On a sunny morning, in 2015, a trusted band of writers, poets and psychologists came together in Mumbai. The tribe at Her Story had one goal – to journey into the lives of people and identify their unique voices. Nearly forty people, multiple conversations, workshops on life and emotions – and 18 months later – the team ended up with an archive; a “library of consumer insights and stories.” Thereon, this bibliotheca, played a significant role in shaping Her Story’s design sensibilities and diamond spangled creations. All the while eschewing the ornate in favour of a playful language of diamonds, coloured gems and enamel.
The writers and poets penned stories and poems, added pictures and sketches and converted the insights into delightful little books. “We gave these books back to the people we’d interacted with. And we told them about our hope: that we may have managed to distil the essence of who they are,” says Ankit Mehta, who co-founded the Indian fine jewellery brand with Kunal Shah.
Did the women love Her Story’s interpretations in diamonds and gems? The resounding answer is yes. “They felt that, finally, somebody understood them,” adds Ankit. The joyous reaction spurred him and the team into action. Poems and stories became narratives that transformed into diamond fantasies: necklaces, chokers, rings, earrings and cuffs. “Our clients would often become emotional when they received the bespoke pieces. We realised our designs had struck a chord with people,” says Sitanshi Talati-Parikh, Creative Director. And for the next two years, bespoke creations were all that they did at Her Story.
In 2019, Her Story created an immersive experience with a brick-and-mortar store on Altamount Road in Mumbai. With seven beautiful jewellery collections, a swing in an eclectic salon, a bunch of postcards – featuring lovely artworks, illustrations, thought-provoking poems – Her Story’s tenet was to focus on women, as it created for them a world of precious jewellery.
What is the creative leaning for Her Story? SITANSHI: At the core of Her Story, we aim to capture and explore, through each collection, the idea of ‘who you truly are.’ Her Story, is intrinsically, a glocal brand that transcends geographical boundaries, while celebrating the distinct elements of Indian craftsmanship.
Natural diamonds and special cuts revel in your creations. How are they amplified through the design? ANKIT: We use natural diamonds and coloured gems to accent the jewellery – and work extensively with an assortment of cuts. Oftentimes, we employ special-cuts, perfected in-house, and, at other times, we use a mix of cuts to add vital shimmering accents to the design. The custom tulip-shaped diamonds and trillions were conceptualised particularly for the collections as seen in the Whisper in The Wind and Limitless. Traditionally, a trillion-cut has a certain softness to it and is ever so slightly rounded; our reimagined versions, faceted at the bottom, are very sharp around the edges – we modified and adapted it to fit the ethos of the Limitless collection. They now look stronger, bolder, edgier.
SITANSHI: The way we look at design is how it best supports an idea.When you take inspiration from the glass and concrete structures in New York City, the glistening reflective structures and shapes need to be mirrored in the design. And we chose to do so by using natural diamonds. In order to capture the softness and lightness of the Chantilly lace, the inspiration for The Whisper in The Wind, we worked with the en tremblant movement – here, the natural diamonds were the ‘hero.’ The use of diamonds and metal is a conscious design choice that enables us to further drive the idea of the metaphor and the collection.
As a brand, Her Story champions craftsmanship. Which styles of artistry have you celebrated in your creations? ANKIT: We work with master-craftsmen at our atelier and delve into various techniques and craft, including enamelling. We have, along the way, created certain techniques in-house that are a combination of craft and technology. In the Heart of Blue, we used a special inlay technique that features crushed lapis, and turquoise on the metal and came up with the colour pattern. Embracing traditional craftsmanship to further the aesthetics, we also relied on a combination of trillion-cut diamonds and enamel inlay. At Her Story, we indulge in extensive research and development, besides ‘design mining.’
A stream of references inspires your jewellery – how do you marry emotion and artistic inspiration with your design ethos? SITANSHI: The Limitless collection is one of our best-sellers and is composed of stackable pieces that layer in well with existing personal ones. We started with extremely sincere consumer insights that was, in no way, a marketing strategy. We catalogued everything into a ‘library’ that inspired our collections and a ‘new thinking in jewellery.’ Our designs were created through a metaphor-driven process. The Limitless collection captures the fearlessness, ambition and drive in a woman instilled within, as she explores New York’s gleaming high rises and edgy skyline. Through extruded metals and trillion-cut diamonds, faceted edges and Art Deco elements, we have envisioned Limitless as an homage to this very spirit.
In the Spirit of The Wild, there’s free spiritedness, while the Whisper in The Wind reflects the soft sensitivity with its metaphor being the beautiful Chantilly lace. Specially designed tulip-shaped natural diamonds are accentuated by the soft scalloped edges of shimmering rose-cut natural diamonds. Passion and intensity in the Poetry in Motion borrow on the ghunghroo (anklet bells) as the metaphor: it is a dreamy gateway to trance. Our collections have come together in a space that is very representative of the women around us.
Her Story is switching things up, artfully, and will open an exciting new chapter with a flagship store in Kala Ghoda, Mumbai, later this year. Her Story’s imaginative world riffs off unexpected cuts and deep emotions. And its creativity continues to be faceted by the love of natural diamonds, precious gems and modern sensibilities.