Shine Bright Like a Diamond - Kamini Saraf, Bunty Bajaj, Shivani Saincher, Tina Jethwani, Karishma Sathe, Aakanksha Tolasariya and Charul Gupta

Women and jewellery go back centuries. They’ve had a love affair for as long as one can remember. Jewellery is represented as a symbol of femininity and one’s social status. It is no doubt then that is makes women feel confident and look beautiful, no matter what it is made of. As Elizabeth Taylor rightly said, “Jewellery has the power to be the one thing that makes you feel unique.” Because anything that is skin deep always receives praise.

Look at the time gone by, and you will find that it was jewellery that had been radiating inner beauty of women (and men) by adorning their necks, ears, fingers, wrists, and foreheads. Even today, women of all ages are crazy about jewellery and adorn it with equal fervour. For any woman who wants to look like royalty, the easiest way is to put on some exquisite jewellery. It adds the right amount of sparkle to any look and gives a sense of poise. Pick whatever you feel like wearing, whether a modern diamond set or a traditional uncut diamond set, or even an elegant pearl set. The trick is to carry yourself like the world is your red carpet.

For centuries, jewellery has been worn by people of various cultures and the materials used have ranged from bones, shells, pebbles, wood, and precious metals to pearls, corals, enamels, diamonds, uncut diamonds, and gold. The history of Indian jewellery goes way back to 5,000 years ago when it was worn to fulfil women’s desires to adorn themselves. Ever since then Indian women are clad in jewellery on every occasion as also on a regular day. There probably isn’t any woman in India who does not adorn herself with minimum jewellery.

Unique in its designs and craftsmanship, Indian jewellery consists of many different types. In fact, every Indian region and culture has its own jewellery type, like Temple jewellery of South India, Polki and Meenakari of Rajasthan and Jadau of Gujarat.

This week You & I spoke to some of Hyderabad’s jewellery aficionados to get a sneak peek into their collection. These beautiful ladies have great taste in jewellery and each of them has a splendid personal collection. Read ahead to find out what their collection consists of.  -- Niharika Keerthi

Kamini Saraf

If you know or have ever met Kamini Saraf, you would know about how familiar she is with jewellery. The fashion entrepreneur has a scintillating collection of jewellery that she flaunts from time to time. Although she keeps her jewellery to a minimum on regular days, come festivals or weddings and you will see her breathtaking jewellery making an appearance. Kamini always styles her look, complete with jewellery and accessories with utmost finesse.

What kind of jewellery do you most enjoy wearing?
I enjoy wearing all kinds of jewellery, as long as it is outstanding. It doesn’t matter whether it is big or small, but the piece has to be exclusive and make a statement.

I like to wear jewellery that is uncommon and eye-catching. My taste in jewellery is different and that’s why people appreciate it. My jewellery catches the eye and makes a statement, whether it’s the diamond or Jadau. I don’t like wearing very big and loud pieces; understated jewellery speaks volumes.

Are you more inclined towards traditional or contemporary jewellery?
It depends on the occasion, but I definitely love traditional jewellery with a modern touch. I wear heavy jewellery mostly with ethnic garments so I’m more inclined towards traditional jewellery. With western garments I wear diamond and semi-precious jewellery.

Do you have any heirloom piece that has been passed down to you? If yes, please share details.
I have many heirloom pieces from my mom and in law’s collections. Both my families are big on jewellery so I have received many heirloom pieces, some of which are even 100 years old. I have a traditional Rajasthani hasli that has been passed down many generations, a Basra pearl locket, a gold pacheli that my mother-in-law gave me. It belonged to her great grandparents. I also have a Karan hathphool, a very previous pink Meena gold set that belonged to my father-in-law’s grandmother, my grandmother’s Basra moti kada, and the list goes on.

Which piece of jewellery is closest to your heart and why?
A heart shaped solitaire ring that my husband gave me after we got engaged. It is closest to my heart.

Who’s jewellery collection do you most admire?
Jewellery designer Raj Mahtani’s. I have a special fondness for his jewellery as well as Bunty Bajaj’s jewellery from her brand Krsala. Although their jewellery is on the expensive side, I buy jewellery only on trust and I trust these two to provide the best quality products. I also love jewellery by Vikas Jain from White Jewels, Mumbai. He has the best diamond jewellery collection.

