A member of the Natural Diamond Council Style Collective, Aditi Rao Hydari’s creative vision and relationship with jewellery, natural diamonds in particular, shaped our Trend Report for 2022.
What are the qualities that make a piece of jewellery an heirloom, a symbol of love from one generation to another?
An heirloom is something that is relevant and beautiful at any point in time, whether it was made 100 years ago or yesterday. I spent about a year searching for the right stones — the best diamond cut and shape and so on — for a ring I wanted made with emeralds and natural diamonds. Once it was ready, I realised it matched a necklace and earrings that belonged to my grandmother. When I was young, I would stuff the Madras screw, typical of old south Indian jewellery, into my ears, and that memory subconsciously guided the design. That’s a ring that will age beautifully and that I can wear with anything, be it sweatpants or Indianwear. Most importantly, I think, an heirloom is something you consider to be especially beautiful or valuable. We create our own history with that piece, our own milestones and our own sense of what is important in a period of time.
What is the greatest act of love that you have witnessed?
I think, honestly, the greatest act of love universally is that of a mother, how they will effortlessly put you before anything else in the world. Beyond that, it’s when people who have very little themselves go out of their way to help someone else.
How has dance shaped your creative process?
I don’t know a life without music or dance. My mum says that before I could even walk I’d tap my feet to the rhythm of a beat. I started learning dance very young, too, at age four or five. It’s tough to put in words but it has certainly affected my relationship with symmetry — I love symmetry but I do like things to be a little off. I love flaws because they are so human, there is so much vulnerability in them. My sense of proportion comes from dance, because you make shapes when you dance. This definitely influences my aesthetic too — in jewellery, for instance, I find proportions are so beautiful. One of my favourites are briolette diamonds. There’s something so magical and harmonious about briolette diamonds… natural diamonds that are shaped like a teardrop. Even the face is kind of shaped like a teardrop. So you have a natural diamond around your face, that is also like a teardrop. In nature, it’s seen in some of the most beautiful things – a raindrop. When light hits a raindrop it creates a rainbow. It’s all connected. It’s so magical. I love that.”
How has your love for nostalgia influenced the way you invest in jewellery?
I love classical art, music, architecture, poetry… I find that when jewellery draws from traditions I tend to be more drawn to it. I also love when traditions are reinterpreted and given a new story. So much about jewellery is about the connection you have with a piece, how you want it to touch your skin. I’ve also had a syncretic upbringing, with influences from various cultures, languages, regions. But I am always drawn to natural diamonds. They have an ephemeral quality, like seeing a firefly as a child. There’s a timelessness to diamond jewellery, they make you sparkle, almost like a halo.
Which story from Indian literature, folklore or mythology has had a lasting impact on you?
I grew up with a mother and grandmother who are amazing storytellers. And for me, each of those people who inhabited those stories were real, which is why even today, I feel like there are unicorns outside my window. Even Krishna and Shiva were just interesting, exciting people so there wasn’t reverence but rather a sense of playfulness. One of my favourites is the Gita Govind, which is a Sanskrit book of poems written by Jayadeva and describes one night in spring between Radha and Krishna. What I love is that you can find so many layers of meaning within it, depending on whether you’re a child, a teenager or an adult. There’s also a beautiful philosophical layer with Radha, who is human and feels so many emotions, and Krishna, who is divine and equanimous.
Which personality will always make it to your fashion look-book? Whose style do you gravitate towards most?
I would have to say Audrey Hepburn. Her style is sweet, relatable, effortless but very fashionable. There’s also something so playful about the way she dressed, not taking herself so seriously. That has always resonated with me. Even as a child, my grandmother would always let me explore and try her jewellery so there was a sense of playfulness that still appeals to me today.