By Ashley Davis
This collar, designed by Yael Sonia and featuring weaving from Amazonian artisans, will be auctioned off Thursday to benefit Casa do Rio Tupana, an organization that empowers women by teaching traditional skills.
New York—Fine jewelry designers often get experimental when it comes to their materials, utilizing elements like wood, marble or even fossils, but Yael Sonia has thrown down the creative gauntlet with her latest project.

The Teçume collection mixes 18-karat gold, diamonds and gemstones with straw, weaved by female Amazonian artisans.

Sustainably harvested from ambé vines, the weavers were able to craft elements small enough to be incorporated into Sonia’s jewelry.

The designer explained: “I had researched a little bit about the different weaving techniques that these women work with (prior to meeting them). It was really great to work with them in person the first time, trying to recreate the different weaves in a much smaller scale to fit fine jewelry. They’re used to doing baskets and handbags, and it takes a very different skill to make these pieces small and delicate.”

The limited-edition six-piece collection will benefit the weavers with whom Sonia collaborated.
“We’re both working in traditions that are thousands of years old: weaving and jewelry.” – Yael Sonia
Proceeds go to Casa do Rio Tupana, the organization that trained the Amazonian artisans. Its mission is to empower women in the area, teaching them skills to make a living.

For sale now at Sonia’s New York showroom, a few pieces of the collection have already been snapped up by enthusiastic buyers.

Next month, what’s left of the collaboration will travel to Sonia’s São Paulo showroom, but not before the hero piece—an elaborate collar in 18-karat gold with amazonite, aquamarine, diamonds and ambé vine straw—is auctioned off at the Brazil Foundation gala, scheduled to take place Thursday in New York City.

The other pieces, which, in addition to amazonite, aquamarine and diamonds feature guava quartz and malachite, retail between $2,700 and $12,000.

“It was a wonderful dialogue,” Sonia remarked of working with her fellow craftspeople. “We’re both working in traditions that are thousands of years old: weaving and jewelry. The making of jewelry and artifacts goes back thousands of years. They’re both manual, as our fine jewelry is made by hand, so it was nice to see how those (elements) work together.”

Get the Daily News >
National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.