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Sunita Shekhawat’s botanical jewellery made of pink sapphires and champagne diamonds is an ode to the Pink City



Sunita Shekhawat’s botanical jewellery made of pink sapphires and champagne diamonds is an ode to the Pink City

The story of Sunita Shekhawat’s eponymous label is intertwined with Rajasthan, the place of its origins. A large part of the designer’s early childhood was spent in the state and as destiny would have it, she moved to Jaipur after marriage. “Rajasthan is one of India’s most influential hubs for jewellery making, and where techniques such as kundan, meenakari and jadau have emerged. The Sunita Shekhawat label was born from my exposure not just to jewellery but also the craftsmanship behind it,” reminisces Shekhawat. It’s quite befitting then, that Rajasthan has always featured prominently in her work—a theme that once again plays out in her latest collection, Bougainvillea.

Bringing a memory to life

“I am eternally inspired by the Pink City and a greater part of my childhood was spent in the blooming courtyards of Umaid Bhawan. The bougainvillaea creeper, in particular, is abundant around the city and is an inherent part of its landscape,” she says. Perhaps, these distant memories are why floral motifs are so deeply ingrained in the brand. While floral-themed jewellery may not be uncommon, Shekhawat’s pieces stand out owing to their three-dimensional quality: “I wanted to add movement, dimension and depth to the shape of the flower with unparalleled handwork,” she adds.

A story set in precious stones

Bringing the bougainvillaea to life in the latest collection is an assortment of precious jewels—rubies, pink sapphires, emeralds, and black and champagne diamonds. “The resulting works of art are intricate and three-dimensional, where every vein of every leaf and petal is meticulously immortalised in gold, enamel and coloured stones,” elaborates the designer. The limited edition capsule comprises 15 pieces in all—necklaces, earrings and cocktail rings capturing the beauty of the bougainvillaea’s pink petals and foliage. We also quiz Shekhawat on her favourite way to style the pieces. “The collection is versatile; it is designed to complement not only western attires but also all-white or all-black looks. I’d say it would also look beautiful with shaded chiffons in tones of pink or mint,” she recommends.

Talking of technique

Shekhawat’s creative explorations for this collection lead her to a unique form of enamelling—plique-à-jour, a French jewellery-making technique that creates translucent enamels. “We chose to experiment and take our design skills up a notch to further our brand DNA. We wanted to push our boundaries through this collection by bringing the ancient and rare French enamelling technique of plique-à-jour to India for the first time,” she explains. The technique involves enamelling in a framework without a base, which creates translucent surfaces. The beauty of each piece is further accentuated as light passes through the opaque surfaces. Interestingly, the team chose to execute this challenging technique in India, instead of working with European artisans. “We trained our existing artisans in Jaipur for three years, to master every nuance of the craft. Furthermore, the designer worked with over 300 shades of enamel to find the right tone to match the coloured stones to perfection, a technical rarity in the world of jewellery design,” she reveals.

The result of this vision is an exquisite recreation of the bougainvillaea, poetically rendered in precious stones. And as they brilliantly catch the light, they bring back memories of Indian summers, made brighter by the blooms.

Courtesy: Vogue

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