The Root Cause

With Madhuri Dixit as her muse,designer Roopa Vohra is looking to revive the tradition of handcrafted jewellery

Written by Jagmeeta Thind Joy | Published: September 11, 2013 12:56 am

Given the current state of the Indian economy — the rupee is cartwheeling down the hill and the prices of gold are on an upward swing — it’s hard to imagine any kind of indulgence. But as revivalist and couture jewellery designer Roopa Vohra points out,the demand for precious jewellery rarely diminishes. “People still plan their weddings and special functions,” says Vohra. The Mumbai-based designer,whose roots trace back to Punjab and Chandigarh,is readying for her trunk show that rolls out in the city on Friday. At the show,Vohra will present her new collection,called “Jhalak”,which gets its name courtesy the dance reality show Jhalak Dikh La Jaa that is currently on air.

Incidentally,actor (and now a judge on the show) Madhuri Dixit-Nene has been sporting stellar designs such as chaand balis and neck-pieces by Vohra that seem to have caught everyone’s attention. “Madhuri has worn my jewellery in the past as well but this time,we have had clients come in asking for they saw her wearing on the show,” says Vohra. Though celebrities endorsing Vohra’s collection — actors Jacqueline Fernandes and Chitrangada Singh are among them — is nothing new,the designer is pleased the attention it brings back on handcrafted Indian jewellery. “My work has always involved reviving old art forms and craftsmanship. For the ‘Jhalak’ collection,we worked on the art of polki or uncut diamonds in handcrafted setting,” says Vohra,adding how machines are taking over age-old traditions of jewellery making.

The designer,who is credited for reviving Thewa — the 400-year-old Mughal art of jewellery — says that brides today are keen on heritage jewellery. “Contemporary designs are also being dished out but handcrafted traditional Indian styles are what brides want to invest it. They want to have heirloom pieces that will tell a story,” explains the designer,who has designed statement earrings,bangles and wedding sets using the art of polki as part of the collection.

“In the past,the royalty would patronise the arts through jewellery. Our workmanship,done by skilled kaarigars,is now finding favour with clients in the Middle-East. They appreciate the finesse and are keen to invest in it,” says Vohra.

The two-day exhibition begins at Taj Chandigarh on September 13

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