10 QUESTIONS FOR SONIA ESTHER SOLTANI, EDITOR IN CHIEF, RAPAPORT MAGAZINE
SONIA, IN HER OWN WORDS...
I have always been drawn to strong storytelling and visually compelling environments. I studied history and art history at the Sorbonne in Paris and film studies in London where I also trained as a magazine journalist. For a couple of years I wrote about design and architecture before specialising in luxury travel. If you need a spa recommendation almost anywhere in the world, I am your girl!
My lucky star was to be in Israel at the time Rapaport was moving its publishing operations from New York to Tel Aviv back in 2017. Although my first pay check ever was from the jewellery department of the Galeries Lafayette – I was 18 and in between two degrees – I never thought of writing about jewellery and diamonds. The offer to work as editor in chief at Rapaport came from a recruiter who had never suggested anything remotely interesting so initially I dismissed it. I went to the first interview reluctantly. It was like this blind date you go to please a friend and where, against all expectations, meet the love of your life. The past three years have been the most rewarding of my career – I work with such a bunch of talented people (in-house staff and our worldwide contributors), I enjoy learning every day something new about the industry, discovering designers, and making genuine friendships along the way. I feel I have found my home.
1. WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
People with drive who continually challenge themselves; who love to learn and grow personally and professionally.
2. WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF LUXURY?
Time is the most precious commodity. Real luxury for me is to spend more time with my loved ones, to explore new places, to be able to savor moments fully without feeling rushed.
3. WHICH JEWELER OR WATCHMAKER DO YOU MOST ADMIRE, WHY?
Alexandra Mor. I love her creative vision and how it expresses her sustainable, ethical mission. I also appreciate the way she brings designers together for thought-provoking discussions with The Protagonist event.
4. IN YOUR NEXT LIFE YOU ARE A JEWEL OR OBJECT, WHAT ARE YOU, WHY?
I would love to be a repurposed jewel, for which the person wearing the jewel is only using gemstones that have an emotional connection.
5. SET A DINNER TABLE FOR 6:
ALIVE OR DEAD - WHO ARE THE 5 MOST INTERESTING/FUNNY/TALENTED
INDUSTRY PEOPLE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE YOUR TABLE WITH?
Vanessa Cron because she’s one of the most brilliant storytellers I have come across – I am a fan of her Christie’s jewelry course and her Instagram account @jewelsandthegang which elegantly combines erudition and wit.
Daniella Mascetti from Sotheby’s – her scholarship is second to none and she’s so generous with her knowledge.
Andrew Coxon from De Beers – I was fortunate to have Andrew on a panel I moderated at JCK Las Vegas in 2018. He’s such a gentleman and his passion for diamonds is contagious.
Yianni Melas – I have a soft spot for controversial figures especially with such a big heart and awe-inspiring life experience as Yianni’s.
Vincent Meylan – I enjoyed his book on Bulgari a lot and find all his Instagram posts a must-read. And I like a bit of a historical royal gossip.
6. YOUR DREAM JOB IT WEREN'T THIS ONE
I met one of my good friends from London with whom I studied journalism recently and she told me “You are doing your dream job”. So I am very grateful to still work as a journalist and cover such a fascinating industry. If I had more spare time, I would like to use my training as a life coach to help people who want to unlock their full potential and transform their life. I haven’t figured how to fit everything in yet.
7. YOUR GREATEST JEWELLERY/WATCH MEMORY/EXPERIENCE TO DATE?
Seeing the Farnese Blue at Sotheby’s Geneva back in May 2018. I remember when the image of this pear-shaped, 6.16-carat, fancy dark grey-blue diamond came into our inbox, my colleagues and I were more excited about its story, originating from the Golconda mines of India, and its royal provenance, than the stone itself. But when Daniella Mascetti gave it to me to hold I realized its extraordinary, mesmerizing nature.
8. YOUR FAVORITE GEMSTONE?
The spirit-lifting emerald. I love this gemstone’s energy – balance, fertility, harmony, peacefulness. My dream ring is an emerald-cut Colombian emerald.
9. YOUR MOTTO FOR PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS?
Don’t rest on your laurels.
10. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE STARTING OUT IN THE INDUSTRY?
When I started as a journalist my first editor told me, "There is no stupid question." So I would say, don't pretend you know when you don't, be humble and find yourself knowledgeable mentors. Equally important, especially in our current loud/attention-deficit times, is "listen on a deep level".