CRE­ATIVE CHARISMA...

Adorn - - PUBLISHER’S NOTE - By Shanoo Bi­jlani

The Artis­tic Ex­pres­sions of Rid­dhi Doshi

A strong in-built de­sign sense com­bined with a lin­eage of Palan­puri com­mu­nity di­a­mond deal­ers proved to be for­tu­itous for

Rid­dhi Doshi, a Mum­bai-based jew­ellery de­signer, who has been stead­fastly mak­ing a name for her­self in the be­spoke jew­ellery seg­ment. Blessed with an af­fa­ble de­meanour, Rid­dhi loves her pro­fes­sion as much as she loves to look af­ter her hus­band and her two young chil­dren. A jew­ellery de­signer par ex­cel­lence, Rid­dhi also de­votes time to scuba-div­ing, danc­ing, and trav­el­ling.

Her be­jew­elled, di­a­mond-stud­ded cre­ations blend the magic of quintessen­tially vin­tage style and mod­ern-day glam­our.

Each in­di­vid­ual, she be­lieves, is unique and so, she cre­ates a spe­cial piece for ev­ery spe­cial client.

The se­cret of her suc­cess in run­ning an epony­mous jew­ellery brand since the last ten years lies in hard work, pas­sion to­wards her craft, nur­tur­ing clients and cre­at­ing time­less works of art that they can cher­ish for life.

When I reached ace jew­ellery de­signer Rid­dhi Doshi’s plush of­fice-cum-res­i­dence at her Ne­pean Sea Road apart­ment in Mum­bai, I was told that Rid­dhi was just wrap­ping up her kathak dance class with her pri­vate tu­tor.

I was ush­ered into a taste­fully done up of­fice that was bathed in grey over­tones – the richly up­hol­stered so­fas, a large grey desk, a glass cup­board for show­cas­ing jew­ellery, and a side wall adorned with posters of mod­els wear­ing her jew­ellery. (I learnt later that the in­te­ri­ors were de­signed by her.)

Five min­utes later, Rid­dhi en­tered the room, greeted me warmly and we set­tled down for the in­ter­view without any fur­ther de­lay. Con­vers­ing with her felt like we had known each other for many years – her de­meanour is friendly and she in­stantly makes you feel com­fort­able. For a de­signer who spe­cialises in the be­spoke genre, it’s a pre­req­ui­site char­ac­ter­is­tic.

A multi-tasker, Rid­dhi bal­ances the act of be­ing a hands-on par­ent and a jew­ellery de­signer. She also squeezes in time for learn­ing var­i­ous forms of dance, trav­el­ling and scuba-div­ing.

“We are Palan­puris and di­a­monds are in our blood. My grand­dad was a di­a­mond mer­chant and so were my un­cles.”

Just as she is fiercely pro­tec­tive of her two chil­dren, Saira and Nir­vaan, she is equally vig­i­lant about the crafts­man­ship and qual­ity of her jew­ellery.

Dis­play­ing a re­mark­able equa­nim­ity in a world full of com­pet­i­tive­ness, Rid­dhi chooses to work at her own pace, with her dic­tates. She is her own master, and doesn’t be­lieve in the rat race.

“We are Palan­puris and di­a­monds are in our blood. My grand­dad was a di­a­mond mer­chant and so were my un­cles,” says Rid­dhi. The love for di­a­monds was nat­u­rally ac­quired, but the early signs of her artis­tic abil­i­ties showed up dur­ing her child­hood. She was good at sketch­ing and reg­u­larly took part in school art pro­grammes. “Even to­day, sketch­ing gets me into a med­i­ta­tive mode,” she re­veals. “I am good with my hands.”

So tran­si­tion­ing into the world of jew­ellery was a nat­u­ral one for Rid­dhi. The can­vas or the ma­te­rial she would work with was al­ready there, but her cre­ative bent of mind helped her eas­ily make the choice. “The fact that one can cre­ate some­thing so beau­ti­ful out of di­a­monds ex­cited me,” she ex­claims.

