Varuna D Jani has had a passion for jewellery ever since she was eight. She adorned her dolls with the jewellery she made out of beads and sequins and even accompanied her father, Ramchand Popley, to his jewellery store at a tender age. If other children her age drew cartoons, Varuna used to see gold ornaments and sketch them out in her books. “I didn’t realise then that this was what I was meant to do in life!” she says.
She launched her eponymous jewellery brand, Varuna D Jani, and churns out about 100 pieces a year, all of which are exclusive and limited-edition. “I love to make jewellery that enhances a woman, and statement pieces that make a woman stunningly powerful. And this is what makes people come to me,” she shares. Hailing from the family behind Popley – renowned Mumbai jewellers, she grew up with a deep understanding of the trade. Today, she ties together both her expertise and unique aesthetic to create beautifully-crafted, contemporary jewellery.
How did you set sail with your brand?
In 2005, when my father fell sick, he thought that my brother needed help running the Popley Jewellery empire. So when I came back to India from Dubai and joined my father, I started designing some jewellery pieces, only to learn that it came naturally to me! I tried my hand at various other fields before, like F&B – catering and restaurant, events, and wedding planning. But jewellery happened spontaneously. I didn’t know until then that this was what I was meant to do. I started Varuna D Jani to showcase my designs and offer exclusive, limited-edition pieces with a value of 10 lakhs and above. Brand experts advised us to use a name that people can identify with, especially if we’re talking to a select section of customers. So going by the successful brand Popley, the eponymous name for my brand, Varuna D Jani come about.
What inspires your designs?
I keep my customers in mind while designing. I think about whether she’s a contemporary woman, is classic, or a trendsetter. I like to work with the psychology of style. When I design earrings, I look at the face and try to balance the earrings with it. It’s an investment that enhances the face and is cherished for life.
What makes a piece a true masterpiece?
I create pieces with the intention of making a masterpiece. But sometimes, more than the creator, it’s the people who need to decide the masterpiece. Some pieces are close to my heart and some are easily taken by people. Some pieces have even won international awards. But when I created them, I never anticipated awards for them. Whatever you create should be with intention and purpose. The results are not in your hands.
What’s your favourite among the pieces of jewellery you possess?
Hoops, my solitaire ring, and the D’amour-inspired choker that I designed.
Designing and retailing go hand in hand for the success of a jewellery brand. Was retailing ever a challenge before?
Although you create what is right initially, you need to listen to the market, too. There should be a fine balance between design and commercial sensibility. At the end of the day, jewellery is an investment and it can’t be a trend or some kind of fashion. Considering the evolving market, thinking 10 steps ahead surely helped me in my work. I feel that the 1,000-day theory to beget success is very true!
What advice would you give to brides for choosing the right jewellery for their big day?
You should look at your individual style and flaunt a piece that’s part of you. It’s no longer about your bank balance. It’s about your style and what attracts you. Buy jewellery that’ll help enhance yourself. It’s important to buy jewellery you cherish and enjoy, and something that balances your body ratio. Take versatile pieces that complement both contemporary and traditional outfits. – as told to Sumana