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Whites, coloured stones and lab-grown diamonds are attracting premium clients: Poonam Soni

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At an exclusive ‘House of Poonam Soni’ preview event in Mumbai, the veteran designer talks of her jewellery ranges that appeal to individuality, taking inspiration from art, architecture and more, and how she has made high-end customers see value in lab-grown diamonds

Veteran jewellery designer Poonam Soni is busy with her exclusive preview, at her sprawling showroom at Santacruz in Mumbai. The showroom, with all its architectural brilliance and subtle colours, evokes luxury in a solemn, demure way. A quick glance across the showroom shows a minimalist ensemble of best-seller and archived pieces that sum up the remarkable journey of The House of Poonam Soni over the past three decades, and point to its future with designer-scion Kriti Soni.

“My jewellery and the store’s architecture evoke the same concept of fusion. It took us eight months to create the perfect ambience and aesthetics of the store. My daughter Kriti played a crucial role in giving shape to my imagination,” says Soni, who has often imbued architecture and art into her jewellery.

BRINGING IN MANY HUES

Before the industry looked beyond the fundamentals of rubies, sapphires and emeralds, Soni brought in the dash of rust-coloured malachite, tanzanites, rhodolite, and pale aquamarines that are runaway hits with today’s jewellery lovers. With its handcrafted jewellery, Soni’s brand is sought after by generations of loyal clientele who believe in her style of jewellery, trend suggestions and penchant for detailing. From imbibing elements from Antoni Gaudi’s architecture and Nawaz Modi Singhania’s galloping horses to convincing legendary artist Laxman Shreshtha to create miniature landscape marvels for her eclectic pieces, Soni has mastered understanding the synergy between her jewellery and those who wear them.

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OLD BIJOUX, NEW STYLE

Necessity is the mother of innovation in the world of jewellery, and Soni’s experience of designing jewellery for her clients via FaceTime briefing during the pandemic brought in the idea of repurposing old jewellery that her clients won’t use. “I used the maiden pieces as the base for my design. It was a win-win for the customers, as they didn’t have to spend a fortune for an entirely new piece and the emotional value was retained,” says Soni, showing a ubiquitous piece named ‘Metamorphosis’, which is the product of a kundan piece she bought ages ago with gemstones and vintage Indian currency coins as motifs, literally allowing one to wear India’s heritage.

Besides her ‘Gaudi Revived’ collection, Soni is also ecstatic about her humorous take on George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Endowed with Swarovskis, ‘Animal Farm Revived’ is a fashion jewellery range that depicts animals flaunting top fashion labels. The idea came to Soni after she was fascinated by animal toys on display in New York store windows.  She then harnessed Kriti’s intuitive skills to give shape to the collection. The three-dimensional motifs and intricate detailing of each animal’s attire makes for a unique collection.

LAB-GROWN DIAMONDS RULE

The brand has grown vertically because of Soni’s refusal to commercialize her designs by going the easy way of investment. The designer has positioned herself to stand out in the market not only with her jewellery, but also her approach to lab-grown diamonds. Today, big LGDs in her collections look no lesser than Golconda diamonds.

“The market may still remain divided about demand for lab-grown diamonds. But I knew that my top clientele needed to perceive value in this new category. I now operate a factory in Surat where I cut my LGDs, and use texturing to add colour to the diamonds, which are now accepted wholeheartedly by even the richest of the rich as ‘streetwear’. We trade-marked the technology three years back,” she explains.

Always a path-breaker, Soni is now exploring a route back to classic jewellery pieces and the ‘whites’ to bring new excitement to her clientele. She is working on another range of Shreshtha’s works in deep colours, and feels that the brand is in good hands with Kriti’s refreshing take on the primary ethos of jewellery creation.

Written by Ashwin Bose

Retail Jeweller India Exclusive

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