Darius Khonsary’s self-titled jewelry brand Darius has just landed in cases at Bergdorf Goodman. Since its founding two years ago, the brand has quickly made a name for itself — drawing acclaim with designs that delicately reference ancient history, queer nightlife and vintage collecting culture.
This mix — which appears distinctly modern, even while referencing the far past — has helped Khonsary’s brand attract a growing roster of blue-chip retailers, which added Bergdorf’s in August. It represents a landmark moment of inclusivity for one of New York’s key department stores — marking the first transgender fine jewelry designer to be sold there.
Before even learning about Khonsary’s gender identity, her designs stand out. Their liberal use of high-karat gold, antique old-mine cut gemstones and hand-carved shapes are unlike most other brands available on the market.
Initially Khonsary wanted her designs to do most of the talking, but she has become increasingly comfortable speaking about how being a trans woman influences her work.
“There is no way to separate myself and identity from this work,” Khonsary said of her designs, which are inspired by her ancient Persian ancestors, along with the queer communities of today and millennias past.
For the designer, jewelry is a medium to highlight how “trans-ness is something enduring and eternal. Many cultures, for thousands of years, referred to trans people as sacred. We are in such an important time right now where trans people are demanding their space in our society. Many cultures respected trans people for thousands of years and then we were forced to the edges of society. Now is the time when we are demanding space.”
Khonsary’s representation in fine jewelry is particularly important. “Fine jewelry is a very special industry, but it’s not been very welcoming to the trans world,” she said. “It’s amazing, this is just the start — I’m very excited about what is to come.”
Lauren Painter, Bergdorf’s buyer for designer jewelry, said of Khonsary’s designs: “When I was first introduced to Darius’ work I was instantly enamored. The craftsmanship of her chains, the weighty gold, and the carefully selected antique diamonds all speak logically to a jewelry collector, but there’s also something about each piece that feels so romantic and so special. It’s a perfect collection for someone who understands jewelry and also truly loves it — so I knew it would be an ideal fit for the Bergdorf Goodman salon. We are thrilled to be among the first in the world to showcase this bright new talent, and to be Darius’ exclusive home in New York City.”
Darius’ initial run at Bergdorf has been so successful that the designer is currently working on fulfilling a second order in time for the holiday shopping season.
Khonsary is also celebrating two more achievements of late. The designer attended her first Couture show in Las Vegas last June. The outing led to new accounts including Hirshleifer’s and Twist. Khonsary is currently in Paris as part of her first market week there, in a bid to expand her business to Europe and Asia.