Indian jewellery designer, “Rising Star” Award winner, and also profiled in Juliet Weir de la Rochefoucauld’s book “Women Jewellery Designers”, Neha Dani has showcased her well known avant-garde luxury jewellery designs at PAD London this season. Neha Dani debuted her new series of one-of-a-kind jewels, as well as Shristi: Universe capsule collection. This series of six pieces explores the beauty and lightness of the astrological phenomena of the galaxies in outer space that speak to the energy around us that protects and nurtures us.
Neha's inspirations come from in the world around her, specially in the beauty of Nature. Neha's interpretation of Nature is however tempered, and most definitely influenced, by her own personal experiences, childhood memories, love of art and travel. While most pieces tell a story that is in direct reference to natural elements, the interpretation of such inspirations is always dramatic, romanticised, enhanced by Neha’s love of colour, passion for tridimensional art, and infused with movement and character derived from deeply seeded human emotions. Incredibly wearable art pieces are to be collected, enjoyed, admired, worn, and exalted.
I enjoyed my brief meeting with Neha and was taken away by her collection, and the story behind her whole jewellery process. Read my interview with Neha below. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed it. :-)
Arunima Earrings, “Gift of God” Water Opals 24.06tcw, Paraiba Tourmaline, Diamonds, Blue and Purple Sapphires, Tsavorite Garnets, titanium, 18K gold custom rhodium finished, Neha Dani
JP. Can you please give a little brief as to when this jewellery journey started for you?
ND. I did not grow up in a family of jewellers and had no formal jewelry background until I enrolled at GIA to study gemology, jewellery design and wax carving. Immediately, I became completely enamoured by the crystallography and gem formation and further studied to acquire the Fellowship of the Gemmological Association of England. After briefly working at a gem lab, I started making high-end fine jewellery pieces for friends and family, and from there evolved into creative jewellery.
JP. How did you begin designing?
ND. I began by making individual designs for friends and family, and from there my creations evolved into more elaborate 3-dimensional designs. I always begin with a rough hand-drawn sketch to give an idea of the form, and from there work with the wax carvers on multiple wax forms and then choosing the gemstones and metal finishes that will best express my inspiration and vision for the idea.
Yuvarna ring, “Glow” 22.80ct Fire Opal, Blue Sapphires, Yellow and Orange Diamonds, titanium, 18K gold custom rhodium finished, Neha Dani.
JP. What's your favourite jewellery to date and why?
ND. Every piece of jewellery takes shape first from a hand carved wax made with an inspiration and deep emotional connection. It takes weeks and sometime months to get the exact form and shape, so every piece is special. It is impossible for me to pick a particular favourite piece. I have been fortunate to work with various different gemstones in different collections making each collection unique and very special.
Vruta cuff, Water opals, Paraiba tourmalines, blue and purple sapphires, diamonds set, Neha Dani.
JP. Which type of jewellery do you love to design?
ND. Many of my pieces take inspiration from the natural world and have that in common. All my pieces are 3-dimensional with a lot of volume, different forms and contours and love adding minute detailing to my work. While my pieces all have a lot of volume, they also all contain soft, curved lines that add a dimension of femininity.
JP. Your work is incredibly colourful and all the jewels have a story to tell...
ND. As an artist, each piece has a natural inspiration with an emotional or a personal experience that informs the particular inspiration. One of my recent collections is inspired by the outer space and nebulas that symbolizes cosmic energy. I believe in the universal forces that guide us throughout our lives and protect us. I have worked with fire opals and water opals from Mexico as their brilliant play of colours resemble the nebulas. The pieces are paved with different coloured sapphires and Paraiba tourmaline.
Vaneesha Nechlace, Wateropals,vParaiba tourmalines, blue and purple sapphires, diamonds. Neha Dani.
JP. What inspires you? Is there a particular era, person, or place that you gravitate towards?
ND. I gravitate towards natural inspirations. Right from my childhood I have been observing the minute details of plants and fauna. I love recreating those minute details in my work. I travelled a lot as a child and visited various prominent monuments and museums around the world. These experiences have nurtured my passion for making detailed one-of-a-kind statement pieces.
JP. You are showcasing at PAD for the first time, what are your thoughts about the fair?
ND. PAD is a great show with contemporary work in different mediums. It’s an honour to present my work among works of different contemporary artists each created with a philosophy. The Fair brings together a community of collectors who understand and appreciate the effort and skill that goes into making of these pieces.
JP. For your next creation, are you looking for any stone or any particular concept to work with?
ND. I am working with different colours of sapphires. As a gemologist finding the same gemstone Corundum, sapphire, in different hues due to the presence of trace elements at formation or crystallisation has always fascinated me. Colour is an important aspect in my work, as nature expresses itself best in colours of flowers, marine life, birds and natural landscape. Colour for me is also celebration of life itself.
Nuray ring 9.33carat Paraiba tourmaline, blue and purple sapphires, diamonds. Neha Dani.
JP. What can we look forward to next?
ND. I am taking further the concept of protective energy to positive energy with creating pieces with flowing lines and setting them with vibrant hues of sapphire.