Royal glitz at ordinary prices
By Swati Sharma
29th July 2012 12:00 AM
Why wait in line to see royal jewels at a museum or pour over pictures in a coffee table book when you can easily have a princely piece of your own? After adorning the late Princess Diana, Queen Rania of Jordan, UAE princess Shekha Shamma and celebrities like Alicia Keys and our very own Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai, jewellery brand Art Karat is all set to turn commoners into begums with a new collection that boasts a regal air and exceptional craftsmanship.
Think of it as all the glitter and glamour of gold without the exorbitant prices. For, that’s Art Karat’s USP. Looking to provide women with craft-intensive, traditional-looking jewellery without breaking the bank, Art Karat’s Asha Kamal Modi uses silver as the base metal for all her pieces, and then gives the jewelled item a gold coat. That way, prices are kept within the Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000 range. Clients can look their regal best, yet not feel guilty about the expenditure.
Art Karat’s latest collection, the Begum, takes the story forward. It pays tribute to the Mughal empresses, particularly Noor Jehan. “The Begum collection is a very interesting concept. It is inspired by Noor Jahan, who was considered the first jewellery designer of India. She invented the art of using meenakari or enamel on metal. She was a very powerful woman in the Mughal Empire and had had one of the most spectacular jewellery collections of her time,” says Modi.
“The original pieces can be seen in museums. What I do is bring something out of history and experiment with it. I don’t change the proportions or the ownership. I always inform people that a particular piece is inspired by the Nizam’s or, say, Jodha’s collection. And that’s the excitement in this work, the historical perspective,” explains the charismatic jeweller.
“My mission is to introduce traditional heirlooms into contemporary life. The Begum line thus incorporates design features from the Mughal age into large stone-encrusted pieces like naths, jhoomars, rani-haars and kundan bajubands,” adds Modi.
The organic shapes of the pieces, the use of uncut, opaque stones and the enamel etching give a traditional, raw feel to the bejewelled pieces, which look as if they’ve been created in old workshops by old-style artisans. Each multi-layered necklace, chandelier earring and head ornament stands out on its own, waiting for a modern-day begum to make it her own.
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