Anything on your wish list?
It’s a long list but I’m quite a content person. I have a lot of beautiful jewellery and I am content with it.

How do you care for your jewellery?
I take great care of my jewellery. I open them carefully, store them in plastic boxes with mulmul cloth. I’m very careful with it especially because of its value. I make sure to not use perfume on my jewellery and follow all the instructions that the jewellers give me to the T.

Bunty Bajaj

Jewellery designer and entrepreneur Bunty Bajaj’s name is one that instantly comes to mind when you think of stunning jewellery. This Hyderabadiwho owns a jewellery store called Krsala in the city loves anything and everything that’s creative. Sharing her love for designing jewellery, she says, “Each piece of jewellery in my store is crafted with a lot of passion and love. I approach it as art, that you can actually wear. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing your designs come to life and it’s extremely fulfilling when a customer resonates our sentiments. That’s why I love my profession as a jewellery designer.”

What kind of jewellery do you most enjoy wearing?
I like to wear jewellery where the stones are the stars of the piece. For instance, one of my favourite earrings to wear are these 12 carat Polki tops with emerald drops. It’s elegant yet makes a very bold statement. I enjoy the same kind of aesthetic when it comes to diamond jewellery. I also absolutely adore antique jewellery. Each antique has a story to tell and a heritage to pass on. It’s life in gold and precious stones.  

Are you more inclined towards traditional or contemporary jewellery?
I’ve always been more inclined towards traditional jewellery. It’s timeless and will always be in vogue. I do often give traditional jewellery a bit of a twist to freshen up the design, but predominantly it’s traditional in its essence.

What was the first piece of jewellery you owned?
My first piece of jewellery was a panther chain that my parents gave me on my 16th birthday, it’s the most precious gift to date.

Do you have any heirloom piece that has been passed down to you? If yes, please share details.
I have quite a few heirloom pieces passed down to me by my mother. My father was actually an avid antique collector and purchased a few heirloom antique jewellery pieces as well. My favourite heirloom piece is a string of Basra pearls that my mother had purchased at a palace auction, that she passed down to me ages ago. Those pearls are her remembrance; no other piece of jewellery will ever be as special to me.

Which piece of jewellery is closest to your heart and why?
My wedding jewellery! They are most precious to me because my parents choose them. Each piece was so beautifully chosen, from my necklace to my nath, even rings for all my fingers, it was styled so beautifully by my mom.

There’s also a kada that she owned that my son loved since he was a child. She gave it to me to pass on to his wife when he got married. That’s another piece of jewellery where the emotional value makes it priceless.

Whose jewellery collection do you most admire?
Well as a designer I absolutely love Bhagat’s designs. The creativity and the effort that goes into each piece is remarkable. As a collector, I think Munnuji’s super fantastic collection shown by his son Siddharth Kasliwal is one the finest jewellery collections I have seen.

How do you care for your jewellery?
There are a few simple processes to follow to ensure the quality of your jewellery, especially Jadau jewellery.

First, always store your jewellery in a plastic box with either cotton or bubble wrap laid at the bottom of it.

Second, keep your jewellery away from any liquid and moisture. Do not spray perfume on your jewellery. Third, air the jewellery frequently. Fourth, diamond jewellery can be washed with mild soap water.

Sunita Saincher, Shivani Saincher, Raniyaa Jethwani

Three generations of jewellery lovers, Sunita, Shivani and Raniyaa all love to adorn jewellery when they step out. While Sunita has been a jewellery designer for the last 25 years, running two stores under the brand named Saincher Jewellers, in Somajiguda and Kondapur, her daughter-in-law, Shivani handles sales and marketing of t latter branch. Having watched her mother-in-law design jewels, Shivani too has developed a penchant for designing. Their store specialises in Pearls, Precious and semi-precious stones, Beads, Kundan, and every othertype of jewellery.

What kind of jewellery do you most enjoy wearing?
Sunita: I like to wear fusion or vintage classic jewellery.
Shivani: It really depends on the occasion and the kind of clothes that I am wearing.