Af­ter her grad­u­a­tion in jew­ellery de­sign­ing from SNDT, Juhu, Mum­bai, Rid­dhi worked with Tanishq in Ben­galuru, and the three years she spent there were re­ward­ing. “The then CEO Ja­cob Kurien was the best men­tor one could have. He helped me un­leash my cre­ativ­ity,” she re­mem­bers.

Next, Rid­dhi joined Dimexon Eu­rostar Jew­elry, a high-end di­a­mond jew­ellery man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany, in Mum­bai. This stint gave her a more hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence as she dealt with var­i­ous as­pects of jew­ellery mak­ing – from con­cep­tu­al­is­ing to man­u­fac­tur­ing, qual­ity con­trol and more.

In 2004, she quit her job to be full-time with her mother, who was di­ag­nosed with can­cer. The year went by, and it was here that she met her fu­ture hus­band, an in­vest­ment banker who worked in Wall Street. They mar­ried af­ter six months of courtship and moved to New York. Rid­dhi, who loves to fol­low fash­ion, en­rolled her­self for a short course in Fash­ion In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, NY.

A year later, the two were back in Mum­bai. Rid­dhi joined Per­cept, an event man­age­ment com­pany. “I had the abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate and or­gan­ise, and while there it was a great ex­pe­ri­ence to be as­so­ci­ated with the Sun­burn fes­ti­val. But I re­alised early on that I was not cut out for the job.” Soon, a wed­ding in the fam­ily led her to de­sign jew­ellery for the bride. Her mother-in-law en­cour­aged her to go ahead. Rid­dhi’s de­signs were an in­stant hit and that is when she de­cided to start her own brand.

It has been a sat­is­fy­ing ten-year-long jour­ney for Rid­dhi, who has carved a niche for her­self as a be­spoke de­signer. For her, it is sacro­sanct to be un­like any other de­signer. “Each piece of jew­ellery has to be dif­fer­ent be­cause ul­ti­mately, it has to speak to you... you have to own that piece.”

Never one to par­tic­i­pate in jew­ellery ex­hi­bi­tions, Rid­dhi be­lieves in hold­ing solo shows. “I don’t want to be lost in the crowd. This is me – sub­tle yet im­pact­ful.”

Never one to par­tic­i­pate in jew­ellery ex­hi­bi­tions, Rid­dhi be­lieves in hold­ing solo shows. “I don’t want to be lost in the crowd. This is me – sub­tle yet im­pact­ful.”

Not one to fol­low norms, her jew­ellery is atyp­i­cal, al­most al­ways set with di­a­monds (most of them sourced from her younger brother, who is an in­te­gral part of the di­a­mond in­dus­try in Hong Kong), while emer­alds and pearls are used as ac­cents. Her pieces blend vin­tage and mod­ern el­e­ments, and are pat­terned with pear, cush­ion, mar­quise, oval, emer­ald and rose­cut di­a­monds. “I find it ex­cit­ing to put the shapes to­gether.”

Rid­dhi is strong on client ser­vic­ing and be­lieves in one-onone in­ter­ac­tions – a trait that has worked in her favour as a be­spoke de­signer. “I love in­ter­act­ing with clients. As a de­signer, you have to look for sto­ries, and in­stil con­fi­dence in your clients to trust your de­sign in­stincts. I usu­ally sit with them for sev­eral ses­sions and de­sign jew­ellery based on their ideas or out­fits. I also ob­serve the cus­tomer’s body lan­guage, how she moves her hands, her neck, and the shape of her face,” she says.

Since com­mis­sioned jew­ellery takes time, many clients come to her in ad­vance. Rid­dhi re­calls an in­stance of a client who got in touch with her for bridal jew­ellery even be­fore she could find a groom for her­self.

