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Clean lines, sharp edges

Malini Vachani Akerkar's debut jewellery collection is an ode to classic art deco designs

Malini Akerkar.
Malini Akerkar.

In the 1920s, the dramatic flourishes and delicate curves of Art Nouveau jewellery were gradually supplanted by sharp geometric designs. The art deco movement had arrived, and it extended a structural edge to incoming styles in women’s fashion—playful flapper dresses and pixie cuts. Since then, the style has earned a timeless quality.

Malini Akerkar, an interior stylist whose projects include dressing up spaces like the Indigo Deli restaurant in New Delhi, has now turned her longstanding love for art deco into a collection of semi-precious jewellery, which launched under her label Malini Akerkar Design. Akerkar’s interest in art deco was born when her husband, restaurateur Rahul, proposed marriage around 25 years ago with a vintage ring that belonged to his German great-grandmother. “I got obsessed. I started researching it and made my first pair of ear rings about 15 years ago," she says.

Over time, Arkerkar started to create and wear more of her designs, until the constant stream of enquires eventually inspired her to launch her own collection. All pieces in her collection retain art deco’s classic white-metal template, and are crafted with semi-precious and hydro thermal gemstones set in silver and white gold alloys. “I’ve used white topaz stones that look very much like diamonds—they’re of great quality, unlike say zircons or American diamonds," says Akerkar. “There are several connoisseurs in this country who have fantastic private collections of Indian and European art deco jewellery, but if you go into a store you’ll rarely see (the style). I’ve just sort of made it accessible."

A pair of Malini Akerkar Design earrings.

The collection, which launched at the Ensemble store in Mumbai earlier this month, inspired enthusiastic trials near the well-stocked display table. The appeal of vintage pieces made from semi-precious stones, Akerkar says, stems from the rising popularity of destination jewellery. “It’s a dangerous world today and not many people want to travel with their jewellery. These are pieces that you can wear at a wedding or a cocktail party," she says.

To highlight the wearability of these pieces across generations, Akerkar chose to use her teenage daughters, mother-in-law, sister and sister-in-law as models for the collection’s campaign photographs. “I wanted to show that the collection is timeless. I can wear it just as easily as my daughters can," says Akerkar.

The collection is available at the Ensemble store in Mumbai, and will later be available at Ensemble stores in New Delhi and Hyderabad.

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