Art in Craft

Her mother is a biology teacher and her father is an engineer,therefore,it comes as little surprise that Eina Ahluwalia,a well-known jewellery designer,pursued academics and ended up with an MBA.

Written by VIDYA PRABHU | Published: July 2, 2012 2:01 am

Her mother is a biology teacher and her father is an engineer,therefore,it comes as little surprise that Eina Ahluwalia,a well-known jewellery designer,pursued academics and ended up with an MBA. But four years in the corporate world and Ahluwalia,who had always loved jewellery but never thought about making it,called it quits. “I wanted to do something that I loved. So I started making jewellery with a bunch of craftsmen in Bengal,” says the designer who launched her label in 2003.

She has come a long way since then. Recently,the World Gold Council picked her as one of the hottest talents to watch out for. Moreover,she was selected to show at the “Hot Under The Collar” exhibition at the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) Conference 2012,that was held in the United States this May. Ahluwalia’s most famous ‘Kirpan neckpiece’ was selected from a list of 707 jewellery pieces by 311 artists from 12 countries. The jury included internationally renowned jeweller Robert Ebendorf. “He wrote a letter to me saying he felt the Kirpan was ‘outstanding’ and a very ‘special’ and ‘strong’ part of the exhibition,” says Ahluwalia,who has also been nominated for the Best Jewellery Designer award by Marie Claire India for two years in a row.

Her success can be traced to the expertise she has gained over the years. She started off as a consultant to a jewellery export company and worked on her own silver jewellery line. But it was only post her workshop with conceptual jewellery artist Ruudt Peters that she moved on from being just another contemporary jeweller. “In 2010,I,along with 14 other jewellers from across the world,was chosen for this workshop,” says the designer. Later,during a programme at the Alchimia School of Contemporary Jewellery in Florence,Ahluwalia developed a design philosophy which involves focussing on fine craftsmanship and a strong concept. Today,she’s the India Advisor at the institute.

“Conceptual jewellery is where the concept or the idea is most important,and the jewellery is just a way to tell the story. The jewellery can be evaluated,like fine art,for its ideas,inventions,intuitions,and content rather than for its precious materials or conformity to tradition,” explains the designer. As Ahluwalia asserts,her work is not directed or bound by fashion. “My jewellery is for the individualistic,thinking woman who is confident enough to express herself,” elaborates the 37-year-old,whose collections feature delicate handmade fretwork,which is a disappearing skill,with few craftsmen still practising it.

While her runway pieces are always larger than life,the commercial pieces,she admits,are “comfortable expressions” of the same. However,the bridal lines can wait,she says. “I know that conventional bridal jewellery is where the money is,but I’ll only do that if I can do it my way. For instance,my “Wedding Wows” collection,which takes a stand against domestic violence,reminds women to vow to themselves to love,respect and protect themselves. It’s one of the most challenging lines I’ve worked on and I hope to work on more such collections,” says she.

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