Heart and Craft of Diamonds: Abhishek Rastogi

The Head of Tanishq Design Excellence Centre invites us into his dreamy world of natural diamonds where he transforms innovative ideas into jaw-dropping creations

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If you’ve stopped in your tracks, caught unaware by the sparkle of natural diamond ornaments on display at a Tanishq store, you should know that it happens to the best of us.  And, the person behind these exquisite pieces of jewellery, Abhishek Rastogi, is only delighted that enough people do the same. “We design to stun our customers. A lot of our sleepless nights go into creating the perfect diamond jewellery that excites people into purchasing them and passing them on as heirloom pieces for generations,” he says.

Being among the few corporate jewellery brands in India gives Tanishq the freedom to break the mould and experiment when it comes to design. “Even 13 years ago when I joined the brand, I was in awe of how brave it was—it was very progressive and ethics-driven. We were always encouraged to sketch designs keeping natural diamonds in mind because it was bold, rare and dared to stand out,” he explains.

Over the years, the brand has taken an ambitious decision to constantly diversify and cater to a spectrum of consumer segments. Thus, came into being projects like Mia, Rivaah, Zoya and Aveer which were born from the need to explore new horizons. Abhishek says, “We realise that people want modern interpretations of traditional jewellery, be it as a natural diamond pendant, or a lightweight ethnic jhumka. Mia was created almost a decade ago to fulfil the demand for workwear jewellery and now we are already looking at creating jewellery for ‘brunch meets’ and ‘above-the-keyboard dressing’ that caters to the ever-evolving tastes of millennials.”

Abhishek Rastogi

Revisiting the past
A lot of the creative inspiration also comes from the brand’s affinity towards celebrating India’s rich heritage and architecture. This often calls for exhaustive research on traditional jewellery trends that existed through history and sometimes even warrants travelling to exotic heritage sites. “The team visited the Udaipur Lake Palace to soak in the rich culture of the city for the Virasat collection which was launched last year. We’ve visited Hampi to understand the intricacies of temple jewellery and have even spoken extensively to historians to understand the role natural diamonds have played in antique masterpieces for our royal Padmaavat collection,” he explains. It is on these journeys, that they chance upon motifs that effortlessly blend into Tanishq’s design narrative to tell their own stories.

Abhishek Rastogi, Head of Design

Often these stories are deeply embedded in everyday life as well. “I first saw a friend’s mother wearing a typical South-Indian Mugappu pendant which is worn on the side and not centre and I was mesmerized. I knew we had to incorporate it into our designs and reinterpret it in our own way,” he says.

Nature is a forever muse for Abhishek as well. His favourite being the diamond collection called Ganga, inspired by the tumultuous journey undertaken by the revered river, from the Gangotri to its confluence in the Bay of Bengal. “We used different shapes and cuts of diamonds to denote the various forms of Ganga, from mild drops to its swirls of foaming fury,” he explains. Their latest natural diamond and gold collection Aarambh, also draws inspiration from the various flora of deserts. “We tried to recreate the shifting forms and silhouettes of sand dunes and the unspoken beauty of succulents through this collection,” he adds.

However, the collection that made Abhishek fall in love with natural diamonds over and over again was Inara—a marriage of traditional aesthetics and top-notch engineering. “This collection was very special to me because we not only conceptualised a theme inspired by the cosmos but managed to bring it to life using some of the finest ethically sourced natural diamonds,” he recalls. The ensemble of unique designs elevated by the glorious luminescence of natural diamonds has left such an everlasting impact, that the brand creates a sequel to it every year.

The sustainability factor
As millennials get more aware of their surroundings, sustainability is the key to staying relevant among the woke and well-travelled generation of customers, feels Abhishek. “There is a big focus on ethically sourced natural diamonds, on how jewellery can be upcycled and on the process of creating new jewellery sustainably with minimal waste of natural resources,” he explains. He also adds that a major reason why millennials throng the Tanishq stores is because of their ‘by nature, for nature’ mantra that promotes transparent diamond sourcing. But design too plays a big role. “We’ve actually had customers say that our natural diamond collections have inspired weddings. We had a young customer tell us that she fell in love with a particular wedding set while browsing and bought it even before her marriage was finalised! That absolutely made our day,” he laughs.

Diamond jewellery