Solitaire Powerlist: Spotlighting Special Stories

A natural diamond solitaire transcends generations and personal styles, symbolising heritage, love, and self-expression.

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From a young age, I’ve been immersed in the world of design, initially drawn to architecture but ultimately finding my passion in fashion jewellery. As the founder of Valliyan, one of India’s earliest fashion jewellery brands, I’ve had the privilege of exploring creativity in various forms. Throughout my journey, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for the understated beauty of natural diamond solitaires, each possessing its own unique story to tell.

When I set out on a quest to discover what makes a solitaire special, universal, and eternal, I was sure I’d uncover journeys of heritage, personal expression, and cherished memories.  However, I discovered much more than that.

A key takeaway? It’s evident that solitaires are incomparable. They have endured the test of time, demonstrating durability and diversity. While humans may come and go, solitaires persist, narrating tales of the past and weaving stories in the present to be told in the future!

“My best friend was among the first in our group to get her second ear piercing. I still remember the solitaires she proudly displayed. Saasha has been wearing solitaires for the longest time. She has her own unique solitaire care ritual.

“I’ve been wearing solitaires since the day I got my second piercing at 16. It was the first piece of jewellery my mom gave me, and they’ve been on my ears ever since. I wash them every 2 or 3 weeks. I soak them in water with toothpaste overnight and scrub them clean with a brush the next morning. I even wear them to sleep; I feel naked without them. I’ll probably wear them for the rest of my life.” she laughs revealing her attachment to them.

My solitaire earrings were handed down to me by my mother and it’s the most effortless piece of jewellery that I have.

Pratiksha has always lived a corporate life. An unmissable part of her simple, functional, and minimal style is a thick gold band that props up a 5-carat solitaire with a sparkle that strikes against her beautiful dusky skin. She shares, “I’m quite a simple person, so I don’t fuss over jewellery much. This solitaire belonged to my husband’s grandmother. When we got married, my mother-in-law had it set on a plain gold band to match my style. I adore its modern simplicity and it’s always on my finger.”

For Pratiksha’s traditional Gujarati grandmother, a married woman must always wear some jewellery. “When she sees me wearing my solitaire, she feels content. And my mom-in-law loves seeing me wear something she gave me,” she adds.

Ileshaa Khatau is a self-professed late-bloomer when it comes to solitaires, preferring vintage or silver jewellery. Her recent inheritance of her great-grandmother’s solitaire ring has transformed her perspective entirely.

Recalling a recent occasion when she was preparing for a wedding, Ileshaa recounts her mother’s generous offer to go choose nuggets from her jewellery cupboard. “I stumbled upon this old solitaire ring belonging to my great-grandmother. I was instantly enamoured and it has become the most cherished piece in my collection.”

The love for solitaires cuts across generations, as exemplified by Honey Aunty, whose sweet face perfectly complements her well-worn solitaire nosepin.

“I recall the day I asked my dad if I could pierce my nose as a young girl, only to be met with a quick denial. In those days, our community frowned upon unmarried girls having their noses pierced. However, upon marriage, inspired by my mother-in-law’s nosepin, I mustered the courage to ask again. To my surprise, my request was met with enthusiasm. My affection for solitaires prompted my dreams of owning a pair. After years of saving, we ventured from Delhi to Jaipur in search of the perfect set. I vividly recall placing an order at Suranas, eagerly awaiting their arrival in Delhi. One evening, during a park stroll, I lost one earring. Disheartened for a few days, I decided to transform the lone solitaire into the nose ring I now proudly wear. I resumed saving for a larger pair of solitaires, which I acquired a year later and have worn daily since,” she recalls.

Solitaires can make you look elegant without trying too hard.

One of India’s leading fashion mavens, Pernia embodies beauty, elegance, and inherent style, including how she adorns her solitaires in different ways.

Reflecting on her journey, Pernia shares, “My affinity for solitaires began with those passed down from my mother and generations before. There’s a certain classic charm to solitaires—they’re understated yet capable of elevating any ensemble from day to night.”

