1913 - 1940s
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Charles Kazanjian, a goldsmith by trade, flees Turkey with his family, passing through Paris on their way to America. An eye infection prevents his youngest son, Harry, from gaining passage on the steamer bound for Ellis Island.
Harry, under the tutelage of his uncle, learns the art of lapidary in Paris and becomes an expert cutter of precious stones, ultimately supplying Cartier, Tiffany, and Mauboussin. This small twist of fate became the start of the Kazanjian Family’s storied history with gems.
Crossing the country in an old Packard with their father, mother, and German shepherd, Harry & James set up shop in Los Angeles -- buying, cutting, and selling loose colored stones. The brothers work hard -- Harry cutting rough stones into fine finished, polished gems, with James building the business, primarily buying and selling precious rubies,
sapphires, and emeralds. Weathering the Great Depression, the Kazanjian Brothers begin gaining a reputation for their knowledge, the excellence of their colored stones, and the superb quality of their cutting. It is a reputation that will soon come to be recognized worldwide.
Seeking new opportunities, Harry travels to Australia and acquires “The Star of Queensland,” a 1,157 carat black star sapphire.
Kazanjian signs an exclusive contract for the purchase of all star sapphire production from the Queensland mine in Anakie, making Kazanjian the largest supplier of star sapphires in the world.
Beginning in 1948, the Kazanjians travel to Burma, Thailand, Ceylon, and India, acquiring rough gems to cut and supply leading U.S. manufacturers and retailers.
As the company grows, the Kazanjian brothers become known internationally for star sapphires and rubies. They soon supply Hollywood jewelers and celebrities with their stones.
Now an accomplished artisan, Harry finally joins his family and opens a small lapidary in America with his older brother, James.
During their travels, they bought, sold and recut gems to maximize value. Harry & James soon set their sights on larger goals; the major jewelry center of Los Angeles.