 2014, she tempered her ambitions for expansion.
“Your life comes in stages,” she says. “First, you think about one showcase, then two cases.”
A couple of years ago, Kalandjian dared to dream about the possibility of opening her own standalone boutique within the iconic London flagship store. Come Oct. 8, that dream will become reality.
“We got to the point where Harrods offered us our own space, something I’ve been wanting for a couple years,” she says.
Originally scheduled to open in May, but delayed due to the coronavirus lockdown, the boutique has been designed in the brand’s trademark black, white and silver color scheme.
It will feature a range of one-of-a-kind designs, including exclusive styles in 18-karat yellow gold and emeralds, the department store’s signature colors. The selection will be heavy on the brand’s signature cut, the baguette, a staple of Art Deco period jewelry that Kalandjian almost singlehandedly revived eight years ago, when she began playing around with the elongated table cut.
“I was sitting with my husband, and I had a parcel of baguettes on my desk,” Kalandjian recalls. “I kept lining them up. That day, when the whole parcel was on the table, I thought, Wow, this looks fantastic. They’re all spread out in different directions—that’s what we have to do.’”
A century ago, jewelers favored baguette-cut stones for their orderly, geometric appearance. But the style was—and continues to be—difficult to use. “The sizes of stones had to be perfectly matched if you wanted to line them up next to each other,” Kalandjian says. “Most of the time, if you buy a parcel of baguettes, you can find 1,000 sizes in there and each one would be different. You had to have them cut exactly to their sizes so you could make them fit for your setting.”
Once Kalandjian created a more contemporary vision for the cut, it struck a chord with buyers, who began to associate it with her brand. The collection now features baguette-cut diamonds and colored stones in pendants, bracelets, earrings and, of course, rings.
“I can’t tell you how many engagement rings we shipped this year,” she says.