India is home to some of the world’s most talented high-end jewellery designers. It’s hardly surprising that India boasts so much craftsmanship, as jewellery is hugely important to Indian culture—loved for its beauty and ornament, and worn by men and women to enhance health.
I love India’s rich array of traditional jewellery styles and techniques, and I’m fascinated by the imagination and artistry of jewellers who can use these centuries-old arts to make contemporary pieces that are still distinctly and proudly Indian in style.
Here are three of India’s high-end jewellery designers who mix the traditional with the contemporary in jaw-dropping displays of craftsmanship and flair.
Rajiv Arora and Rajesh Ajmera of Amrapali Jewels
In the early 1980s, friends and fellow history students Rajiv Arora and Rajesh Ajmera set off across India on a journey of discovery. Hungry to learn about their country’s rich heritage, they were so enthralled by the stunning tribal arts and designs they came across on their travels, that they set up a jewellery company to pay homage to India’s incredible tradition of visual arts. Today, Amrapali Jewels (named after a famous Indian courtesan and muse) is a global enterprise.
Amrapali Jewels takes heritage techniques, art forms and motifs and blends them with contemporary design to produce stunning interpretations of traditional jewellery.
Many of the artefacts and jewellery that inspired Rajiv Arora and Rajesh Ajmera are on display at the Amrapali Museum in Jaipur. If you can’t get to the museum itself, you can learn more on the museum’s website.
Anand Shah is the recipient of nine consecutive prestigious Solitaire Design Awards and not long ago was named by the World Gold Council as one of the top 10 gold jewellery artists in the world. His designs are coveted by jewellery lovers the world over.
Anand strives to create pieces that echo organic forms and patterns, saying that he turns again and again to nature for inspiration.
Though he refers to his skill as a goldsmith as a god-given gift, he also likes to work with gold because of its malleability. It’s this malleability that allows him to achieve the intricately rendered details of leaves and flowers in each of his collections.
You can see more of Anand Shah’s designs on Instagram
Pallavi Foley describes her jewellery designs as ‘luxurious but understated, and never conventional. She founded Pallavi Foley Boutique Jewels in 2011, after nearly 10 years with India’s largest jewellery company, Tanishq. Since then, Pallavi has become one of India’s leading avant-garde jewellers, the recipient of prestigious awards and beloved by celebrities, movie stars and jewellery aficionados.
Her exquisite pieces use traditional Indian jewellery techniques in new and surprising ways—indeed Pallavi states that ‘there is as much science in a piece of Pallavi Foley jewellery as there is art.’
But its her life experiences that are the biggest influence on her work. Pallavi’s inventive designs are sparked by her love of travel, art, history and nature.
Pallavi Foley Jewels
Visit the Pallavi Foley Boutique Jewels website for more of Pallavi’s stunning work.
Kim Rix, GG (GIA)
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