A Diamond in the Desert Local jeweler Ethan Pajak of Louis XV explains his humble approach to his craft
The name Louis XV might bring to mind visions of opulence, regal French courts, and unmatched luxury. If this is the case, you wouldn’t be wrong. The real Louis XV, who reigned over France in the 1700s, was known for his affinity for nice things and decadent jewelry. His frivolous grip on money, however, ended up leading to the country’s financial downfall, which, in turn, inspired the French Revolution of 1789.
But the name Louis XV doesn’t have to be completely tarnished, and, in fact, it can even be rehabilitated. And what better way to do it than through truly unique, one-of-a-kind jewelry designed by Ethan Pajak, a Mesa, Arizona-native whose take on custom pieces has allowed him to stand out in the cutthroat world of jewelry making.
With a penchant for working with his hands and bringing a mechanical-type approach to items like earrings, pendants, necklaces, and rings, Pajak’s custom-made jewelry finds a balance between subtle, on-the-go luxury and unique extravagance. And it’s this wide-ranging spectrum of design that has allowed Pajak to quietly build his brand as a must-know jeweler.
“Some people come to me without any idea of what they want, and some people are the opposite. I’m able to take anyone, in any way, and work into a creative piece,” says Pajak. “I get all ends of the spectrum. From custom pieces for $1,000 to over a million [dollars] or more. I treat it all the same. The level of work we do is the same on everything. People have their own expectations and desires, everyone’s different. I don’t assume anything. I listen. What’s cool is that we are built on word of mouth, which is pushing us forward.”
Pajak’s journey to being a sought-after custom jeweler didn’t start in a way you’d think. He didn’t study the practice of making fine pieces and wasn’t discovered looking at the imperfections of a diamond with a loupe on his eye. Instead, Pajak was originally an audio-visual engineer, helping to install a home theater in the home of a soon-to-be business connection. After the two discussed possible business opportunities, Pajak found himself exchanging pliers for pendants. He even built the original showroom the first pieces were housed in.
And it’s this stroke of good fortune that has been a North Star for Pajak since starting Louis XV, reminding himself to stay humble in an industry that’s driven by personal ego as much as it is dollars and diamonds.
“I’m a genuine guy who stumbled into jewelry and it comes with a lot of interesting people who may take advantage of others who don’t know what’s going on. I just try to be myself as someone who takes care of others,” he explains.
And with that, clients began to take notice. Now, Pajak runs solely on word of mouth, letting his experience, genuine good attitude, and personable approach to creating something truly original and unique to each individual customer speak for him.
While Pajak’s daily world is surrounded by gemstones and sapphires, he doesn’t use this as a template for the other parts of his life. While he does consider himself a car buff, having owned and worked on a number of classic cars, he still drives a dependable Toyota Tundra to work.
But even with all he has going on, Pajak’s main focus is always his family. His wife, Ali, has supported his vision and passion to bring a new approach to jewelry design.
“I have a 1964 Coupe DeVille, but my family is my priority. I have to put that stuff on hold until they’re older. I find beauty in all vehicles, every generation from the 30’s up until the modern stuff,” he notes.
Pajak stresses his piece-by-piece philosophy in his practice, meeting with wouldbe clients to get to know their personality, their story, they background–all coming together to help him literally shape their story onto a jewel.
“The big thing that I want people to get is that I don’t do this for money or to be noticed,” he explains. “I just want to be the best and that I listen to people. I can educate them and give them an experience. I can then back it up with the best quality and workmanship and get a design right.”