by dorothy cascerceri | December 20, 2011 | People
Jason Arasheben with some of his quirky creations
Jason Arasheben’s jewelry shop in The Cosmopolitan, Jason of Beverly Hills, is approximately the size of a closet—in fact, most of his well-todo customers’ walk-ins probably dwarf the place. But this tiny space is not only brimming with diamonds, it’s the highest-grossing store per square footage (350 square feet) on the property—an accomplishment for which the unassuming Arasheben credits Sin City.
Prior to opening his Cosmopolitan boutique, he met with customers by appointment only at his Los Angeles showroom. “I knew Las Vegas was going to be a good market because I do a lot of over-the-top pieces, the pieces your mother would say, ‘I can’t believe you put diamonds on that.’” Arasheben, 34, says. “Vegas has that flair.”
Mentioning his mother takes him back to his childhood fascination with jewelry, which ultimately drew him to the industry at age 19 when he was a student at UCLA.
“When I was a kid, I would go through my mother’s jewelry box, and everything looked like the same thing my grandmother used to wear,” he says. “Jewelry had become boring! Everyone was afraid to push the envelope because the jewelry industry was run by 85-yearold people with one foot in the grave. I wanted to make things people were scared to make, like a syringe ring.”
His eccentric pieces, including a $6,950 white-diamond angel ring worn by Rihanna, have adorned the hands of A-listers such as Katy Perry, Michael Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Alba, and Mariah Carey.
“To be able to build a brand,” says the ever-enthusiastic Arasheben, “gives me the greatest delight. But it’s important to stay product-driven instead of focusing solely on marketing and brand-building.”
Arasheben says his out-of-the-box ideas, like a white-diamond guitar string bracelet or an oversize ring with a diamond-encrusted revolver on top, come from everywhere but other jewelry lines.
“I always draw inspiration by looking at things that have nothing to do with jewelry,” he says. “I might be sitting at a restaurant eating sushi and say, ‘We really need to make a pendant with chopsticks.’ A lot of times, what inspires me comes from architecture, clothes, or the way an iPad is designed. No matter what, I’ve always been a dreamer, and I try to consistently aim for the stars.”
Arasheben is in the process of opening a second store in Beverly Hills in December, with a third store in London slated thereafter. He is extending his celebrity outreach even further by working with David Thomas, who is Gerard Butler’s and Matthew McConaughey’s stylist, to develop a men’s line of diamond accessories.
“People return for the products,” says Arasheben, “so the products are the most important thing.”
photograph by alyssa stefek