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Crowning glory: Eddie Le Vian, class of 1979

December 03, 2012

Editor's Note: This story originally appeared in the December 2012 edition of ASU Magazine

When Eddie Le Vian says his family’s business has deep historical roots, he’s not kidding. Those roots run so deep that they might just intersect with the mines that quarry the precious stones that the company uses to create amazing pieces of fine jewelry.

Le Vian says the pedigree of the company originated in 16th century Persia. His ancestors received the patronage of King Nadir Shah, founder of the Afsharid Dynasty who carved out an impressive empire.

“We began making jewelry for royalty in the 1700s,” he said. “Based on our extensive knowledge of jewels combined with our sterling reputation, the emperor chose my ancestors to care for the priceless treasures that he plundered from India in 1746.” One of these extraordinary pilfered treasures is the Koh-i-Noor diamond, which eventually became part of the crown of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.

More than 200 years later and several continents away, Le Vian descendants are still making jewelry for “royalty,” this time in the form of celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry and Jada Pinkett Smith, who have been spotted wearing Le Vian designs at Hollywood events.

The company has even retained its mastery of crownmaking, having created the Fiesta Bowl Tiara in 1985.

“This tiara is the first to have been created for a parade in U.S. history,” Le Vian said. “As an ASU alumnus, I was especially excited to have been involved with the project.”

Le Vian, who is both CEO and a designer for the company, is very enthusiastic about the education that he received at ASU. “The business school taught me how to transform a small, ancient family business into a major corporation,” he said. “The invaluable marketing and management skills I learned back in the 1970s have played a significant role in building one of the world’s most desired fine jewelry brands.”

The Le Vian company currently holds the copyright to 200,000 designs for five separate jewelry lines, and is responsible for introducing the Chocolate Diamonds that revolutionized the industry. The company also publishes a much anticipated annual trend forecast for the fine jewelry world. It appears that this jewelry company will be making history for many, many years to come.

Written by Oriana Parker, a Scottsdale-based arts writer