Jirair “Giraux” and Sue Sarkissian were married in 1967 during a calm time in Beirut, Lebanon. They both recall fond memories of childhood, and were very active in the Armenian community. When the young couple first met Jirair was a scout leader, and Sue was a well-known basketball star.
Due to his father’s untimely death, and being the youngest of four boys, Jirair was forced to leave his formal education early in order to learn a trade. His trade became a lifelong passion, and he was a natural, learning from some of the finest jewelers in the world.
A few years after the birth of their first daughter, Tamar, the young couple left Lebanon for adventure and opportunity and settled in Rhodesia, Africa (now Zimbabwe). The young family spent many magical years in Africa, traveling, exploring, and growing their family with the birth of their two sons Sarkis, and Zareh.
After arriving in Harare, Rhodesia and showing his skills during a short internship, Jirair was quickly hired as the factory head for Scottish Jewellers of Rhodesia, one of the largest jewelry companies at the time. At Scottish Jewellers Jirair had the privilege to work with many experts in his field including a young secretary named Susan Jaques, who later became the CEO of Borsheims (famously owned by Warren Buffett’s company). She now serves as the President and CEO of the world renowned Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
Sensing turmoil in their new country, and wanting to reunite with Jirair’s brother, Khajag - the family decided to relocate to San Francisco, California in 1977. Within a few months, the young couple established Giraux Fine Jewelry.
The company began with a small workshop at 210 Post Street in downtown San Francisco, and after a few years moved to the historic Gift Center & Jewelry Mart. The company was one of the first businesses in the building.
Tamar and Sarkis’ first business venture together was a lemonade stand on the corner of 39th and Clement Street. It wasn’t long before they began working summers for the family business.
After earning their Gemologist degrees from GIA, both Sarkis and Tamar joined Giraux Fine Jewelry to work alongside their parents and grow the company. During these years they learned the importance of treating customer’s like family, and always honoring your word and commitments.
The company is now run by the two eldest Sarkissian children, who lead a team a highly skilled jewelry professionals.
Giraux Fine Jewelry has won many design competitions, and continues to design jewelry for celebrities, politicians, professional athletes, and old and new friends.
“We feel blessed and fortunate to be able to work with so many great customers- who became our friends over the years. In good times and bad, we have all “grown up” together. Being able to play a small part in some of their most celebrated life events; has been the honor of our lives. We look forward in continuing this great tradition!”
-Jirair and Sue Sarkissian