A Jewellery Box of Memories

The Goa-based founder of Peepul Advisory opens up her jewellery box to share her most coveted natural diamond pieces—and the stories that go with them.

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There are endless ways to sample the delights that Paris has to offer, but few can boast of an experience as immersive as walking the banks of the Seine as a local, slinging a baguette and rueing the weather. At the precocious age of 13, Srimoyi Bhattacharya was living the Emily in Paris dream as she tucked herself beside the swish set at fashion weeks—courtesy a godmother who worked in fashion. However, while others eyed the mind-numbing feats of couture on the runway, Bhattacharya found her gaze drawn inevitably to the scintillating gems on display. “Sitting there under the marquee lights, I learned one of the most priceless lessons of fashion—size truly doesn’t matter, it is all about the design. How do you find ways to wear it differently? Can you wear it effortlessly everyday? When walking the streets, I would find it striking to see people mix up vintage family jewels with contemporary designs in a way befitting of a heritage French maison,” she reminisces.

Unbeknownst to her, Bhattacharya was drawing a fair share of eyes as well as she walked the streets of Paris, a proud blend of her Western upbringing underscored by the traditional undercurrents of her Indian culture. “Wearing a nosepin might be a time-honoured tradition in our culture, but the natural diamond that I wore on my nose fetched me the most compliments in Paris because people found it edgy to have a nose piercing in your teens. For me, it was a reminder of who I was and where I came from—a conduit for me to carry my culture with me wherever I went,” she smiles.

It is this discerning eye that has led Bhattacharya’s natural diamond collection to develop its own distinct signature—drawing upon the cultures she has been exposed to around the world while retaining her individuality, each piece that is added to her collection has been infused with soul. Wearability scores high on her priorities for her jewellery collection, but she credits the epiphany to a chance conversation with jewellery designer Hanut Singh, “I was jokingly telling him that I didn’t know where or when I could wear my statement pendants and he simply looked at me and said, ‘You should be wearing it everyday.”

Her collection of natural diamond jewellery has since grown and evolved and now enjoys a reverent audience in the verdant landscape of Goa. “When I moved to Delhi from Mumbai, I felt like I had upgraded because I had more space and lived in front of a beautiful garden. I eventually got greedier and wanted to be amongst nature more often, so I prompted myself to move to Goa,” she shares. While she still clocks in the standard 9-to-5, she has observed that her evenings are more resourceful when spent in nature. Overtime has now been transformed into outdoor calls where she can feast her eyes on the view while warming her palms on a steaming cup of tea, seeking inspiration in newer ways as she allows her mind to roam free—blissfully divorced from the overwhelm of urbane hustle culture.

This streak of inspiration also brought the idea of Table Code by Sri, a sourcebook for curated tablescapes. “Since my family was spending all meals together during the pandemic, I decided to put in some effort in setting the table to make it an occasion. A business idea bloomed from this hobby and I now enjoy scouting everything from table linens to dinnerware from across the country,” she beams.

If you were to bump into her at an upcoming exhibition in Goa, you’d find your attention torn between her tablescapes and the bejewelled angel wings fluttering from under an unbuttoned collar. The latter serves as one of Bhattacharya’s most cherished natural diamond treasures, a piece that she gifted herself to celebrate making a career pivot in her professional life. While its easy-to-stack silhouette makes it a covetable addition to any bijoux box—Bhattacharya confesses to layering it with longer chains with a mood-enhancing pop of coral—the design also serves as an assertive testament of the individuality of the wearer.

This quest for versatility has also led her to question the raison d’être of some of the pieces sitting in her natural diamond collection. “Sometimes you look at a piece and realise that if you aren’t finding ways to wear it, then why force it? I’d rather ring up a designer friend to find different ways to insert those diamonds into beautiful new pieces so that I can wear them more often instead of having them sit in a vault,” she shares. And someday when the time is right, she will find an imaginative reincarnation for her treasured pieces to ensure that they continue to find relevance.

So, what iteration would she envision in the future for her treasured angel pendant? She pauses thoughtfully and muses out loud while toying with the studded wings. “I could see this transform into a ring, which would make it more wearable but you are giving me bad ideas,” she laughs as she signs off.

All photographs by Nishi Jaiswal.