Photography by William Ross

Yael Sonia

Jewelry Designer

| Upper East Side

Some say, “diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” but why play favorites when you could be getting chummy with emerald, ruby and amethyst too? We’d like to think fine jewelry designer Yael Sonia would agree— partial to color-drenched precious gemstones, her pieces are proof alone that all is better than one. Situated in an elegant SoHo atelier (there’s even a wall made out of gold by artist Michael Allen!), the Brazilian designer’s pieces are handmade in São Paolo and run the gamut from sweet and dainty to architectural and modern. Our favorite pieces make up Sonia’s recent “Perpetual Motion” collection— a contemporary study in geometry featuring long, cubed pendants and ovular bracelets studded with pink tourmaline, imperial topaz and smoky quartz… We suggest stacking a few bracelets on top of one another because we’d hate for “anyone” to feel left out. Here, the designer sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal her little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: My go-to neighborhood for a good meal would have to be the West Village. It has so much variety, but it still retains a wonderful neighborhood feel. I frequently go to Casa (from Jupira Lee on Bedford Street) (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x)— it’s one of the best Brazilian restaurants in the city with a lot of homemade comfort food from Northeast Brazil. My favorite dishes are the Moqueca (a seafood stew-like dish that is very rich in flavor) and the Bife Acebolado (pan-fried steak with onions, rice, beans, farofa and fries).

COFFEE OR TEA: Both! For tea, I love The Crosby Hotel’s (MAP IT, x) fresh ginger infusion (not to mention, the ambiance is lovely). For coffee, Via Quadronno’s (MAP IT, x) is wonderfully strong and it’s close to home. I go there every morning before heading to my atelier in SoHo.

Bondst (MAP ITBOOK IT, x) is one of my favorites— the toro tartare is delicate perfection.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: An Aperol Spritz. It’s so refreshing and I love how bright it is. I usually go to Omar’s (MAP ITBOOK IT, x) or The Waverly Inn (MAP ITBOOK IT, x)– the cocktails are great and the ambiance is wonderful.

AFTER-WORK HAPPY HOUR: The Waverly Inn or Indochine (MAP ITBOOK IT, x).

LADIES LUNCH: Sant Ambroeus in SoHo (MAP ITBOOK IT, x)— the food is great and it’s right next to my atelier.

Bubby’s in Tribeca (MAP IT, x). It has the best breakfast food and great brunch cocktails.


HEALTHY STAPLE: Sweetgreen (MAP IT, x) for a kale salad.

GUILTY PLEASURE: Rubirosa’s (MAP ITBOOK IT, x) gluten-free spaghetti and meatballs.

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: The newly opened Brigadeiro Bakery on Sullivan Street (MAP IT, x). They offer the best Brazilian treats in the city. Also, the Frick Collection (MAP IT, x).

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: The culture, energy and freedom of the city.

REGULAR AT: Via Quadronno. They have the best cappuccinos, soups and salads. My winter guilty pleasure is their Italian hot chocolate.

The bar at The Mark Hotel (MAP IT, x) is a guaranteed good time because they have great cocktails, friendly staff and amazing food. The ambiance feels very intimate and you’re always surrounded by a great crowd.

Persepolis (MAP ITBOOK IT, x).

TO GET INSPIRED: Walking through Central Park, looking around at the city’s architecture, visiting art exhibitions, etc.

CLOSET CHECK: I often dress in black or other neutrals, leaving color to my jewels. I usually shop at Barneys (MAP IT, x), Dover Street Market (MAP IT, x), Kirna Zabete (MAP IT, x) and Fivestory (MAP IT, x). I also like Resurrection (MAP IT, x)— I found a vintage Alaïa skirt there that I absolutely love; I wear it quite often in the summers.

ACCESSORIES PICK: I source stones in Brazil where I have them custom cut, but I used to source stones in New York at Robert Bentley’s Showroom (MAP IT, x); he has a wonderful selection.

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: Matter (MAP IT, x) and The Future Perfect (MAP IT, x).

My awesome stylist, Gisella Lemos (x).

FIT PICK: I live and travel between New York, Brazil and Paris so keeping a routine is hard! But when I’m here, I love going to Central Park for long, inspiring walks and training sessions with my amazing trainer, Miguel Ignacio Quiros— we do a mix of cardio and plyometrics.

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: The Gates installation by the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude in Central Park. Witnessing bright orange fabric blowing in the wind against the blue winter sky of NYC was truly a magical experience… something like New York poetry! CP

Yael’s New York

From L to R: First Row: Yael Sonia ring; Plate at The Waverly Inn; Inside Sweetgreen; Yael Sonia ring. Second Row: Brigadeiro chocolates; Brunch at Bubby’s; Lighting from The Future Perfect; Womenswear at Fivestory.


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