By Bernardette Sto. Domingo
Russian jeweller Sasonko presents an ethereal collection of rings, bracelets and necklaces that speak volumes of the country’s endearing romanticism. The jewellery pieces – embellished with diamonds and coloured gemstones – are an ode to Russian music, religion and literature.
One of the pillars of Russia’s enchanting history is classical ballet. Just as Russia successfully conquered this arena, the country’s jewellers are indubitably making strides in the global fine jewellery sector as well. Konstantin Butkevich of Sasonko Jewellery House sat down with JNA to talk about the company’s design philosophies and long-term goals.
Dance of diamonds
A recurring theme in Sasonko’s brand – aptly named Ballet – is a bejewelled tutu reinterpreted in intricate metalwork. Carefully crafted to replicate a ballerina’s graceful demeanour and undulating dance movements, the jewellery pieces are adorned with diamonds and coloured gemstones.
Sasonko’s two other major brands, Mihail Chemiakin and Vladimir Mikhailov, likewise pay homage to Russia’s art scene, according to Butkevich, head of the company’s international business development.
Chemiakin, a celebrated Russian artist, painter and stage designer, inspired jewellery pieces and collectibles under his namesake collection. Launched in 2016, Sasonko’s Mihail Chemiakin line features elements from two famous ballets – Magic Nut by Sergei Slonimsky and The Nutcracker by Pyotr Tchaikovsky.
“We’ve conceptualised jewellery designs based on a new production of The Nutcracker, held in the historical Mariinsky Theatre in 2001, which Chemiakin designed. You’ll find in this collection a rich assortment of jewellery pieces resembling characters, costumes and settings used in Chemiakin’s work,” revealed Butkevich.
The Vladimir Mikhailov brand, meanwhile, features orthodox jewellery pieces designed by Russian artist and jewellery designer Vladimir Mikhailov.
Established in 1999, family-owned Sasonko runs its own manufacturing facility in St. Petersburg with a team of skilled jewellers and designers.
According to Butkevich, the Ballet Collection is available in three lines – Ballet Premiere, Ballet Cocktail and Ballet Concept. Premiere features 18-karat white gold jewellery pieces adorned with diamonds and coloured gemstones while Cocktail is composed of 18-karat yellow gold pieces, primarily with coloured gemstones and enamel.
A more affordable line, Concept, is aimed at younger audiences. The jewellery pieces are in silver and come in more contemporary designs.
Coloured gemstones such as aquamarine, opal, topaz, sapphire, emerald and amethyst, among others, as well as enamel figure a lot in Sasonko’s collections.
“All our designs are quite exceptional, which is our biggest advantage on top of product quality,” noted Butkevich.
The company currently has 29 showrooms in Russia and two in Europe. In 2017, Sasonko exhibited in Hong Kong for the first time, marking the jeweller’s expansion in the Asian market. “We are already selling in Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and judging from consumer interest in Asia, we want to further intensify our presence in this region,” the company official continued.
The US market is likewise another potential business destination, he added.
The Ballet Cocktail collection, composed of colourful pieces with tourmalines and tanzanite stones, among others, is highly popular among Chinese buyers while Japanese clients are partial to Chemiakin pieces because of their exclusivity and uniqueness, revealed Butkevich.
Europeans, for their part, mainly go for Ballet Concept pieces as well as orthodox jewellery items.
“Moving forward, Sasonko will continue to offer refreshing and different design options for the market so we are quite optimistic about the future of our business. We are growing fast and gaining popularity in Russia and beyond,” Butkevich noted. “Our main goal is to expand globally while maintaining the high quality of our products and services.”