The first piece of jewelry Daryā Khonsary ever owned was a gift from her grandmother. Brought from her native Iran, the solid gold magic square wasn’t just memorable for its connection to ancient Persian numerology, but also for the important lesson that came with it. “When she gave it to me, she taught me about the magical properties of gold and gemstones,” explains Khonsary. “To me jewelry is more than ornament — I feel strongly that these are objects that can hold great talismanic power.”
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Today, Khonsary is passing along that wisdom with Darius, a fine-jewelry line steeped in ancient symbols and hand-crafted by a master goldsmith using old-world methods. Darius, an old Persian moniker, comes from the name given to Daryā at birth.
“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,” says Khonsary, whose vision for Darius came into focus while working on the retail side of the fine jewelry business. Khonsary’s wife, Arielle Chiara Khonsary, joined the brand immediately after its launch in November 2020, bringing with her a background in fine art and geology. “We truly believe that to wear jewelry is to participate in the creation of magic.”
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The initial concept for Darius was Khonsary’s, “but as time has gone on, we have begun to approach this project as its own world — with its own visual language — which we both are responding to when we are in the studio,” says Chiara Khonsary. “We are expanding the boundaries of this world with each new piece.”
The imagery reflected in Darius’ designs — all hand carved, not cast from molds — dates back thousands of years. “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,” explains Khonsary. Take, for example, the Sisters Necklace, the very first motif piece in Darius’ debut collection, featuring figures taken from an Akkadian Cylinder Seal, c. 2220-2159 BCE, re-drawn in the feminine form. They carry the symbols of the moon, sun, fish, and a vessel overflowing with water — “manifestations of feminine archetypal imagery,” explains Khonsary.
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Released in June, the Eye Idol collection boasts archaic motif works based upon the enigmatic Eye Idols of Tell Brak, inspired by the thousands of 5,000-year-old statuettes uncovered at the site of the ancient Mesopotamian Eye Temple in modern-day Syria. “The Eye Idols are images which penetrate to the core of our shared humanity, speaking to the essence of sentience, and to the innate awareness of the divine that exists within us all,” says Khonsary.
Made in Los Angeles, each one-of-a-kind piece is crafted in thickly carved, Fair-mined 18k yellow gold to “ensure the longevity of our pieces to be passed down for generations,” says Khonsary. A distinctive 24k satin finish makes Darius pieces look right at home next to museum-worthy artifacts dating back thousands of years. Even chains are painstakingly fashioned by hand, down to their unique clasps.
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Chiara Khonsary’s background in geology and art paved the way for her gemology training, and today, she is responsible for sourcing the brand’s stones, from antique, unusual and reclaimed diamonds to emeralds and, as of late, rare fancy sapphires, too. As the brand’s creative director, Khonsary offers up the inspiration and conceptual framework for each piece, including custom designs. “The work is most fully enjoyed by the sensitive,” says Khonsary. “Those who can feel the power that these ancient energies can bring into the present.