Are you more inclined towards traditional or contemporary jewellery?
Shivani: I love all styles of jewellery, chunky, statement jewellery being my favourite. When I wear traditional clothes I love Kundan jewellery the most. The workmanship and detailing is most elegant.For Indo-western and western wear, contemporary and fusion jewellery is great, and our store is where you can find a wide range for this category of jewellery.

What was the first piece of jewellery you owned?
Sunita: The first piece of jewellery I bought was designed by me back when I was in college, it was an amethyst ring.
Shivani: First piece of jewellery I owned was a gorgeous pair of gold jhumkas gifted by my mom.

Do you have any heirloom piece that has been passed down to you? If yes, please share details.
Sunita: My husband belongs to a royal Hyderabadi family so I was fortunate to inherit a lotof beautiful antique Nizami jewellery out of which my uncut diamond chaandbalis with Basra pearls is a sure favourite.
Shivani: Yes, it’s a piece of Lachha with Karan Phool given by my mother in law.

Which piece of jewellery is closest to your heart and why?
Sunita: My mother-in-law’s uncut diamond pazeb (Payal) that were converted into a pair of kadas.
Shivani: An embellished silver bracelet gifted by my parents on my 25th birthday.

Who’s jewellery collection do you most admire?
Sunita: Rani Indira Dhanrajgir’s
Shivani: I admire my mom-in-law’s jewellery the most. The classic Hyderabadi Basra motisatlada, karanphoollachha and of course her much cherished chaandbalis are some of the pieces I most admire.

Tina Jethwani

Jewellery runs in her blood as Tina’s father has been a well-known jeweller in the city for years. Now, she owns her own jewellery store called Mejewelz and specialises in manufacturing Diamond and Polki jewellery with precious stones like ruby, emerald, navratan, sapphire and the likes. Sharing her passion for her work, Tina says, “I take special care of my clients’ needs and customise the jewellery as per their style, since jewellery is something very personal.”

What kind of jewellery do you most enjoy wearing?
Something very classic yet something that makes a statement, like a tennis bracelet and a nice pair of diamond studs with a matching pendant.

Are you more inclined towards traditional or contemporary jewellery?
Both have their own beauty so it really depends on the occasion. For everyday wear I would prefer contemporary, and traditional jewellery has its own charm during weddings and special occasions. It really helps in uplifting the look of your outfit.

What was the first piece of jewellery you owned?
A pair of solitaire earrings.

Do you have any heirloom piece that has been passed down to you? If yes, please share details.
My grand mom was very fond of diamonds and she always said that the hands of a woman should not ever be bare, so she passed on her pair of diamond bangles to me. I cherish it a lot.

Which piece of jewellery is closest to your heart and why?
I wear this butterfly pendant everyday which is made of mother of Pearl and gold. It’s close to my heart because I associate myself with the free spirited nature of a butterfly.

Who’s jewellery collection do you most admire?
Since I come from the city of Nawabs, I’m a big fan of Polki jewellery. And I really admire some of the classic pieces owned by my grandmother.

Anything on your wish list?
A classic Polki necklace because it can be worn for formal occasions and can even lift the look of a casual attire.It looks very royal and can even be passed down through generations.

How do you care for your jewellery?
I make sure that they’re stored in a closed box, especially with Polki jewellery one has to make sure it’s not exposed to too much humidity. So storing it in an air tight boxes is always a good idea.

Karishma Sathe

An artist and diet and fitness consultant, Karishma is a well-known name in the city’s social circle. She is the Director of BMS Security Services and is by heart extremely religious and spiritual. This lady is always dressed to the nines for every occasion, whether for a wedding, a cocktail party or a casual outing. Everything from her clothes and jewellery to her makeup and hair is on point when she steps out. Karishma has an enviable jewellery collection that often makes her stand out.

What kind of jewellery do you most enjoy wearing?
I love diamond jewellery the most. By the grace of ma Lakshmi, I have a beautiful collection.

Are you more inclined towards traditional or contemporary jewellery?
I love both and wear them depending on the occasion.

What was the first piece of jewellery you owned?
My solitaire which is the most precious to me.

