From the age of 16 Armand SERRA has been a professional guitar player, playing dance halls at weekends or Hard Rock with his first band MAD BRAIN! The rest of the week was spent at the Lycee Jean JAURES in the town of Castres in the South of France. Armand spent a lot of time drawing comic book style both at home and during school hours. One key factor that helped shape Armand’s career came in the form of an English Music paper; The Melody Maker. The back pages were full of GUITARIST WANTED adverts. LONDON CALLING! was irresistible.
“ I sold the few things I owned, put my Fender Stratocaster in the back of my old SIMCA , grabbed a map of France, and pencilled my journey from Castres to London. I arrived in London two days later ”
Once in the capital, Armand began auditioning for many bands including SCORPIONS, UFO, THIN LIZZY, MOTORHEAD, and IRON MAIDEN. One company that Armand also tried to work for was HIPGNOSIS (Famous for their LED ZEPPELIN and PINK FLOYD album covers) “I pestered them on a regular basis but they simply did not need anyone”
While playing in bands and giving guitar lessons Armand found he had couple of days a week free. One day, while walking down Carnaby Street, he saw an advert for part time sales staff wanted in a small jewellery store. Armand started work there and eventually it became a full time position.
At first Armand had little interest in the jewellery that he was selling. “It was just a job, a small but steady income that would allow me to pursue my other interests in music, drawing and designing”. With no formal jewellery training whatsoever Armand could, however, see the potential of using his drawing skills in conjunction with his musical influences to develop what was soon to become
“Classic Rock & Roll Jewellery”
During the evenings he started to carve models that were to become the large Evil Skull ring, the Plague ring, wolf ring, and pendant, snakes rings, tiger ring, swords pendants, guitar pendants, and more. In total, close to a hundred classic designs. Eventhough I was only employed as sales staff, a feature in a 1986 issue of "Sounds" appeared with the headline, “ARMAND THE FROG ”. And for good reason! In 1989 "Kerrang" interviewed the owner of the store who stated that the designer and creator of all the cool stuff in the shop was Armand. His exacts words were “ Before ARMAND we had no direction. In 1991, on MTV's Headbangers Ball, Armand was introduced as JEWELLERY DESIGNER to the rock world.
With regard to his music, Armand played lead guitar for PANAMA, a rock group in the Van Halen vein. Armand was a Jackson guitars endorsee, often demoing their guitars at trade shows.
But the wind of change was blowing. It was time to turn the page.
In March 1992 Armand and Jeanette Austin (who had met at the store) after some eight years working their, left to open CRAZY PIG DESIGNS, in the heart of London's Covent Garden.
“CRAZY PIG was my preferred name for my band PANAMA But I was out voted. Jeanette and I always liked Native American jewellery and names like,Crazy horse, Crazy bear, Crazy Dog, Crazy Pig ! We added "Designs" to the name simply because this was what we were intending to do..... designing. Be it a piece of jewellery, a T shirt, an album cover, a guitar or guitar part, a poster, and so on and so forth! It is CRAZY PIG DESIGNS. It could have been ARMAND SERRA-JEANNETTE AUSTIN jewellery designers.
It's been twenty years since CRAZY PIG DESIGNS opened it's doors and Jeanette Austin is now Mrs Serra. The female touch and fashion sensibilities merge with Armand's skills to create well over 1000 stock designs, covering a wide range of styles all unique to Crazy Pig Designs.
Whether a simple plain band or a custom made knife, bespoke items have been pushed to the forefront, with unique pieces made to order in platinum and gold and set with diamonds and various precious stones.
You will invariably have seen our jewellery worn by A list celebrities and in movies, videos, adverts, concerts, and magazines.
Of course we are well known worldwide for our skull rings but you might be surprised to hear that this is in fact less than 10% of what we do.
We have also added leather goods which we have designed incorporating our silver fittings.
Absolutely every single piece is hand made on the premises. We control every step of manufacture. From designing, carving, casting in silver, gold or platinum, the setting of stones and the polishing, by hand, of every single item.
We pride ourselves in delivering the same high standard to all our clientele, including the most demanding celebrity.
When people enquire after our VIP clients, our answer is short: Two Beatles and three Rolling Stones. Then the others! For a more in depth list see our VIP section.
Over the years I can say that our clientele has included a very wide spectrum of customers , from the biggest names in the entertainment industry to the most discerning individuals.
All of them returning to our store for that special purchase year after year.
A true testimony that our jewellery is treasured for many years regardless of trends or fads.
We have never succumbed to the easy availability of mass production.
and we will continue to hand craft all of our jewellery in our London workshop.
The upmost reward being our customer’s appreciation and satisfaction.
Today we, at CRAZY PIG DESIGNS, are moving forward with ideas for new designs and products.
Life is a journey of memories, times and places. With the purchase of one of our unique timeless pieces a memory of a time or place can be kept and treasured for ever on your journey.
We look forward to the future and more of our journey……………