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Sunroom Q+A: Darius Jewels

We're thrilled to introduce a new collection to the Sunroom family: Darius Jewels, a fine jewelry line co-designed by Daryā Khonsary and Arielle Chiara Khonsary. One of the most intricate, beautifully detailed lines we've come across in a long time, every piece in Darius' collection bridges the "archeological past" with the contemporary, with one-of-a-kind pieces often inspired by archival relics and intended to be passed down through generations. 

To discover more about the collection, we spoke with the designers about their backgrounds, process, and artful approach to elevating the everyday. 

Can you share a bit more about your own background(s) and what led you into the world of jewelry design? 
Darya: As a child I was mesmerized by my mother’s collection of heirloom pieces from Iran that were passed down to her mainly by her Grandmother & Aunts. The gold and gemstones have always called to me from a very young age. I have been working within the industry for my entire professional career. As an artist my work has always concentrated on the relationship between oneself and the body and often touched on the adorning of the body. Having my own line is really a continuation of that work, the meaning and power of adornment.

When we launched the line in November 2020, Arielle came on immediately and has been inextricably involved ever since. Arielle has a background in Fine Art as well as in Geology. The natural extension of these interests led her to the study of Gemology, which informs her approach to the brand in our use of ultra fine rare gemstones as well as antique & unusual diamonds. 

We love the idea of jewelry 'bridging us to an archaeological past' and connecting us to the elements, to history, and things bigger than ourselves. How does this idea land for you...or how do you regard the role of jewelry through this lens? 
Our collection is made with the highest form of respect for the wisdom of the ancient world. It is an attempt at deciphering the messages that the ancients left us, activating these energies and bringing them into the present. It is our intention that these pieces become heirlooms themselves, that they be passed down through generations stretching into the deep future. We truly believe that to wear jewelry is to participate in the creation of magic. 

What pieces make up your own jewelry "uniform" — the pieces you live in and live with and wear on repeat?
Darya: Wearing a lot of one of a kind Padparadscha & Purple Sapphires right now, rings and pendants. On my neck I have been wearing a 24” signature chain with my Dendera Zodiac Virgo Pendant & an antique Heart Shape Diamond Pendant that Arielle gave me as a wedding present, as well as a standard length Signature Chain & an Oversized Signature Chain at 15”. 

Arielle: Lately I’ve been stacking a bunch of pendants on my Signature Chain, which I never take off: a Partners Eye Idol charm, a big Mint Emerald Ziggurat Pendant, a special little antique pear diamond, & a lilac colored Tahitian pearl I brought home from Tahiti this summer. I also always wear my personal Pear Diamond Signature Chain at the same length, which was part of my wedding set. And of course my chunky antique old mine cut diamond wedding ring, which we set in our Ziggurat double bezel style. 

The sculptural form of some of your signature designs are so striking -- can you share a bit more of the story behind the designs of the Sisters necklace?
The symbols and imagery that we work with are thousands of years old. So much information has been lost from the ancient world, we are fascinated by the rare surviving fragments - symbols whose meaning has been obscured or hidden by the passage of time. The Sisters, Lovers, and our Dendera Zodiac pieces are examples of imagery taken from these fragments. The Sisters Necklace was the very first motif piece in our debut collection. The figures are taken from an Akkadian Cylinder Seal c. 2220-2159 BCE, re-drawn as feminine figures from their original form. They carry the symbols of the Moon, Sun, Fish, and Vessel, overflowing with water - manifestations of feminine archetypal imagery.

How does an idea or design begin for you? 
In our design process we are often pulling from specific references, for example our ring styles, which are adaptations of various ancient designs. These references are then translated through a visual language that we have built over time with the collection. This is visible in our motif pieces, which are re-drawn and rendered in our signature thickly carved solid gold. The resulting works feel both ancient and deeply modern, becoming something new entirely. In our work that features gemstones there is an additional element of responding to the individual stones themselves, adapting designs to a stone’s unique characteristics. 

Conscious sourcing is clearly such a throughline across everything you make -- for our context can you share more about the sourcing behind your materials and gemstones? 
This past year we have committed to the exclusive use of Fairmined gold. The Fairmined initiative guarantees origin & traceability, promoting environmentally conscious mining practices through responsible & small scale mining organizations and supporting the development of mining communities to promote a sustainable production. We use entirely antique & reclaimed diamonds, allowing us to reduce our reliance on new mined material. These old hand cutting styles make each diamond unique.

Rapid Fire:
A word to describe my 2023: Metamorphic
My mantra or an aspiration for 2024: Peace on Earth
A sure-to-please gift I've given more than once: Flowers
My favorite escape for a long weekend or staycation getaway: Big Sur
I start my morning with: Cats wanting breakfast, Arielle wanting coffee
The songs or playlist I'm listening to on repeat: Googoosh
My beverage of choice: Persian Tea 
The top spot on my travel wishlist for the next year: Polynesia

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