Do you have any heirloom piece that has been passed down to you? If yes, please share details.
Yes, it’s my mom’s four layered one carat per piece necklace. I absolutely love it!

Which piece of jewellery is closest to your heart?
My8 carat diamond pendant and my solitaire rings and earrings. Also, my beautiful Ma Lakshmi 8” wide pendant that I have designed myself.

Who’s jewellery collection do you most admire?
The collection I admire the most is my younger sister’s diamond collection which is super beautiful. I especially love her 12 carat ring and earrings and her two carat per piece single line bangles.

What’s on your wish list?
A20 carat solitaire ring and two carat per piece single line bangles.

How do you care for your jewellery?
I treat my jewellery as ma Lakshmi and I always wear it thinking I’m wearing my mother Lakshmi’s blessings so I take utmost care of it. As a ritual, before wearing any jewellery, I always thank ma for giving it to me.

Aakanksha Tolasariya

An entrepreneur who started her jewellery business from her spare room 15 years ago, Aakanksha is the founder of her eponymous brand Aakanksha Jewels & Diamonds. From designing each and every piece to selling her designs and receiving great feedback for it, the jewellery designer cherishes the entire process. She is often seen flaunting her own designs and we must admit, they’re simply breathtaking!

What kind of jewellery do you most enjoy wearing?
I like to wear any and every piece that accentuates my look, be it a pair of solitaire studs or long chandelier earrings. If it adds stars to my look- it’s a winner! But if I have to choose, I love wearing long, chandelier earrings.

I am mostly inclined towards fusion outfits and looks these days so the jewellery I choose is contemporary. Thus, of late

I have been investing a lot in contemporary jewellery.

However, traditional pieces are a long-term investment and irreplaceable during the festival season.

What was the first piece of jewellery you owned?
My Ma (paternal grandmother) gave me a pair of solitaire studs on my wedding day! Those are priceless and very close to my heart.

Do you have any heirloom piece that has been passed down to you? If yes, please share details.
My mother recently gave me  a peacock design pendant that was from her mom’s collection (circa 1930s). It’s a timeless piece and a family heirloom that I can’t wait to add a long chain necklace to and wear. I am fortunate that I have some fabulous pieces from my mother and mother-in-law’s collections.

Which piece of jewellery is closest to your heart and why?
My heart shaped solitaire earrings. I bought them as a gift to myself after achieving a major milestone in my business revenue sheet! I am proud to be an entrepreneur who feeds her own bank.

Who’s jewellery collection do you most admire?
I admire new and upcoming artists and their courage to break the barriers of old school designs and mix east and west! I love how they think outside the box for their designs.

What’s on your wish list?
It’s endless and pointless if you ask, but like someone said, if you don’t dream you won’t dare! I am ever dreaming and trying to catch the next wave. My wish list will never end as my desires never stop dreaming.

How do you care for your jewellery?
Love and respect  for jewellery is the only way to take care of it. A prized possession should be well taken care of like a pure silk saree or cashmere. Tender loving care will take it miles longer.

Charul Gupta

Entrepreneur Charul Gupta is the owner of furnishing malls named Vijay Textiles Ltd in Hyderabad. Her company manufactures and retails in all kinds of home furnishings like curtains and bed sheets. When she’s not working, she’s spending time with her girl gang. This lady loves to dress up, whether in Indian or in western, and the one thing that remains constant in all her looks is a great collection of jewellery.

What kind of jewellery do you most enjoy wearing?
It all depends on the occasion.If I am wearing western clothing then it is diamond or solitaires but when it is an Indian outfit, I love to wear Kundan and Jadau sets.

What was the first piece of jewellery you owned?
My first piece of jewellery was gifted by my grandfather when I was really young. They were small diamond earrings. I recall he used to buy me jewellery on every Dhanteras.
Do you have any heirloom piece that has been passed down to you? If yes, please share details.

On my engagement I was gifted Kundan hathphools by my grandmother-in-law. It was given to her on her wedding and then passed down to me so it’s very special to me.

Who’s jewellery collection do you most admire?
I really admire my dear friend Karishma’s jewellery.

What’s on your wishlist?
Polki diamonds are next on my wish list.