Not only is it wonderful seeing jewelry designers I know when I go to the Couture show, but I’m always invigorated by meeting designers for the first time and seeing their work in person. Daria de Koning was one of those designers I had on my short list. Her use of color is wonderful, and she definitely is a queen of cabochons, which happens to be one of my favorite cuts. As typically happens at the show, I’m exposed to stones I’ve never heard of before. Yes, I learned some new ones at Daria’s booth! Let’s dive into some Q&A with this talented designer.
You have a background in painting as well as jewlery, right? How does painting influence your work?
Originally I went to art school thinking I would major in painting (derailed and became a graphic design/visual communications major). Graphics really helped train my eye and painting is similar to what I’m doing now — I’m just working with “hard” color in gemstones, versus fluids like watercolors or pastels. But I’m still working to create good compositions with the flow that a good painting magically creates. It just happens to be smaller and 3-D.
How does your jewelry making process work — sketch an idea first? Find the stones first? Something else?
It depends on the piece. I’ll make loose sketches sometimes, but a lot of the time I’ll build designs with stones and then go right to creating the 3-D piece…
I saw so many amazing pieces at the Couture show. Can you please share a couple of your current faves with us?
Oh jeez…there’s nothing better than having one of my “thoughts” become 3-D and real…but that tends to mean I’m most excited about whatever I’ve just finished. ha ha. I’m really stoked with my star crossed lovers bracelet. I’m starting to go down a path of working with negative and positive spaces while still incorporating my cluster cabochons. The malachite necklace is pretty baller and really packs a punch.
And, it wasn’t at Couture because I couldn’t finish it in time, but there’s this emerald ring that is fabulous.
I can only imagine how difficult it must be to create something so unique and beautiful and then let it go. Have you kept any particular piece for yourself?
I do get attached to my pieces. Each one is so special and I know that I’ll never be able to recreate it, so sometimes it’s really hard to let go. But I’d be a terrible business woman if I kept them all. It’s easier when I can sell directly to a private client since I know a piece will go to a happy home. Sending it out to stores is so much harder! Funnily enough, I don’t really own much of my own jewelry. I have some prototypes I’ve built and also I’ve kept maybe four pieces that I love to wear (and are easy to wear) from earlier collections.
What are the most challenging and most rewarding aspects of being a jewelry designer?
Overall it’s very rewarding. I love making jewelry, playing with pretty things, making something unique and special. As an artist, I love the whole process of a piece from conception to creation and the final. It’s so satisfying!
The most challenging aspect is the financial scenario of remaining independent (which I am — I built my business piece by piece) yet having to be the bank for everyone until something sells. This impacts everything in my business, ranging from holding me up from creating something new because I can’t buy stones, to impeding marketing plans like photoshoots, etc. From a creative point, the most challenging would be waiting for those perfect stones to “find” each other. Sometimes I’ll hold onto a gem that caught my eye for years before it can be made into that special something.