The year was 2013. Anita Dongre had launched her bridal wear, having been steeped in the charms and crafts of Rajasthan the year before. Soon enough, her creations were declared revolutionary. Their attention to minute details and comfort, made a big impact on the modern Indian bride: think lightweight lehengas, practical pockets, and effortless ease; all of this, while presenting an age-old tradition through a fresh and renewed lens. But the designer’s vision was a more all-encompassing one. She wanted to work on a collection that married fashion to sustainability. Enter uncut natural diamonds, which laid the foundation of her jewellery brand in August that year. The fact that these heritage stones could be crafted in modern designs was in sync with her ‘something old, something new’ spirit.
This made Dongre one of the first leading fashion designers in the country to step foot into the world of fine jewellery. “I remember the campaign shoot for my first bridal wear line. I could not find the right jewellery to enhance the look. I wanted to give my brides a complete look, with jewellery that would complement our gota patti lehengas,” she reveals. “Moreover, I am from Jaipur myself, so I have a penchant for the region’s jadau pieces. In fact, the city is my go-to source of inspiration. Every time I reach a creative block, I visit Jaipur’s many museums and palaces, and invariably come back brimming with ideas,” she explains. Fittingly, the brand’s name Anita Dongre Pinkcity is an ode to the city that informs its aesthetic.
The pink city is also where every jewellery collection comes to life. Dongre herself is involved in every step of the process; from the initial sketches to the tactile selection of the final natural diamonds that are used in the pieces. According to her, each diamond has a journey of its own, giving an unique definition to the jewellery it is used for.
Dongre now releases thoughtfully edited biannual collections of exquisitely handmade pieces. These are crafted in 18 and 22kt gold with uncut natural diamonds (Polki), precious stones like cabochon emeralds, rumbled rubies, and pearls; further flourished with enamel or meenakari work by master craftsmen in Jaipur. Each piece is inherently traditional in design, but what gives them a modern edge is the driving intention behind it. The jewellery is deliberately versatile, lightweight and re-wearable. The traditional yet modern spin to the pieces makes them perfect modern heirlooms that can be passed down from one generation to the other. “Today’s brides are incredibly intelligent and sensible. They often tell me that they want their bridal jewellery to be light so that it can be used after the wedding too. We have made sure to listen to them,” she says. As a result, Dongre’s classic pieces are as practical as they are precious—detachable elements make them easy to be dressed up or down, while the versatile DNA guarantees that they don’t need to be relegated to the bank locker after the big day. The fact that these pieces can be repurposed to suit multiple occasions makes them a conscious luxury buy.
Relieving traditional Indian jewellery of its cumbersome connotations has been another key focus for the maven. As a result, the pieces can be bought as separates. The brand encourages mixing-and-matching and stacking together natural diamond jewellery to create a more ornate look when the occasion calls for it. Dongre’s overall glocal approach to design also ensures that you can take these uncut diamond beauties for a spin beyond just the wedding season—take the Duchess of Cambridge, for instance, who wore the label’s Polki and pearl drop earrings with an Erdem dress for the UK-India Year of Culture party at Buckingham Palace in 2017.
We have ensured that the jewellery will never go out of style. It pairs beautifully with Indian clothes, and beyond it too, Ultimately, designing something you can wear forever is most important to me.
And taking your forever forward, are these uncut natural diamond pieces, which play a significant role in adorning you on your special occasion. Their timelessness also makes them the perfect heirlooms. And when the time comes to pass down this precious natural diamond jewellery, you know that it’s more than just a treasure trove of memories, or a reflection of an evergreen style; it is a symbol of slow fashion and taking conscious steps towards making a sustainable choice.