The Man Behind the Bling of NBA Legends
As NBA season tips off once again this fall, some of us may begin to wonder: what’s life like off the court for some of the NBA’s biggest legends? Like you, these men appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship of luxury jewelry. From Kobe’s single-ear rainbow studs, to Shaq’s ID bracelet, to Magic’s basketball-shaped diamond pendant; jewelry has a unique way of expressing a person’s identity, culture, and passion.
Meet Razmik Hartonian, the man behind the bling of these NBA legends, a jewelry designer who has been in the Los Angeles jewelry business for over 30 years.
Razmik has crafted precious jewelry for some of the NBA’s marquee players: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (pictured to the right) – whose legendary career averaged 24.6 points and 11.2 rebounds with 3.6 assists per game; the iconic Magic Johnson who led the LA Lakers to five championships in the last century; Shaquille O’Neal; Kobe Bryant; and more.
Recently, My Jewelry Repair had the opportunity to sit down with Hartonian to learn more about his creative process, as well as his famous clientele.
Q: “Who are some of your most well known clients, and what did you make for them?”
A: “I’ve crafted pieces for actors, hip hop artists, and some of the world’s top athletes, including NBA players Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaq, and Kobe.
For Magic Johnson, I made a diamond-encrusted basketball pendant.”
The 7-foot, 1-inch Shaquille O’Neal – who made the NBA’s list of the 50 greatest players of all time – requested an ID bracelet engraved with “SHAQ.”
“I’ve crafted several pieces for Kobe Bryant” – who has spent his entire professional career with the Los Angeles Lakers, and was the youngest player in NBA history to start a game.
These pieces included “the 8-karat purple diamond ring he commissioned for his wife, Vanessa, as well as a matching set of bracelets for his wife and daughters, and a ruby ring for his 30th birthday.”
Q: “What do you love most about the job?”
A: “I love that I get to be artistic and creative, and I love surprising clients by bringing their vision to life. It makes me happy to see them happy – the fact that they now own a piece of jewelry they love and will always wear.”
Q: “What are the more challenging aspects of your work?”
A: “The hardest part of the job is when orders are placed late. Sometimes the limited time I have makes it stressful and difficult for me. Also, dealing with clients that try to bargain and get more for the buck can be challenging. Other than that, I truly do enjoy my job.”
Q: “From where do you draw design inspiration?”
A: “I have been in this industry for a very long time. Time has been my biggest inspiration – it has helped my design sense evolve and has given me the freedom to grow more and more creative. Much of what I design now comes from the individual for whom I am making the piece. They inspire me with the concept of what they want, and give me a vision that helps me capture what it is they are looking for within the piece.”
Q: “When making a fine jewelry purchase, what elements should patrons consider to ensure their piece is of good quality?”
A: “Jewelry is about personal taste. If there is a piece that speaks to you, and you appreciate it, then that’s the piece for you. You can look at labels and names and prices, however, nothing makes a piece good unless the individual wearing it feels good in it.”
Although it has been one year since Kobe Bryant’s tragic passing, his legacy of not only what he did on the court, but the way he lived his day-to-day life, will continue to inspire future generations.
In tribute, we want to dedicate this blog to his lasting memory, as well as highlight the unique jewelry pieces Kobe had made for himself and the ones he loved most. #MambaForever