It was on my first trip to Jaipur many years ago that I discovered a secret cupboard. Along with a friend, we decided to visit the city’s famed Gem Palace flagship, which has played host to dignitaries including Jackie Kennedy and members of the British royal family. Noting our interest in their designs and heritage, Samir Kasliwal, guided us to an anteroom, where a well-worn almirah revealed a cornucopia of treasures. Each piece we were shown was more jaw-dropping than the next, and we spent a blissful few hours trying on gumball-sized natural diamonds, layer upon layer of fine gems delicately strung together and diamond-studded cuffs and bracelets that covered our forearms.
Why weren’t these diamond jewellery pieces available to the regular public, we asked Samir? Our host smiled mysteriously, commenting vaguely that these were “special, for the family.” It immediately made me wonder: what are the diamond jewellery pieces that spark such joy for their creators that they are unwilling to part with them?
For jewellers who play with stones of incredible natural beauty on a daily basis, which diamond jewellery designs have they kept aside for their personal collections?
Kajal Fabiani Label: Kaj Fine Jewellery USP: Kajal Fabiani founded her label in 2012 and began her range with the idea of chic, contemporary pieces for the urban woman. Over the years she’s expanded her spectrum from delicate natural diamond-studded evil eyes and charms and vintage-inspired diamond maang tikkas to cutting-edge, modern natural diamond pieces that work for multitasking lives. Her pick: “The waterfall chandelier earrings made with rose cut diamonds and rose quartz, set in 18K rose gold.”
The inspiration: “I designed this piece during the monsoon in 2018. I love the rainy season, it’s my favourite time of the year, and I was inspired by the raindrops cascading across my window as I sat sipping on a cup of tea.” Sparking joy: “The pale rose quartz stone, which is not so commonly used in high jewellery, has a beautiful translucence while the rose cut natural diamonds reflect the light beautifully. My mum loved the earrings so much that she actually took them off me once when we were at a wedding. So I made myself a new pair. Whenever I wear them it reminds me of Mumbai’s beautiful monsoons and also my mother.”
Biren Vaidya Label: Rose USP: In its 40-year legacy, Rose has established itself for its intricate craftsmanship and standout diamond designs, including its signature ‘Colour of Life’ collection that combines vibrant gemstones with natural diamonds. His pick: “The Water Lily, made out of 27.09 carats of diamonds, took 854 hours to complete.”
The inspiration: Biren Vaidya, creative director and managing director says, “he was very inspired by the horticulture of the Gardens of Versailles on a trip to France and designed this collection of one-of-a-kind earrings as an ode to the extravagance and splendour of Versailles.” Sparking joy: “The diamond earrings are designed around a beautifully matched pair of 10.24 carats of emerald cut, natural diamonds. Its rare to get such beautiful stones. The three-dimensional setting of paan-shaped rose cut diamonds showcase the flowers in bloom. This piece represents our cutting edge design philosophy and also brings back memories of an inspiring trip.”
Hanut Singh Label: Hanut Singh USP: A descendant of the Kapurthala royal family (known for their incredible diamond jewellery commissions from Cartier and Boucheron), Singh’s designs, with their Art Deco details, floral influences and touches of nostalgia, have been worn by the world’s brightest stars—from Beyoncé and Rihanna to Nicole Kidman and Kareena Kapoor Khan. His pick: “Fireworks.”
The inspiration: “I have always loved a firecracker of an earring. I wanted it to be like an explosion.” Sparking joy: “I love the linearity of diamond baguettes, they add sharpness to any design. Diamonds were the perfect enhancement to this delicious pink brazilian quartz. I wanted to create the effect of a mini explosion–symbolic fireworks in the ears. The radiance of the baguettes and brilliants, helping the earring come to life, and giving the wearer some extra oomph.”
Renu Oberoi Label: Renu Oberoi Luxury Jewellery USP: Renu Oberoi’s pieces are not short on glamour, much like the designer herself. “Our USP is that 90 percent of our collection consists of lightweight diamond jewellery pieces,” she says. Her pick: “This diamond suite of a necklace and earrings.”
The inspiration: “Shells (and how they come to be in the ocean) have always intrigued me. In 2016, I was in the Maldives, and came across the most beautiful shells on the beach.” Sparking joy: “The beauty of this piece is its flexibility. When I started designing it, we decided to add dangling diamonds, which add to the drama. We made it in multiple gemstones including emeralds, rubies and sapphires, but the natural diamond version was so stunning, I just had to keep it for myself and it never fails to attract attention whenever I wear it.”
Bina Goenka Label: Bina Goenka USP: The former lawyer turned diamond jeweller cites nature as her biggest source of creativity and is known for her one-of-a-kind designs. Her pick: These snowflake earrings from 2017 that feature 22.82 carats of natural diamonds.
The inspiration: “Inspired by a snowflake, I love its geometry and wanted to capture that using diamonds.” Sparking joy: “The diamonds encapsulate the same spectrum of colours as a snowflake, especially when light shines through it. I love the unique shapes of the diamonds, including rondels and kite shapes. The lightness and the delicacy of the piece and the quality of the diamonds we used, are mesmerizing, making it difficult to part with. Its part of our brand’s archives so we will never sell it.”