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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Career in Jewellery Designing

Jewellery for the new age Indian


FOURTEEN years ago when Divya A Bhasin completed a course in jewellery design from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), jewellery designing in India was a fairly conservative domain. "Designers did not experiment much and used to stick to established patterns, which had a ready market. I, on my part, found this very frustrating as it restricted my creativity. So I ventured out on my own and set up my jewellery design studio in Delhi where I focussed on providing my clients with custom-made creations," shares Bhasin. 
   Today, Bhasin is the proud owner of a designer jewellery boutique in a posh locality of South Delhi. She relates some of the observations, which inspired her to develop her own signature style. "Right at the start of my career I realised that while there are 140-coloured semi-precious and precious stones, jewellery designers by and large adopt only around 10 stones in most creations. These stones are also the costliest and in fact this is one reason why most jewellery items are so expensive," she says. "This is where I saw an opportunity to make a difference. I started using inexpensive versions of the popular precious and semi-precious stones and came up with pieces which were unique and had the affordability quotient," she explains. Citing examples, Bhasin said that she used iolite in place of blue sapphire and aventurine in place of emerald in some of her creations. 
   A degree from the US, Bhasin feels, helped her and that a professional degree gives an edge particularly when one wants to become an entrepreneur. "I can make business decisions with ease today because my course taught me how to decipher between artificial and genuine stones. Moreover, since I have knowledge about the technical and chemical composition of various stones and metals I understand exactly which design combinations will work," she explains. Bhasin is of the view that above everything a professional degree anyways stands one in good stead because it certifies one's authority on a subject. 
   Bhasin says that one perceptible change that has come about in the jewellery buying patterns of Indians in recent years is that jewellery is no longer purchased only for formal occasions and family functions. "An increasing number of people are buying jewellery to complement their everyday attire and there is a clear distinction between locker jewellery and functional jewellery. More importantly, most people are setting aside specific budgets for buying functional jewellery, which is usually much lower than the budget for locker jewellery. Hence, it made sense to come up with creations by experimenting with relatively cheaper metals and stones," she asserts. 
   "However, it is important to understand that though people are relatively more prudent when it comes to buying functional jewellery they are discerning in terms of quality and are looking for pieces which are exclusive. Hence, my rationale behind using the entire gamut of precious and semi-precious stones is to explore various combinations and come up with original creations," she adds. 
   According to Bhasin, most jewellery designers in India lean towards two extremes and, hence, their creations are either very heavy (sometimes even jarring) or minimalistic. "I wanted to break free from this stereotypical trend and come up with a collection which is dressy yet understated," quips Bhasin. "I started blending in design influences from various cultures into my creations while maintaining a contemporary look. What emanated was a fusion look, which resonated heritage and utility in equal measures. This worked and people across age groups welcomed this look," recounts Bhasin. 
   Bhasin has used wood, natural fossils, seashells and crystals in her collections. She has also experimented combinations of metals with silver and gold. A striking feature of her collection is that she has used brocades and fabrics as a base and embellished them with stones to create chokers and wristbands. 
   Speaking on her future plans, Bhasin says that she would love to have a boutique in each of the metros and major cities of India. "In the western countries people appreciate the works of Indian jewellery designers. I want my creations to resonate the spirit of India and be known even abroad so that when people from across the world purchase my collection they get a feeling of having bought a piece of India," she says. 
   So what is her advice to upcoming jewellery designers? "Jewellery designing is like any other art. A strong aesthetic sense coupled with a vivid imagination is what essentially works in favour of the designer," she opines. "But it does not stop at that. In order to be successful one has to be sensitive to the psyche of the market and identify specific opportunities and build one's niche. Having a vision also helps as it translates into consistency in terms of creations and ultimately helps in evolving one's individual style. It is this style which becomes the designer's hallmark," sums up Bhasin.



   Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group


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