Jewelry Designer Spotlight: Daria de Koning Fine Jewelry

While in New York City recently, I got to meet an artist I’ve admired on Twitter (the source of a lot of interesting and unexpected friendships), Daria de Koning. We met at her studio, a fun and functional space in the Tribeca neighborhood. I love the experience of meeting artists in their workspace, as you get a sense of the background of how and where the jewelry takes shape.

Lovebird by Daria De Koning

A one-of-a-kind bird brooch by Daria de Koning. The bird form was inspired by a fantastic piece of Epidote-in-Quartz. The feathers are slightly articulated, giving a little movement to its plumage.

Daria is a rising star in the jewelry design world, a curious alloy of skilled metalsmith, stone collector, talented idea designer, all tempered with a great sense of humor. I laughed a lot. The word “amazeballs” was bandied around. “Some people are hoarders, I collect stones,” she joked affably as she presented her one-of-a-kind jewelry creations at the conference table in her studio.

Daria de Koning Pendants

A trio of Daria de Koning pendants.

She presented her collections, distinguished by brilliant gemstones in particularly arresting combinations, all set in lustrous 18kt gold. As she explains it, 18kt is her medium. Even though she has been approached by some collectors who want to own her designs at a more affordable level, she hasn’t yet switched to a different metal or alloy. 18kt gold, with its malleability and lustre, is still her muse.
Daria de Koning Dagny Rings

These Daria de Koning Dagny rings combine cabochon colored gems in inventive ways; you can stack them up to amazing effect.

Daria got her start as a designer and metalsmith working with a New York City designer. She began on her own by designing a custom engagement ring for a friend. Figuring that she was on to something, she launched her own collection in 2005. She still works with private clients in her studio, with about half of her business in custom engagement rings, and about half in her regular collections.

A jewelry bench occupies one part of her studio, her torches and tools about. Daria makes a significant portion of her designs, leaving a few components to skilled artisans also in NYC. This gives her ultimate artistic license and control over the quality that leaves the studio.

Daria de Koning NYC studio

Daria de Koning’s jewelry bench. It’s not messy; it’s creative!

Her production pieces were lovely, with some fresh takes on gemstone and diamond jewelry. Her one-of-a-kinds were the real star of the show, however. From a 4-inch lovebird brooch, to a gold agate piece, to beloved jellyfish earrings, her heart is clearly in the creation of very special bespoke jewelry. I was struck by the fact that an individual stone or stones would speak to her, with a particular vision, and she would honor that initial idea–even if the vision is not necessarily a “commercial” idea.

Daria de Koning hammered cuff

Daria de Koning’s hammered cuffs start as a sheet of 18kt gold. She hammers them into submission, and can customize the width and any wrist size.

Looking through her collections, I absolutely loved her black tourmaline series; the stones were a rough, tumbled matte finish, with glinting, flashing bits as they rotated in the designs. Her mirror cut smoky citrines are cut specifically to her specifications to be faceted on both sides in an intriguing hexagonal shape. Their finished settings are designed to be worn forward or back, one side set with cognac diamonds, the other polished metal, for two distinctly different looks. There is a theme of flexibility in a number of her designs, with earring drops that detach from the tops. If you are investing in her designs, Daria wants them to be as versatile as possible.

Daria de Koning Hexagonal Earrings

Daria de Koning Hex earrings, showing the faceting of the hexagonal gemstones.

You can see Daria in action in this video here. Visit her website to see more of her lovely designs, or visit her Facebook page here. But definitely keep an eye on Daria and her gems: her star is rising.

Daria de Koning Jellyfish Earrings

Funny story for these earrings: Daria found the main (gorgeous) tourmaline gems, and her first thought was…jellyfish. She initially resisted, thinking that it was too crazy, but eventually they found their rubies, sapphires, tanzanites and diamonds to complete the jellyfish. This is a case of the stones really speaking to a designer!

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