Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” they say. Diamonds or not, every region all across the globe uphold a unique jewellery design and Indian ornaments bear a testimony to this history and the strong spirit corridor relation with culture and tradition. Over the years, Indian craftsmanship has exhibited a full-flavor towards established culture and customs craft jewellery; including variations in terms of designs and styles. So much so, that the beauty of the women of this nation are appreciated most the world over because of their rich choice of jewellery passed across generations. Ornaments, one must understand, are one in reference to the key secrets for the mesmerizing beauty of Indian women.
Indian jewellery is a motley lot, varying in design from one region to another. Heavily influenced by the culture of that particular area, North Indian jewellery pieces mostly bounce the exclusive carved designs. In the east, there is an over-abundance in beaded jewellery. Ornaments in the Western parts of India include stones and mirrored work. And, in the South, ornament makers largely apply the extensive temple based designs. Inspired by the flora and fauna specific to each region, the jewellery designs exhibit a folk culture deeply embedded in the long standing tradition of the rustic parts of the country.
During occasions like wedding and engagement, one can get to see the ethnic and conventional ornament. Wedding jewellery is created using uniform artful techniques involving meenakari and kundan work. Such pieces are fused with fast artisanship and elegance, thus, making them auxiliary valuable. But the trend is changing now. Designers are experimenting with jewellery as well. The new generation is coming up with new ideas. There has always been a puzzle surrounding how to preserve the grand old grandma’s jewellery.
Ritika Bhasin, a Delhi based designer, has the answer to the query. She tells us about a unique way of recreating new jewellery out of one’s old heritage collection where one can blend Indian heritage and modernity in a single piece of jewellery. After being in the fashion industry for a while, she has shifted her inclination from garments to jewellery. The curiosity to expand her horizon and step into this new field of fashion made her come up with this new venture of converting old boring pieces into modern statement designers with the addition of stringing and wear-ability.
Bhasin plans to become a jewellery consultant. Melting and re-moulding is something every jeweller can do, but she on the contrary plans to achieve much more than that. She wants to redefine jewellery in accordance with one’s taste and give it the modern touch.When asked about the challenges faced while establishing herself in the industry, she says,“I personally feel the main obstacle in this field is lack of trust. People are not very open to the idea of recreating heritage heirloom, thus creating apprehensions pertaining to adulteration of authentic jewellery. Luckily for me, having a fashion background has worked in my favour as my existing clientele bestowed the faith in me to recreate their jewellery, giving it a modern and aesthetic look.”
What could be the trickiest part in recreating this kind of jewellery is “an understanding of the ‘before-after’ concept”, Bhasin says. “But, once the customer understands this concept it becomes much more appealing to them thereby making it more wearable,” she adds. “Have you ever looked at an old piece of jewellery and wondered if it is a perfect match to your trending outfit? Looking at my mom’s old piece of jewellery, this is the exact thought that crossed my mind while I was getting married. Being a heritage heirloom, selling it or re-moulding it did not seem like such a great idea, which is why I came up with the concept of recreating fine jewellery so that they could be in synchronisation to your trending modern outfits.”
Bhasin also said that she customized jewellery pieces based on “my design sense, after examining what a customer desires. Being a jewellery consultant and a re-creator, it is my duty to provide useful insights to a customer on how their jewellery can be revamped with a modern touch.”
“I do not take any consultation charges, as I provide insights to only those customers who I know are willing to go ahead with the re-invention of their jewellery. After understanding a customer’s taste I re-design their existing jewellery by making a rough sketch of how their pieces will turn out to be, and calculate the cost for the same. Hence, my charges vary from piece to piece,” she added.
“My designs are inspired by nature, for example, I designed a traditional jhumka, which is inspired by the bird’s eye view of Akshardham temple in which the temple dome leaves a resemblance on the jhumki”
Another designer Pooja Juneja, whose designs are based on bio mimicry, taking inspiration from Gods’ immaculate genesis to produce adornments of the very special kind for her discerning patrons, her jewellery fills the charm between traditional Indian and modern stylish jewellery. The collection is an eclectic mix of traditional Indian motifs and western design sensibility. Her differentiator is a blend of nature and creativity. Her pieces are a balance of utility and beauty. Each piece is much more than a jewel and tells a story of it’s own.
She talked about the challenges she faced while competing in the industry. “It’s a male dominated industry. I faced lots of problems but my mentor Kazuko Araki natured me so well that I survived in this field. When I just started my journey, someone told me that this industry is a second-class compartment of a train, they won’t let you in. Once I went for procuring diamonds, that time I felt like an alien over there. I felt people were looking at me like I was some unwanted element. But my designs did the magic,” says Juneja.
“My designs are for people, not for the locker. I believe in creativity as well as wearability. I design according to the modern girl who wears traditional as well western clothes. I always try to break the regular trend in my designs. My designs are inspired by nature, for example, I designed a traditional jhumka, which is inspired by the bird’s eye view of Akshardham temple in which the temple dome leaves a resemblance on the jhumki,” she adds.