Ar­chana Paras­ram­puria: The Ac­ci­den­tal De­signer

AR­CHANA PARAS­RAM­PURIA is well known in the world of jew­ellery de­sign­ing as she reg­u­larly de­lights her clients by pre­sent­ing her clas­sic- meets- mod­ern col­lec­tions. But the road to her flour­ish­ing ca­reer wasn’t pre- planned. Caro­line Cho­r­at­til finds out.

Solitaire - - CONTENTS -

De­sign Cor­ner

Mum­bai-based Ar­chana Paras­ram­puria had al­ways loved sports since the age of five, and ta­ble ten­nis was her first child­hood pas­sion. How­ever, her con­ven­tional back­ground did not al­low her to pur­sue it and in­stead she had to fo­cus on her stud­ies.

When she got mar­ried and moved from Bareilly to Mum­bai, it was her mother-in-law who dis­cov­ered Ar­chana’s pen­chant for de­sign and en­cour­aged her to en­rol into a pro­fes­sional de­sign course to fur­ther sharpen her skills and em­bark on this jour­ney of cre­ative ful­fil­ment. Ar­chana says, “I was ex­tremely for­tu­nate to have a woman like her who sup­ported my de­sire and pas­sion to learn de­sign­ing.”

Shift­ing base to Mum­bai was also an eye-opener for her. She notes, “It broad­ened my mind­set and in­spired me to try my hand at a cou­ple of dif­fer­ent things.”

A jew­ellery de­sign course at St. Xavier’s col­lege en­cour­aged the de­signer to be more ar­tic­u­late, and put down her ideas on pa­per in an ef­fi­cient man­ner. Soon after, she was re­pair­ing and re­pur­pos­ing vin­tage jew­ellery for friends and fam­ily. All that changed when a friend re­quested her to de­sign a pair of ear­rings. Ar­chana adds, “The friend was so im­pressed with the sketch that she asked me to man­u­fac­ture them for her.” The en­cour­age­ment boosted the de­signer’s morale and en­cour­aged her to take on more or­ders. “My sin­gle-minded fo­cus on pro­vid­ing great de­sign and great qual­ity got me cus­tomer after cus­tomer. This led to the birth of the la­bel, Ar­chana Paras­ram­puria.”

A mother of two, Ar­chana found jug­gling work, home and bring­ing up her sons a challenging task. She re­veals, “I was un­able to pri­ori­tise and fo­cus on de­sign­ing. That’s when my mother-in-law stepped in and helped me take care of my

chil­dren while I was at work. But the sec­ond most prob­lem was that I was a woman in a com­pletely male-dom­i­nated in­dus­try and no one took me se­ri­ously. At first, it was dis­heart­en­ing, but I de­cided to take the chal­lenge in my stride, and here I am – still around and thriv­ing 25 years later.”

For Ar­chana, de­sign­ing brings about a feel­ing of em­pow­er­ment. “Pen­ning down my ideas and bring­ing about flu­id­ity, style and bal­ance in my jew­ellery is ex­tremely sat­is­fy­ing. I also take pride in the trust that my cus­tomers dis­play in me and my work,” she states, adding, “It is this very faith in the la­bel, Ar­chana Paras­ram­puria that con­stantly pushes me to in­no­vate and cre­ate state­ment pieces.”

The pas­sion­ate de­signer, who be­lieves in qual­ity over quan­tity, cre­ates around 150 unique pieces ev­ery year. Her chief sources of in­spi­ra­tion are her love for flow­ers, her trav­els and heir­loom jew­ellery. She says, “As a de­signer, I be­lieve orig­i­nal­ity is the key as­pect of my work, and I will never stop in­no­vat­ing. An­other im­por­tant as­pect is to un­der­stand the client and her re­quire­ments. Once we do that, we are able to marry our de­sign sen­si­bil­ity along with her vi­sion to cre­ate some­thing spec­tac­u­lar.” For Ar­chana, cre­ativ­ity and style go hand in hand with com­fort.

“Pen­ning down my ideas and bring­ing about flu­id­ity, style and bal­ance in my jew­ellery is ex­tremely sat­is­fy­ing.”

“Each piece that we de­sign must be com­fort­able to wear.”

This very ded­i­ca­tion and fo­cus in her ca­reer has led Ar­chana to where she is to­day. For in­stance, about twelve years ago, a client asked her to de­sign jew­ellery for her daugh­ter’s wed­ding. Al­though Ar­chana had de­signed bridal jew­ellery ear­lier, be­ing the of­fi­cial jew­ellery de­signer for the en­tire fam­ily was a mam­moth task. She dis­closes, “I re­mem­ber be­ing ex­cited and ap­pre­hen­sive at the same time. The ac­claim that I re­ceived be­cause of that as­sign­ment made me re­alise that I was des­tined for even big­ger things.”

That said, Ar­chana’s jew­ellery starts from as low as R10,000 for the lighter pieces and gift­ing range. “With jew­ellery, there is no up­per limit, but for our ex­clu­sive sets, we have worked up to prices of 9 digit fig­ures.”

As for trends, Ar­chana ob­serves that there is a new wave of pref­er­ence for larger di­a­monds over jadau and polki as it is a bet­ter in­vest­ment. “I’m talk­ing about one carat and above sizes; also the use of 10, 20 and 30 point­ers along with emer­alds have been do­ing ex­tremely well. Clients do opt for jadau and polki, but in the form of maang tikas, ear­rings and rings,” she con­cludes.

Baguette di­a­monds and baby South Sea pearl ear­rings

Ru­bies and South Sea pearl un­cut di­a­mond bracelet. Di­a­mond and emer­ald ear­rings with South Sea pearls. Spinel di­a­mond ear­rings with South Sea pearls. Di­a­mond and ruby bracelet with South Sea pearls.

Co­ral sher­wani but­tons.

Di­a­mond, ruby and South Sea pearl neck­lace. Burmese ruby and un­cut di­a­mond choker. Di­a­mond and emer­ald bracelet.

Nee­dle bracelet cum choker set with VVS di­a­monds.

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