Bonded by a background in art, Ardem and Cynthia Aslanian have known each other since high school. Their shared sensibility for art has led to a collection of jewelry that is finely crafted and uniquely original. Ardem has a degree in fine arts from Rutgers University in New Jersey, specializing in sculpture and photography. Cynthia has a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree specializing in interior design from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in Manhattan.
Ardem got into jewelry design when he left college and joined his brother in the diamond business — their father had also been a diamond dealer. Cynthia joined Ardem in the jewelry business when they got married because it gave them a way to be together and grow their company, SimonArdem.
They design as a team, each bringing their own strengths to the table — Cynthia sketches and Ardem is the master of making jewelry functional. He makes sure that each piece is designed to fit properly and flow with the body. Ardem is also meticulous about making sure that none of the engineering aspects of the jewelry ever show. They both agree that good design is in the details — correct proportions, quality of materials and craftsmanship as well as the right combination of shapes. It must be difficult to attain, yet simple enough to be made.
Their design inspiration comes from different places. Ardem’s muse is nature and the elements found in hyper close-up photographs of plants that he has blown up to see what is generally not visible to the eye alone. He notes how each element must be well constructed to be part of the larger whole. Cynthia is influenced by architecture, particularly the clean crisp lines of Art Deco. Together they create jewelry that is informed by nature, proportion and close attention to detail.
Amber Michelle: If you weren’t a jewelry designer what would you do?
Ardem Aslanian: I would be an organic farmer. I love growing things. I have a little organic farm in my backyard. Nature gives you everything that you need in life, but you must give back to it. Everything you put into plants you get back. To be able to eat right off of the plant is something that you can’t get anywhere else. The rewards are great.
Cynthia Aslanian: An archeologist. I would be happy digging in the dirt looking for treasure, traveling the world and looking at cultures and how people used to live.
AM: What is your favorite movie?
AA: It’s an old movie, “The Count of Monte Cristo.” I’m an equalizer and when I see something bad or in pain, it needs to be helped. There are terrible wrongs in society that should be fixed, not ignored. Ultimately, it’s a love story and love is the best medicine for any deep pain.
CA: My dad bought me the first Indiana Jones movie when I was young and it is still my favorite. It inspired my love of travel, adventure and archeology.
AM: What do you like to do in your spare time?
AA: When it is growing season, I plant, and that is most of the year. The seeds start in March. I take my kids hiking. I also love traveling, it gives you a different perspective on life. My favorite place is Venice, where we got married.
CA: I love to cook and I’m a health nut and I am constantly reading about nutrition. I have an Italian background, so I like to cook traditional Italian food and I like to bake healthy foods with my kids. We just baked chickpea brownies. I also enjoy reading.
AM: Who is your favorite artist?
AA: Gustav Klimt. He took the time to go into detail in his paintings. It is difficult to attain the level of detail that he achieved. He started with a dab of paint and it grew, just like in planting, where you start with a seed and it grows.
CA: For me, it is Leonardo Da Vinci. His work is magical, I look at it in awe. He was amazing at drawing, he was an inventor and an architect. He achieved so much it is almost like he was beyond human.
AM: What would you most like to change about the world?
AA: I would like people to see everyone as equal. That would take away a lot of anger. We also need to respect nature.
CA: I wish people were more honest in every way. We should just all be honest with each other and the world would be a better place.