On Nov. 30, Sonya Konstantinovsky will do what many designers new to the jewelry industry dream about but rarely manage to do: She will debut a capsule collection of gem-set designs from her Sonya K. brand at Bergdorf Goodman.
Long enchanted by gems and jewels, the Ukrainian-born, New York City–based designer founded Sonya K. in 2022 after making a dramatic left turn, professionally speaking. After graduating from college in the Big Apple, she opted for a practical career in insurance. But in late 2018, her passion for gems drew her down an Instagram rabbit hole.
“I was browsing and saw a green stone—I didn’t yet know it was tsavorite,” Konstantinovsky tells JCK. “It was love at first sight. I started doing my own research. It became an obsession.”
In May 2019, the budding designer bought two mint green tourmalines from Afghanistan on Instagram. “The dealer sent me a bunch of videos and shipped them through DHL,” she says. “I was sitting and waiting for the delivery like a child. When I received them, it felt like Hanukkah, Christmas, and every other occasion all in one day.”
Konstantinovsky began buying stones through Instagram, stockpiling them for the day when she’d finally commit to creating her own brand. “It was a dream that was on the back burner,” she says.
“Maybe one day it’ll happen,” Konstantinovsky told herself.
Then came 2020 with its lockdowns and pandemic-related epiphanies. “Covid was the match that lit everything,” she says. “I knew I had to do it because I felt like I’d be second-guessing myself for the rest of my life.”
As a newcomer to the industry, Konstantinovsky began searching for a production facility. After testing out several shops, she bonded with a manufacturer who helped produce her first collection, which she called New York and debuted in April 2022.
“Everybody wants to come to New York at some point,” she says. “It’s a city you must touch and feel. And all the gems I used represented that vision of New York for me: timeless, beautiful, vibrant.”
While Konstantinovsky used 18k white gold for the necklaces and earrings, she knew that only platinum would work for the rings, which she named after inspirational women of history, including the (Princess) Diana, the Kate (Catherine the Great), and the Grace (Kelly).
“I believe jewelry should be worn,” she says. “I work mostly with white gold, but white gold needs replating. I’m a busy person and the maintenance is a bit too much. It wears out. I love the weight of platinum and it’s practical for daily use.”
Konstantinovsky recently followed up on the New York collection, which features a range of candy-colored gemstones—including spinels, tsavorites, sapphires, tourmalines, tanzanites, and diamonds—set in powerfully minimalist designs with a capsule collection of six pieces in a palette of red, pink, and white, including a heavy dose of vibrant pink tourmalines.
Earlier this year, she decided to email the jewelry buyer at Bergdorf Goodman because, frankly, what did she have to lose? “I do not take rejection personally,” Konstantinovsky says. “It’s better to ask than not to ask. Hearing no is not so scary.
“We had our initial meeting in early May,” she adds. “I didn’t have the capsule at that time but I was playing with the idea for holiday.”
Bergdorf asked Konstantinovsky to add more pieces to her collection, a request that sent her searching for stones “across three continents.”
The capsule is debuting at the retailer’s famed jewelry salon after Thanksgiving. It’s a pinch-me moment for Konstantinovsky.
“Even before I started the brand, I always admired the Bergdorf jewelry salon,” she says. “Bergdorf’s is my Tiffany window, the place where I go to admire. It teaches other people, even my own kids, that you have to go after your dreams because you only have one life and we only regret the things we don’t do.”
Top: Olivia ring in platinum with 7.7 ct. pinkish-peach tourmaline and 0.58 ct. t.w. diamonds, $29,500Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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