“This client came to me de­ter­mined that she would get mar­ried in a year’s time, and she com­mis­sioned me to de­sign di­a­mond suites for the wed­ding, cock­tail and other func­tions even be­fore she could find a part­ner. I would have ses­sions with her till mid­night to get to know her re­quire­ments and taste. She

did get mar­ried within the time pe­riod she had given her­self. She was a happy bride, who was al­ready or­gan­ised with her ac­ces­sories,” Rid­dhi smiles.

Rid­dhi likes her cus­tomers to come to her with a vi­sion or an idea. “I like to lis­ten to client’s per­spec­tive and then all I do is clean up the rough edges to cre­ate a wow fac­tor.”

Rid­dhi be­lieves that style has to be in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic; style is also all about com­fort and con­fi­dence. “Jew­ellery is an in­ti­mate piece of art and the en­tire process from start to fin­ish is im­por­tant for me. I have to know how of­ten the client is go­ing to wear the piece; is it just oc­ca­sion-based or is she go­ing to wear it daily? Ac­cord­ingly, pric­ing be­comes rel­e­vant. It is a bal­anc­ing act where price points, too, play an im­por­tant role.”

Rid­dhi is fa­mous for mak­ing mod­u­lar jew­ellery as she thinks that no woman should keep jewels in the safe. Jewels are meant to be worn, not to be hid­den. Cur­rently, she is im­mersed in de­sign­ing mul­ti­ple be­spoke suites for an im­por­tant client, a close rel­a­tive of the mega busi­ness fam­ily, which is busy pre­par­ing for the up­com­ing wed­ding of its scion.

Speak­ing about trend direc­tions, Rid­dhi no­tices that young­sters to­day like fun jew­ellery – play­ful, light­weight and not over the top. Per­son­ally, though, Rid­dhi likes jew­ellery that makes a state­ment.

“Jew­ellery is an in­ti­mate piece of art and the en­tire process from start to fin­ish is im­por­tant for me.”

How would she de­scribe suc­cess? “Jew­ellery is all about word of mouth. I don’t think peo­ple just go out and buy jew­ellery from any­where. Ev­ery piece has its own story – the client’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion, my take, the crafts in­volved, the gems set in, the sen­ti­ments be­hind the piece, the oc­ca­sion for which it is be­ing made. I am in no hurry to gain recog­ni­tion. I don’t ex­port my jew­ellery. I am in a space where I love do­ing what I do.”

Any plans for the fu­ture? “I have two young chil­dren and I don’t want to spend time away from them. When the kids get a lit­tle older and be­come in­de­pen­dent, I will get into a big­ger space, and per­haps have a bou­tique of my own.”

Rid­dhi has a holis­tic ap­proach to arts. She loves dance and has ex­plored sev­eral forms – from kathak to salsa. Dance is one of the best ways of ex­press­ing one­self, she be­lieves. She loves vis­it­ing the fash­ion cap­i­tals of the world be­cause she feels ev­ery per­son should be well turned out and pre­sentable. Re­luc­tant at first, she nev­er­the­less en­rolled for scuba-div­ing ses­sions at the in­sis­tence of her hus­band, but to­day when­ever she needs to es­cape from the clut­ter and chaos of the world, she goes into the depths of the ocean to re­ju­ve­nate her­self. Go­ing on sa­faris, trav­el­ling and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dif­fer­ent cul­tures are among her other hob­bies. “I be­lieve en­rich­ing your­self builds your cre­ativ­ity,” she signs off.

1A stun­ning choker set with fancy-cut di­a­monds.2Stylised flo­ral neck­lace set with sparkling di­a­monds.3A state­ment di­a­mond-set bracelet.4A pair of di­a­mond-set ban­gles. 3

4

5 A white gold or­ganic di­a­mond flo­ral brooch with a6hint of ru­bies. White gold ban­gle with flo­ral finials set with emer­alds. 5

6

13A me­lange of fancy-cut di­a­monds adorn this broad white gold bracelet.

12 C-shape, stylised white gold ear­rings com­posed with di­a­monds.

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