Yael Sonia is a New York-born jewelry designer who established her namesake label in 1997 in São Paulo, Brazil. The Barnard College alumna and Parsons grad is known for her whimsical designs that incorporate rolling spheres, swinging pendulums, and spinning tops. In 2002, she earned the Tahitian Pearl Trophy of International Jewelry Design, and opened her first namesake jewelry boutique on Madison Avenue in 2007. Sonia’s collection, which is entirely handmade out of her Sao Palo studio, can be purchased in Hong Kong, Rio, Paris, and in her new Soho showroom.
What led you to work with fine materials?
As a student, my preference was working in silver. Silver was ideal in texture and malleability for the organic hollow forms I was creating
at the time. As my designs evolved to encompass more geometric forms, silver was no longer the metal of choice. The crisp, clean surface of gold was a better option, conceptually as well.
How do you feel customers approach your collection differently than they might a similar one that is costume and more price-conscious?
Customers approach my collections as collectable works of art, whether it’s because of the unique designs, exclusive cut gemstones, or story behind the pieces.
Your collection has evolved from a piece you first designed as a teenager; what approach do you now take to designing?
Concept has always been the driving force in my designing — the importance of telling a story through the jewelry. Having stones cut
exclusively to meet my designs and concept has added greater depth to my work.
What have been your best selling pieces over the years?
Over the years, the bestsellers have been the Spinning ring from the Perpetual Motion Collection. This piece appeals to all the senses. The
diamond paved sphere spins vibrating on the finger as the motion emits a pleasant ringing. The Reverse Fit earrings are very popular as well, light, airy, great geometric optical illusion and great price point. The rock rings, especially the Faceted Brilliant Fancy ring/pendants, have also done very well. These are collectable, stackable and can be worn as pendants or rings.
Where can the collection be purchased, aside from your site?
Soon in our new showroom at 270 Lafayette Street in NYC. The collection is also available in our showroom in São Paulo and in Rio de Janeiro at Dona Coisa. In Paris at Galerie Elsa Vanier and in Hong Kong at Ame Gallery.
What is the average price point?
It varies depending on the collection. The Rock collection starting around $1,600 (average $2,500); the Deco collection starting $1,150 (average $2,300); the Perpetual Motion Collection starting $3,200 (average $9,000); the Kite collection starting $1,500 (average $3,200) and the Rock DNA starting at $630 (average $1,950).
How would you differentiate the way women in Brazil accessorize versus women in the US?
Women in Brasil are less traditional in style, drawn to color and volume.
After 15 years designing jewelry, do you feel you have perfected all your skills?
There’s always room to grow. There are still techniques I would like to learn as a goldsmith.