The jewel in the crown: jewellery designer Ananya on investment gems and Meghan Markle's diamonds
Luxury jewellery designer Ananya talks Tempus through her new collection and reveals the secrets behind her inspiration
When it comes to pieces worth investing in, you can’t beat fine jewellery. And someone who’s an expert in this field is luxury jewellery designer Ananya. Meeting at her home in London, we picked her creative brains for a peek inside her world. From eye-catching emerald rings to bespoke diamond necklaces, her beautiful designs take inspiration from her Indian heritage and adoration for gemstones. Her new collections ‘Lotus Samsara’ and ‘Celestial Lotus’ are inspired by the Lotus flower, associated with rebirth and purity in the religions of Buddhism and Hinduism.
“My grandmother has always grown lotus flowers around the house. You find it in really muddy water and every morning it grows fresh, beautiful and untouched. It’s always been an important flower in Indian traditions as it portrays such a powerful thing, and this is why it appeals to me. The Celestial Lotus collection is the interpretation of the lotus as it moves through one chakra to another, and Lotus Samsara explores the journey of discovery through life.”
Pretty pops of colour are prevalent throughout both lines, and it’s this element that makes the jewellery so unique. Further to her curated collections, Ananya also offers a bespoke service enabling clients to take home a piece completely tailored to them.
What’s the most memorable bespoke piece you’ve ever been requested to create?
“I’m currently designing a wedding ring with a black diamond as the bride doesn't want the traditional white one. When I’ve created wedding bands, I’ve put a ruby on the inside so only the wearer knows it’s in there. Both the man and the woman can have a personal stone nobody else knows about that’s connecting to their heart chakras. It’s something I want to do more of. Sourcing your gemstones is so important, and you have a certain responsibility while delivering a piece to make sure you’re not hurting anyone or anything in the process - I think that’s very important. Being aware of where they come from, and maintaining a certain level of ethics. The jewellery industry is all about trust and as a jeweller you have no excuse not to be ethical about it.” >>
Born into a family rooted within the fashion industry, what made you want to design jewellery rather than clothes?
“Jewellery has always been a strong part of our culture in India - every big occasion is celebrated with a different piece. When a child is born they wear protective bracelets with black and gold beads, and when someone gets married you’re gifted a set of bangles. I did my gemmology degree at the GIA and started looking at gemstones in a different way realising they’re a lot more powerful. I learnt a lot about the techniques discovering all these stones I never had access to before. It feels right doing it.”
You've designed the women's jewellery brooch for celebrated women scientists and Nobel Prize winners - with this year having a major impact on women's rights, do you think this will have an effect on the future of jewellery design?
“I think the way people buy jewellery is very different now; it used to just be a gift from a partner, but I have a lot of women buying it for themselves now because they can afford it and have the power to, and I love that.”
You’ve talked about jewellery being a form of expression, how can we use it to really make a statement?
“If you wear a pair of striking earrings, you’re already making a statement by with that piece on its own - pair it with a really simple dress and there you go. I’ve seen a few people wearing big earrings with jeans and a t-shirt and it looks so cool, the styling rules have changed and you just have to embrace it.” >>
I have to ask: what did you think of Megan Markle’s engagement ring?
“It’s a beautiful ring. I loved the thought that went into it, the way it was designed and the way the diamonds were sourced - how it still belongs to the family. If you want to keep a wedding ring very traditional, there are ways of having a diamond ring but making it more meaningful. I love that approach.”
Which celebrity would you love to see in your designs?
I would love for Amal Clooney to wear my jewellery.
What’s your prediction for next year’s jewellery trends?
“I think spinels are the next thing because people are trying to find an alternative to rubies and these stones have been ignored for so long. They’re ruby red and you can get them in shades of pink as well, really beautiful. I don’t think rose gold is ready to leave yet, but jewellery is much less trend led than fashion is. I have a feeling white gold might make a comeback as it’s been out of the picture for so long.”
Finally, what's next for you?
“I’m doing a bridal bespoke launch in India, I have a couple of sketches based on these collections and I’m getting special stones cut so brides can really piece together what they want and create some pieces specifically for them. In India bridal wear is very different, it means occasion wear not necessarily just for the bride. The markets are very different, and I embrace both of them because what I learn from both is so different. I split my time between here, India and Miami.”