Fashion and fine jewelry label Sabyasachi, loved by celebrities like Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Reese Witherspoon, Isha Ambani, and many more, has just debuted its new high jewelry collection at the historic Lancaster House in London on the eve of the annual Animal Ball. The collection, named ‘The Animal Ball Edition,’ brings together exceptionally curated gemstones and natural diamonds with tropical flora and fauna, making one-of-a-kind pieces in the extravagant manner that Sabyasachi is known for. Sabyasachi Mukherjee, the creative mind behind the label, opened up exclusively to Only Natural Diamonds about the new collection, his love for ancient techniques, and his views on maximalism.
Mukherjee is a Bengali designer who started the Sabyasachi label in 1999 when he was only 25. Although Sabyasachi didn’t launch their jewelry line until 2017, Mukherjee explains that he actually made his first jewelry collection years before, at only 20 years old. Before launching the Sabyasachi jewelry line, he collaborated with jewelry brands like Tanishq and Forevermark, making the jewels for famous films like Guzaarish and dressing A-list clientele in the finest curated jewelry.
‘The Animal Ball Edition,’ like most Sabyasachi fine jewelry, is made using centuries-old Indian jewelry-making crafts, including meena, hand-enameling on gold—pohai, hand stringing and weaving precious stones and pearls using salma (silk thread)— and jadau, the painstaking art of hand molding and setting precious stones into gold. The flora and fauna insignias have been sculpted by the Sabyasachi Art Foundation and molded in gold with hand-engraved details. The back of the statement pieces are crafted with brand motifs in intricate flat filigree work studded with diamonds, a signature of Bengal’s jewelry craftsmanship. The collection features color gemstones, including Zambian emeralds, Brazilian amethysts, and Madagascan tourmalines, all set with exceptional natural diamonds.
Only Natural Diamonds: You utilize ancient techniques in your jewelry making. Why is it important for you to keep these techniques alive?
SabyasachiMukherjee: Once you see, touch, wear, and experience master jewelry craftsmanship, you can’t not want to keep it alive. It’s the wisdom and beauty of the ages; it’s also the mastery of near perfection across the ages. For me, fine craftsmanship is more exquisite and precious than the most precious of gemstones. It’s why it’s my mission to not just preserve these techniques but to celebrate and share them with the world.
OND: How have you managed to stay true to classic Indian design while also appealing to people all over the world?
SM: I’ve always believed that if you make beautiful things, people will celebrate it. There’s a certain universality to true beauty. And there’s integrity and authenticity that only comes from completely owning who you are. I love bringing together hyper-local crafts with multicultural techniques and aesthetics. We don’t live in an insular world; we live in a curious and exciting time where we’re all mixing things up. This is what I love celebrating in my jewelry, that’s as inspired by Harrapan sculpture as it is by Georgian artistry, even as it’s made by Bengal’s finest artisans.
The new high jewelry collection debuted on the eve of London’s famous Animal Ball, of which Sabyasachi is an important supporter. The masked ball has previously been hosted by Their Royal Highnesses, The former Prince of Wales and The former Duchess of Cornwall, and has raised millions for conservation efforts for the natural world. The Animal Ball benefits the non-profit organization, The Elephant Family, which works to protect Asia’s wildlife.
THE PERFECT HEIRLOOM IS A COMBINATION OF FINE NATURAL GEMSTONES, THE FINEST OF CRAFTMANSHIP AND A POINT OF VIEW
Courtesy of Sabyasachi
OND: Tell me about the Elephant Family and its connection to your new high jewelry collection.
SM: The Elephant Family and I are committed to similar but different missions. While I aim to preserve endangered heritage crafts, they conserve endangered animals and habitats. It’s my privilege to be a part of their cause; the Shola masks we made were worn by their majesties. And it has been an honor to launch my high jewelry collection on the eve of the Animal Ball at Lancaster House.
Looking at Sabyasachi’s jewelry, one would assume they are looking at perfectly preserved jewelry from South Asia, made hundreds of years ago. It’s this aesthetic and, most importantly, the techniques that Sabyasachi keeps alive in his collections. Mukherjee’s art is blending this with a modern aesthetic that continues to move forward.
OND: I would describe your jewelry style as maximalist in the best way. Do you agree with that, and what is maximalism to you?
SM: I swing between maximalism and minimalism and proudly blame this on my two grandmothers. My mother’s mother was a complete maximalist, always dressed in bright silk saris—she was over the top, generous to a fault but had such a love for life. My father’s mother was austere but wise; in crisp white cotton saris, she discussed art and literature, and culture. They were both strong and resilient and remain my greatest influences. For me, the secret to maximalism is restraint. And I love the dichotomy of that.
Sabyasachi stands at the forefront of luxury in India, deeply rooted in its rich heritage, unwavering commitment to quality, and unparalleled craftsmanship. Embracing India’s cultural legacy while presenting a distinct perspective, the brand captures both the essence of the past and the spirit of the present, driven by a singular vision to create contemporary heirlooms. A true trailblazer in the market, Sabyasachi has achieved numerous notable collaborations, becoming the first Indian designer and brand to join forces with renowned names like Christian Louboutin, Bergdorf Goodman, Pottery Barn, and H&M. Counting celebrities and individuals from around the globe among its patrons, Sabyasachi has established flagship stores in key cities across India and a jewelry boutique in Dubai, with the recent addition of the inaugural international flagship in New York in 2022. Sabyasachi fosters a distinct global dialogue through its endeavors, seamlessly merging the realms of slow, authentic luxury and the finest Indian craftsmanship.
SM: I think the perfect heirloom is a combination of fine natural gemstones, the finest of craftsmanship, and a point of view.