Vatche Aghajayan (Est. 1988) is, according to his brand’s official website, “the Owner/ Master Jeweler and designer [who] works with Matrix and Rhino to design his award winning rings. All works are done in-house from hand wax or CAD to the finished product. With his precision engineering skills, he can work with [a potential customer] to make [a] dream ring come true. Designs By Vatche has set the standard in quality for the most exquisitely crafted classic bridal jewelry designs.”
Vatche started his career trajectory in the US Air force as a fighter pilot and through the years has served in a training capacity. Vatche Aghajayan has a strong desire for precision, and drives Vatche to create world class bridal jewelry. He has won First Place in the Platinum Guild International Retailers Choice design competitions on two occasions.
Vatche was born in Lebanon to an Armenian family and was drafted into the Lebanese Army, then a United States ally, at a young age. His personality and English language skills resulted in a position translating for the United States Marines then stationed in Lebanon. While working as a translator, Vatche noticed an application to join a program for those who wanted to become a pilot in the US Air Force. “I wanted to fly since I was a little boy,” he has said.
After working for the Air Force, Vatche received his citizenship and moved to New York, where his love affair with jewelry design blossomed. After a few years offering his gemstone pieces on the Home Shopping Network and gaining a few high-profile partnerships with Tiffany’s and Harry Winston, Vatche began producing his own rings and selling them through a select group of boutique engagement ring retailers.
Vatche, who remains a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force and who still conducts training missions in his free time, credits his military background for the precision and efficiency he brings to the diamond ring production process. His design inspirations are, however, innate. His strong and affecting personality also helped launch his brand first as a complete unknown and then emerge twenty-two years later as a recognized leader in the field.
Vatche’s official website further states, “Our state of the art manufacturing facility located in midtown Manhattan combines the knowledge of age old jewelry manufacturing techniques combined and in conjunction with the latest technological advances available presently in jewelry manufacturing.
“We utilize top of the line equipment in laser welding, 3D computer modeling, and state of the art digital imaging to create each and every piece we manufacture. Technology is a wonderful tool, but old world craftsmanship will also be evident as each and every piece is hand assembled and finished with great care to ensure a lifetime or more of ownership.
“Starting with our handpicked staff of jewelers, who have been personally trained by Vatche himself ... quality, not quantity is the top priority of every piece that we manufacture. Once [a] product is finished, it is inspected and microscopically examined by our quality control department for every detail before shipping.
“Our knowledgeable sales staff [is] available to assist with any questions. A Designs by Vatche ring is sure to be symbol of love and longevity as it is passed on from generation to generation.”
Engagement ring options include Solitaire which is a ring setting that features a single stone, typically a diamond with a plain mounting (usually four or six prongs). Solitaires are one of the most popular engagement ring settings. They are elegant, simple, and timelessness.
There is also a Pavé engagement ring encrusted with very small diamonds all along the band to give the appearance of a solid diamond surface. Because pavé-set diamonds use only tiny beads or prongs to hold them in place, very little of the metal band shows through and the diamonds appear to be free-standing.
The Three stone engagement rings consist of a center diamond flanked by two side diamonds, which accentuate the size and brilliance of the center diamond. The center stone is usually set higher to complement the side stones and add depth to the ring.
A Halo engagement ring setting feature a center gemstone surrounded by smaller, micro pave diamonds. The smaller diamonds give the appearance of size and volume to the center stone, adding to the ring’s overall sparkle.
The selection of Channel set engagement rings feature side diamonds that are embedded into the channel groove of the ring. A thin strip of metal secures the diamonds in place—no prongs are used. The diamonds are flush with the band and as a result, channel set rings are sturdier than other designs and less likely to snag on clothing.
The Art Deco rings consist of vintage and antique-style engagement rings that offer beauty and intricate craftsmanship reminiscent of vintage rings with sturdy and lasting design techniques of modern engagement rings.
The brand also sells individual wedding bands and bands designed specifically for men.
With his black mock turtleneck, cropped hair, and knowing smile, Vatche is a little like the Steve Jobs of the bridal jewelry world. His simple but visually appealing designs have an extra touch of elegance and a knack for spotting the next big thing in engagement rings. He was one of the first to introduce quality, reasonably-priced platinum rings to the American market, and remains one of the foremost platinum designers in the country.
In his free time, Vatche Aghajayan likes to fly one of his four private jets, score antiques at auctions, build model airplanes, and sometimes lead overseas training for the United States Air Force. When he’s not doing any of those things, he designs engagement rings.
In July 2011 Vatche was piloting a plane that crashed in New Jersey and he was trapped inside. It required a prolonged extrication by multiple emergency personnel after the overturned plane was heavily damaged. He was piloting an Aero Vodochody L39C, a fixed-wing single engine plane, according to a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman. There were no other passengers on the plane. He was released the same day and eventually started and is now also the current owner of Eclipse Jewelry Corporation based in New York City.
In addition to being king of the skies, Vatche is also recognized as one of the kings of the engagement ring.