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When other girls were making mudpies, Daria de Koning was digging deeper, discovering the elements of dirt - and its sparkling mica - and uncovering the magic of gemstones. By the age of eleven, she had already amassed a sizeable crystal and rock specimen collection instead of Barbies. It was the rocks of the Earth that Daria longed to shape, sculpt, craft, and expose to the World. Essentially, her canvas was gemstones and her art would become jewelry.
Daria didn’t just become the “Gem Whisperer” overnight. Her path began as a child, making jewelry out of wood beads and plastic, items she still has that remain an inspiration even today. Her first client? Her effortlessly chic grandmother, in a gesture that would become a lifelong inspiration. A goldsmithing class changed the trajectory of Daria’s life, sparking her desire to create jewelry forever. Not just jewelry, but works of art meant to be worn and treasured as pieces of a vast collection of beauty.
“Jewelry is made of “hard” elements like gold and gemstones; I like the challenge of using these rigid materials and creating something that feels fluid, evoking a physical reminder of the beauty of art and design…”
In college working towards a major in graphic design, jewelry-making was her side passion until she began her thesis – creating her own "Jewelry Company" identity. This project became her roadmap to her graduate degree from GIA as a gemologist, her first job with a designer/mentor, and striking out on her own as a designer of custom-made engagement rings. Daria didn’t want to just be a jewelry designer. Her sights were set on creating a world where her art influenced the way people wore color and elements.
rose cut salt and pepper diamond
Colors and shapes saturate the soul of Daria’s life and work. Her art doesn’t start with a sketchbook, it begins deep within the inner world of the matrix-rich stones that speak to her. She becomes a matchmaker of colors and shapes that were meant to be together, worked in 18k yellow gold. Sometimes it takes weeks, other times years to match stones for Daria to lay the groundwork for her next art piece. Insert angles and the geometry of the abstract, and the design begins to take life, breathe and grow into unique collectibles with a rich history and future story to tell.
Does Daria have a favorite stone? “My favs are whatever’s in front of me at the time!” The time and intensity of the exploration process are what makes a Daria de Koning design the most sought-after by those customers that seek the value in beauty. For each gemstone to become 'adopted’ and ‘nurtured’ by Daria, there needs to be a visual interest, juxtaposed with textural history and patterns mired in mystery. Her favorite cut is the majestic cabochon because of its ability to glow with richly saturated hues. Inspired by her love of painting and impressionism, Daria sees the sparkle of faceted cuts as accents to the saturated cabochons allowing her to ‘paint with gems’ and intertwine stones into a colorful, wearable landscape.
Feminine. Confident. Spirited.
And that’s just the jewels. Now let’s meet the woman.