Sharing her experience purchasing solitaires, Pernia reflects, “Acquiring my first pair of solitaires felt like a milestone since it was considered an investment at the time. These were one-carat solitaires in a D colour, extremely exquisite in quality. They also symbolise heritage, something I look forward to passing down to my daughter as an heirloom.”

The spiritual rockstar has an avante-garde fashion sense, making him the perfect muse for any designer. “I’ve always loved wearing natural stones and especially solitaires—a trait I inherited from my mum. She has an impressive collection, which she’s been collecting since my birth. We’ve shared many jewellery adventures together. My best friend, Hanut Singh, is also a jeweller, so I’ve been surrounded by exquisite jewellery my entire life.”

Mozez adds, “Every solitaire I own is a gift from my mum, making them even more precious to me. They hold great value and meaning. Solitaires evoke feelings of warmth, protection, and sheer fabulousness. I always want to feel those emotions.

“One such solitaire holds a special place in my heart—the first one my mum gave me on my birthday. I asked Hanut to design an evil eye bracelet for me, where the solitaire serves as the iris. It’s exquisite, and I adore it. Wearing it brings me immense joy, knowing it’s from my mum,” he concludes.

After meeting as teenagers, Kunaal and I reunited during our 20s, with the shared passion of being designers. Despite the passage of time, one thing has remained constant—Kunaal’s solitaire studs.

“I’ve been wearing solitaires since my teens. At 16, I wanted to make a fashion statement, so I got one ear pierced, and my mum gifted me a single solitaire. Later, I decided to pierce my right ear as well, embracing our Maharashtrian tradition where boys get their ears pierced at a young age. I’ve never taken them off because I adore them,” Kunaal divulges.

Years later, he upgraded to a larger pair that made him feel fabulous. He chimes in, “I feel confident even when I’m just wearing my solitaires. I’m not much into watches or other jewellery, but solitaires complete my look. Sometimes, I borrow my mum’s larger pair. Their familial history adds to their allure. As a boy, it’s not easy to inherit items from my mum or grandmother like girls do, so wearing them connects me to them. It fills me with pride, and I cherish that feeling. Plus, they’re convenient—I never have to take them off, ensuring I’m always ready for any occasion,” says the Gen Next Designer of the Year winner at India Fashion Week 2023.

Having been a tomboy my whole life, I’ve never been big on makeup or dressing up. But my solitaires make me feel like a girl!

Aarti Mody dominated every sport in high school with her solitaires on. Now, as a mother of three, her love for solitaires remains constant.

“My grandmother gifted me my first pair of solitaires–round diamonds set in gold–when I was just 4 or 5 years old. Whenever I wore them, my father would say I looked like a princess, which made me love them even more,” Aarti recalls her connection with solitaires. “The same pair now adorns my 2-year-old daughter’s face, reminding me of the love that my grandmother once shared with me, which now lives on.”

“My first pair was upgraded to a larger pair during my early teens. It lasted through college and law school until I lost one earring on a ski trip with my then-boyfriend (now husband). I decided to turn the remaining solitaire into a pendant to stay connected to my grandmother. With that decision came a promise from my husband—he would get me a pair whenever he could afford it! He first bought me a stunning solitaire engagement ring and later solitaire earrings for my 30th birthday, which I wear daily! Without these solitaires, I feel incomplete. They make a simple yet classy statement that I’ve also unwittingly been making since childhood. I feel like a woman when I have them on,” she describes.

Vasant Aunty recounts how her father-in-law, deeply devoted to his mother, toiled tirelessly in his youth. “Upon accumulating his first substantial sum of money, he purchased a solitaire pendant for his beloved mother, a cherished possession she adorned for many years. Following her passing, he inherited the pendant, which he then transformed into a ring for himself.  The solitaire ring was then reset and passed down to my husband who gave it to me as my wedding ring, a symbol of enduring love and commitment. Since then, I have proudly worn it as a testament to our enduring bond,” she recounts.