A Chitchat with Asha Kamal Modi (India’s Jewelry Designer to the Stars)

Are you a jewelry addict, and always on the lookout for something timelessly unique? If you’re nodding in unison, I suggest you drop whatever you have planned out this weekend and spend a good couple of hours or so at Numaish Exhibition’s Art Karat by Asha Kamal Modi. 

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This special exhibition will be held at Taj Dubai this Friday and Saturday, and is especially a must for new brides to be as they are offering free bridal consultations. And you might even bump into Asha Kamal Modi herself!

Asha Kamal Modi launched her line in 1988, a time when the concept of designer jewelry was unheard of in India. Despite the drawbacks, Asha carved a niche for herself as one of the most recognized jewelry designers of India. She draws her inspirations from the basic elements of nature together with the rich Indian heritage, studying its changing moods and traditions. Each of her designs is different in style, mood and craftsmanship, made to perfection by some of India’s finest artisans.

Asha’s creations cater to a wide canvas of both traditional and western tastes, blending majestically with whatever a woman wears. Asha has designed jewellery for more than 10 bollywood blockbusters some of which include movies like ‘Devdas’, Monsoon Wedding’, ‘Kamasutra’, ‘Zubeida’, ‘Ram-leela’ and recently released ‘Bajirao Mastani’ . It is her deep-rooted sensitivity of being a woman and her exceptional creativity, which has made her a household name among the Indian affluent.

A trained gemologist, Asha has been felicitated for her talent with the President’s award for design, the FICCI 2005 award and the prestigious Best Designer Accolade by the Gem & Jewelry Export Promotion Council, among many other accolades.

* What inspired you to become a jewelry designer?
IT WAS SHEER PASSION TOWARDS JEWELRY DESIGN. I HAVE NO FORMAL TRAINING IN JEWELRY DESIGN. EVERYTHING I HAVE LEARNT AND EVERYTHING I KNOW BECAUSE OF MY LOVE FOR JEWELRY.
*Please tell us more about the Navratna collection, why does this particular style of Indian jewellery fascinate you?
NAVRATNA OR THE NINE GEM STONES IS ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CONCEPTS IN JEWELRY DESIGN. EVERY YEAR I COME UP WITH A NEW CONCEPT AND THIS TIME WE DECIDED TO RECREATE THE NAVRATNA JEWELRY. EVERY DESIGNER HAS A TAKE ON A PARTICULAR CONCEPT AND YOU WILL BE AMAZED TO SEE WHAT I HAVE DONE WITH IT.
*what is your own unique take on this style?
MY TAKE ON NAVRATNA IS MIXING VARIOUS WORKMANSHIPS SUCH AS KUNDAN, TEMPLE AND TRIBAL ART CENTERED AROUND THE NAVRATNA GEM STONES. IT IS A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WAY OF DOING NAVRATNA JEWELRY. I HAVE MIXED SO MANY ELEMENTS IN EACH JEWELRY DESIGN THAT IT LOOKS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT AND UNIQUE.
*You have been designing jewelry since 1988! How has your style evolved?
FASHIONS CHANGE BUT I HAVE STUCK TO WHAT ART KARAT DOES BEST AND THAT IS CLASSIC INDIAN JEWELLERY.  WE HAVE EVOLVED A LOT AS FAR AS THE COMPANY GOES BUT I HAVE ALWAYS STUCK TO MY ROOTS WHERE I WANTED TO CREATE FABULOUS PIECES OF JEWELRY THATS CLASSIC AND ALWAYS IN STYLE.
*Your creations have been seen in very noted Bollywood releases! Please tell us how these creations came about.
I HAVE DESIGNED JEWELRY FOR MORE THAN 10 BOLLYWOOD BLOCK BUSTERS INCLUDING DEVDAS, MONSOON WEDDING, JODHA AKBAR, RAMLEELA AND MOST RECENTLY BAJIRAO MASTANI. ALL THE PROJECTS CAME TO ME BECAUSE ART KARAT IS KNOWN FOR ITS CLASSIC KUNDAN JEWELRY AND ALMOST ALL OF THE FILMS ARE PERIOD FILMS WHICH RESONATE WELL WITH OUR SENSIBILITIES.
*Which celebrities have been seen wearing your creations off screen?
I HAVE LOST COUNT :))) ALMOST ALL OF THEM BUT SOME OF MY BEST PIECES ARE WITH REKHA AND AISHWARYA
*Of all the pieces you have designed, what is your absolute favorite so far and why?
THEIR IS NO PARTICULAR ONE AS SUCH BUT ONE PIECE WHICH I ALWAYS REMEMBER IS A GOPURAM NECKLACE WHICH I CREATED WHEN I JUST STARTED. I WILL ALWAYS CHERISH IT.
* What did you wear for your own wedding?
WHEN I GOT MARRIED I HADNT DESIGNED ANYTHING, IT WAS TRADITIONAL JEWELRY WHICH I STILL HAVE IN MY LOCKERS AND HAVENT SEEN IT FOR YEARS.
*What pieces of jewelry would you recommend for a traditional Indian bridal trousseau?
EVERY BRIDE IS DIFFERENT. ART KARAT CREATES A GORGEOUS RANGE OF BRIDAL JEWELRY RIGHT FROM MAANGPATTIS, TO NECKLACES TO PATRIHAARS & PAYALS.
* What can we expect to see at the Art Karat exhibition?
YOU WILL SEE SOME OF THE MOST VIBRANT COLLECTIONS I HAVE CREATED. WITH ORE THAN 1500 PIECES ON DISPLAY IT WILL BE A VISUAL DELIGHT FOR EVERY ONE TO SEE.
* What do you have in store for 2017?
WE ARE IN THE PROCESS OF OPENING A LOT OF STORES. EXPANDING OUR ONLINE VENTURE AND COME OUT WITH 2 FABULOUS NEW COLLECTIONS.
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