Jewellery is an art form. I discovered that for the first time when I visited the V&A Museum in London as an eleven-year old self proclaimed “artist”. If one simply looks at handcrafted jewellery through the ages, we can recognise it as art; from the hours of planning, sculpting, moulding, setting, right down to each delicately etched line or connecting link. As a jeweller, artist, and designer, I feel passionately that my jewellery should not just be seen as a commodity but rather as precious and expressive art.
As a jeweller, artist, and designer, I feel passionately that my jewellery should not just be seen as a commodity but rather as precious and expressive art.
My own jewellery that I design at Arthyan is very much inspired by the craftsmanship of the past. I love that in every amulet, necklace, armband or earring, you can clearly see that it’s handmade; you can see each hammer stroke on metal, or the rough unpolished cut of the gems. It’s exquisite, but ‘imperfect’ — that very element of imperfection is what makes it even more lovely and desirable to me. I think the true beauty of handicraft is being able to hold a little part of the Maker’s world and soul within their creation. Today, craftsmanship and art are debatably becoming even more necessary because we are used to ‘fast fashion’: mass- produced cheap designs which have no character, uniqueness or soul. Even in specialist jewellery stores which are promoting designers, the selection is generally very mainstream so as to appeal to as many people as possible. In the same vein, one of the biggest struggles I’ve encountered is getting stocked in a gallery — they don’t want something too ‘unique’ or ‘different’. I want to emphasise to creatives in any field that this is not a bad thing — it can be highly beneficial to be forced to fashion your own niche and ‘space’. I feel strongly that instead of ostracising the pioneers who ultimately push society forward, unique creativity and unconventionality should be celebrated: the world always needs people willing to push the boundaries. Here at Arthyan, we epitomise that.
The secret behind the individualism of my work is that it stems from a place of love. Love is the reason that I am able to consistently create something new and have the bravery and courage to do something unconventional. Love for my work, love for every little piece of something that inspires me – it’s limitless. For me, I love the gentle swaying of flowers when they blow in the breeze, and that hour of dusk when the sky turns a dark metallic grey but the sun lights the trees from behind and turns them into magnificent golden pillars of Nature’s parthenon; in autumn, when they blaze a-high in red and orange like the burning bush where angels spoke to Moses; the moon in a dark night sky, crescent shaped and sailing as a boat across the heavens along the starry crests of foaming waves; a pearl, made from a full round moon on a holy night shining to the sea below and forming drops of it’s essence; the cathedral bells ringing into the romantic night and singing for the union of souls… These things inspire me endlessly and I strive to encapsulate their beauty within my jewellery.
To begin each piece of jewellery, I have to embark on a meticulously scrupulous journey through the past. I love to imagine the sweet laden and heavy wafting scents of jasmine coming from Indian women’s dark braided hair; the rose petal harvests in Morocco and the purple-bloomed horizons of saffron fields in Kashmir; the domed majestic Mosques and Palaces in Iran, each represented in a little something inside the jewellery. The essence and spirit of the jewellery comes from trying to capture that imagery, but I also do extensive research into jewellers from the Hellenistic period in Alexander’s Greece to the Qajar dynasty in Iran and the symbology behind the ornaments. I spend countless hours pouring over photographs of influential women proudly displaying their jewels from Maharani’s and English Queens to village-women and happy brides, each as splendorous as the next.
The process of creating is a cycle for me: I pour everything I have — my love and my pain — into a piece of jewellery and it quite literally takes a life of its own through my emotions and the flowers inside. I give life to something. Then as an artist I ‘die’, and finally am reborn to create once again in a continual personal renaissance. Being an artist for a living is a perpetual struggle and satisfaction: but that’s what keeps the vitality and emotion alive. It can be soul crushing to realise that your work may never be commercially viable; that it hasn’t sold; that people are willing to pay for a factory made trinket but not for your art; that you may be destined to live a life like Van Gogh — die in obscurity and be celebrated in death, only to keep on creating anyway because it is your soul. These are things that you have to deliberate as an artist and ultimately overcome. It takes a lot of bravery to exist outside of convention and expectation, and I’m sure to a certain extent all artists can resonate with that statement.
I pour everything I have — my love and my pain — into a piece of jewellery and it quite literally takes a life of its own through my emotions and the flowers inside.
I’m proud of the work I’m doing at Arthyan. I’m pushing the boundaries of jewellery and art in a way that has truly never been done before: the jewellery is the first of its kind. All in all, it’s a game of juxtaposing opposites to create a new union — I think I have been able to conceptualise an equilibrium between the elegance and extravagance we can see in the designs of the past, with the contemporary techniques and touch of the modern day. I have married the East and the West together — designs typical of the Middle East and Indian subcontinent such as the Jhumka (seen above), combine with Western botanical jewellery to emerge in unison, resplendent. Delicate, graceful and feminine gemstones, beautiful flowers and stunning movement link together with bold, daring shapes and colours. The result is jewellery which is stunning to look at, comfortable to wear, completely customisable for special occasions, totally one-of-a-kind, and accessible for anyone’s budget. I hope to appeal to an international audience of people who are ready to be trendsetters. Different. Beautiful.