Adorn - - CONTENTS - By Shanoo Bi­jlani

Coomi Bhasin’s Jew­ellery From The Heart

Coomi Bhasin is a woman who has ev­i­dently suc­cumbed to the charm of gold. The In­dia-born and now US-based de­signer loves the metal for its pu­rity, and finds a spir­i­tual con­nec­tion to it. Her jew­ellery is laden with sym­bol­ism and she tells sto­ries of na­ture, his­tory and peo­ple through gold by high­light­ing its tex­ture and lend­ing it a cu­ri­ous char­ac­ter. Her ul­tra-del­i­cate but su­per­strong and rugged forms are strik­ing and leave a last­ing im­pres­sion on the wearer. A his­tory grad­u­ate, Coomi also trained as a tex­tile de­signer, but be­gan mak­ing one-off cus­tomised pieces on re­quest while in her teens. Grad­u­ally, she plunged full-time into cre­at­ing gold col­lec­tions un­der her epony­mous brand.

To say that cre­ativ­ity runs in her veins would be an un­der­state­ment. When Coomi moved with her hus­band, a com­mer­cial builder, to the US, she also un­der­took a de­gree in con­struc­tion man­age­ment, and later picked up as­sign­ments as an ar­chi­tect and land­scape de­signer. Her jew­ellery is there­fore a merger of many influences and the forms that emerge from her work­bench are fluid and tex­tured with a back­drop of a vi­brant, nat­u­ral land­scape en­hanced by gem­stones, rose-cut or bril­liant-cut di­a­monds. The de­signer, whose motto is to live in the present, con­nects the present gen­er­a­tion to the an­cient world through her hand­crafted art.

‘Your body is a tem­ple, and it’s the best place to show off art.’

You are a woman who has played many roles, in­clud­ing that of a tex­tile and land­scape de­signer. How did you get into the field of de­sign­ing jew­ellery?

My ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion was in tex­tile de­sign, and I did my the­sis in jew­ellery de­sign. Jew­ellery was my first love and will al­ways re­main so. De­sign­ing or­na­ments makes me happy.

Ev­ery­thing I cre­ate has my unique style and sig­na­ture to it, and I think that adds to the rar­ity of my col­lec­tions. I do not hold my jew­ellery up to stan­dards set by what is trend­ing or what other de­sign­ers are do­ing.

Af­ter com­plet­ing BA in Art His­tory, how did you land up do­ing tex­tile de­sign­ing? When did you start cre­at­ing jew­ellery for pri­vate clients?

My fa­ther was in the tex­tile busi­ness, and be­lieve me, it is the hard­est thing to de­sign tex­tiles, since it draws from ev­ery imag­in­able field. I was drawn to it be­cause it’s al­ways been around me. How­ever, I be­gan cre­at­ing jew­ellery with beads for fam­ily and friends when I was barely 15 years of age.

You started your sig­na­ture la­bel in 2002. How do you cre­ate jew­ellery – do you put your thoughts on pa­per first?

I carry my sketch­book with me ev­ery­where I go. I could be

walk­ing down the street when in­spi­ra­tion could come to me in many forms. It could draw from a stranger’s smile or ges­tures, too. Ev­ery­thing in­spires me.

Were you good at de­sign­ing since childhood, or did you pick up the art later?

De­sign­ing is a part of who I am. I was also good at ar­rang­ing fur­ni­ture. When I was a young girl, my mother was ner­vous to take me any­where. I would re­ar­range en­tire rooms into a whole new space.

Do you weave sto­ries into your jew­ellery or are they based on ab­stract thoughts? Since you are a his­tory grad­u­ate, are your de­signs in­flu­enced by an­cient civ­i­liza­tions and cul­tures?

It is a bit of both. Some pieces are based on ab­stract thoughts, and some of my de­signs tell sto­ries. An­cient civ­i­liza­tion is a part of ev­ery­one’s his­tory, and I like to con­nect our present world with the world of the past through my jew­ellery.

How would you de­fine your jew­ellery?

I ba­si­cally draw on hu­man sur­vival. My jew­ellery speaks to our ge­netic map print—women and men can re­late to it. The same piece can be worn dur­ing the day paired with jeans, and it can be worn with a cock­tail dress at night. I do not fol­low trends or what other de­sign­ers and brands are do­ing, I cre­ate from my heart. There is spir­i­tu­al­ity in the thought process which guides me. My jew­ellery is a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of what­ever makes me happy.

You work won­ders with gold. Do you have a strong

affin­ity to­wards the metal? Or do you also work with other pre­cious met­als?

Grow­ing up in the east, I do have a strong affin­ity to­wards gold. The yel­low metal is pure and life-in­fus­ing. I also work with sil­ver, which is con­sid­ered aus­pi­cious in In­dia, and be­stows good health upon its wearer.

What is the pro­file of your reg­u­lar cus­tomer? How many bou­tiques do you have across the globe?

My jew­ellery is worn by a well-trav­elled, fun-lov­ing in­di­vid­ual who isn’t afraid to be her­self. Right now, we are con­cen­trated only in the US.

What hob­bies do you pur­sue?

I have cer­tain de-stress­ing rit­u­als that in­clude cook­ing, gar­den­ing, and lots of laugh­ing. Since my jew­ellery comes

from what­ever makes me happy, I do what I love the most.

What are your best-sell­ing jew­ellery pieces?

I would say long neck­laces, be­cause they are very ver­sa­tile. You can wear the chain, add a pen­dant or charms, or dou­ble the strand.

What are the coloured gem­stones you pre­fer to work with?

I’m par­tial to any­thing bright and sparkly, but ru­bies are my favourite gem­stones.

What is your phi­los­o­phy about de­sign­ing?

My phi­los­o­phy is to keep a sa­cred bal­ance and flow that can al­ways make you smile.

Ar­row­head ear pen­dants mounted in 20-karat gold fea­tur­ing snakes dressed up in rose­cut di­a­monds. A twisted coral neck­lace punc­tu­ated with gold beads.

Oval white onyx ear­rings framed in 20-karat gold with di­a­mond de­tail­ing.

Multi-coloured opal pen­dant mounted in 20-karat gold and ac­cented with rose-cuts.

A 20-karat open cuff set with rose-cut di­a­monds.

A 20-karat gold flower ring gar­nished with rose-cut di­a­monds.

20-karat ar­row­head agate pen­dant with a tusk stud­ded with rose-cut di­a­monds. A 20-karat ring topped with an oval carved blue sap­phire fringed with rose-cut drops. A rock crys­tal druzy pen­dant en­gulfed with a 20-karat sun­burst filled with rose-cuts.

A 20-karat ar­row­head chord bracelet set with agate and rose-cuts.

A rough square lapis en­cased in a 20-karat frame and ac­cen­tu­ated with rose-cuts.

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