After footwear and gadget covers, fashion designer Payal Singhal has finally launched her own jewellery line.
Titled Zaiwar, the collection, created in collaboration with 125-year-old heritage jewellery brand Sangeeta Boochra Jaipur, is a 50-piece capsule of kundan, silver and inlay pieces that are traditional yet modern. Singhal says collaborations with other labels always excite her, making for a strategic way for brands to grow. “Collaborations are the new currency for the fashion industry. When brands join creative hands and design vocabularies, the combination is a win-win for both,” she says.
Jewellery is a vertical Singhal always wanted her brand to venture into. “The collection has been in the making for over two years now. We started just before the pandemic hit, and the ensuing lockdowns extended the timeline for its release," she says. “A part of the collection has been designed over Zoom calls.”
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Though Sangeeta Boochra is a heritage brand, Singhal says her brand DNA is not just India Modern but also borderless, and the jewellery has been designed keeping this in mind. “I had no experience in designing jewellery. Having said that, I took to it like a duck takes to water, and the minute I got my hands on to the beads and stones I immediately started to put things together,” says Singhal. The result was a collection that can be worn with everything, from kaftans and kurtas to pantsuits.
“Each collaboration is unique and challenging in its own way. When it comes to apparel collaborations like the ones we have had with The Label Life, Bombay Shirt Company and, more recently, Indya, the process is familiar to us and is a natural fitment to the way we work because any collection design starts from an inspiration, which is depicted via a mood board. For a new category like jewellery, there’s just so much to learn. There are technical guardrails that we have to work with, which can be production specifics, form factor specifics and sometimes even design specifics. The whole process was a learning experience for us,” says Singhal.
The vision was to make heritage jewels more accessible to present-day connoisseurs that you wouldn’t just wear to a wedding.
The collection has many traditional and classic shapes such as pears and flowers, but it is balanced with contemporary elements such as fish and carved gemstones, explains Abhineet Boochra, co-founder, Sangeeta Boochra Jaipur. “Pearl piroi is done around the motifs using a technique specifically saved for Basra pearls and gold jewellery from the Mughal era. Taking a page from the 17th century, gemstone inlay work has been transitioned from its gold jadau polki origins to sit comfortably in a base of silver,” he explains. The director, Riteek Boochra, says Singhal’s clothing line featured a lot of goldwork and embroidery, which seamlessly synced with kundan. “Inlay had never been tried on silver earlier, making the pieces more unique. Our artisans have borrowed the techniques from the Mughal era, which mainly happened on emeralds or margaz and delivered them on silver,” says Riteek. The goal was to create pieces that will be heirloom and be a piece of modern art as well. The fish motif, which is one of the highlights of the collection, is one such blend. “The fish represents an old-world charm, is a symbol of positive qualities related to courage, and overcoming adversity. It also represents abundance and wealth,” explains Abhineet.
Tips to buy quality kundan pieces
The first rule, says Abhineet, is that the piece should neither be too bulky nor too heavy. “Closely check the enamel work and stone setting, specifically the corners, to ensure that they are spotless."
"And the most important part, the artisans. Any good brand will have proper Bikaneri karigars for their work. If not, then it's not authentic. One should only invest in pieces made by the master craftsmen who can put them together to stand the test of time,” believes Abhineet.