Payal Shah

Hong Kong Tatler - - Trends -

Since the age of 21, Payal Shah has re­ceived nu­mer­ous Young En­tre­pre­neur of the Year awards in recog­ni­tion of her jew­ellery brand, L’dezen. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Shah grew up at­tend­ing many of Hong Kong’s jew­ellery fairs be­cause of her fa­ther, who supplied gem­stones. But it was af­ter grad­u­at­ing with a de­gree in ar­chi­tec­ture from Lon­don’s Univer­sity of Westminster that she found her call­ing. “I went back to Hong Kong and spent a year at a hos­pi­tal­ity de­sign firm, de­sign­ing fur­ni­ture for Mar­riott Ho­tels and the Taj Ma­hal in In­dia,” she says.

The move to jew­ellery was ac­ci­den­tal, as one evening Shah hap­pened upon her fa­ther ex­am­in­ing rose-cut sliced di­a­monds, which is what she pri­mar­ily uses in her de­signs to­day. “I liked the look of them be­cause they didn’t look like the typ­i­cal di­a­monds in jew­ellery— more like the rough,” Shah re­calls. Her in­ter­est drove her to de­sign a few pieces. “My dad was more than happy to let me play around and had one of his clients pro­duce my de­signs.”

Af­ter six months, Shah had a col­lec­tion of about 40 pieces. She de­cided to take them to famed re­tail jew­ellery show JCK Las Ve­gas. “The re­sponse was out­ra­geous. Peo­ple had never seen jew­ellery like mine be­fore, and they wanted to buy and wear them.”

Shah took her ini­tial suc­cess and ran with it, quit­ting her job and start­ing up her own busi­ness in 2011. L’dezen, which means “The De­sign,” is fo­cused on cre­at­ing one-of-a kind pieces where rose­cut sliced di­a­monds are the stars of the show. “A lot of my pieces are a re­flec­tion of my up­bring­ing and Eastern cul­ture— with mo­tifs like drag­on­flies and flow­ers found only in Asia. Each piece is unique, and takes up to three months to make.”

Shah has since ex­panded her busi­ness to the US, Mexico, Tur­key and Rus­sia, with her de­signs worn by celebri­ties in­clud­ing Lady Gaga, Sharon Os­bourne and Tay­lor Swift. “My in­ten­tion in cre­at­ing one-of-a-kind jewels is that they find their way to the spe­cial in­di­vid­ual who is meant to pos­sess them,” Shah says. “When this hap­pens, I feel I’ve cre­ated a con­nec­tion be­tween the wearer and my­self, whether or not we ever have the plea­sure of meet­ing.”

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