Former Miss India-turned jewellery designer Queennie Dhody has unveiled 'Jewels by Queenie', her high-end collection of precious art deco jewellery in the capital.
Dhody, the owner of a niche Mumbai store named after her jewellery range (Jewels by Queenie), has tied up with Notandas jewellers in the capital to retail her collection. As part of the deal, she will also offer tips to buyers on how to team up her jewellery with clothes and will put them in touch with fashion designers to purchase matching clothes.
Dhody, also a prominent socialite and a fashion writer, will now spend her time between Mumbai and the capital, where she will offer fashion consultancy services by appointment.
'Jewels by Queenie' is a mix of contemporary art deco and antique jewellery, which are large and opulent. The bulk of her collection - nearly 100 earrings, pendants, finger rings, necklaces and bracelets - has been crafted with diamonds, both cut and uncut (polki), emeralds, rubies and icy sapphires (peridots) set in 18 carat white and yellow gold.
A pair of intricately-crafted unfurled rose earrings and a matching finger ring in beaten gold and petals of clustered diamonds stood out for their craftsmanship. "White and yellow 18 carat gold is in. Diamonds look good in beaten yellow gold, which is smart and trendy," Dhody said. "Moreover, it is easier to 'pressure-set' (a technique) stones on 18 carat gold than on 24 carat gold," the designer said.
Dhody has been designing jewellery since 1988-89 though she started designing professionally six years ago. "I took a few courses. The commercial initiative was just an extension of my passion for designing my own jewellery. The first jewellery that I designed for myself was a set of plain gold bangles without any patterns. I was also the first contemporary designer to use 'polki' or uncut diamonds for earrings before any of my peers thought of it," the glamorous mother of two said, while showing off a bracelet.
It was a wide 2.5 inch handcuff bracelet in beaten yellow gold with a vertical clasp of sand grain diamonds. "I have designed the bracelet myself. In Mumbai, some of the bracelets that I sell are as wide as 3.5 inches," Dhody said.
The fashionista, clad in a short pink dress with a ruffled sash, teamed the bracelet with diamond danglers. "I do not believe in clutter," she said. The three trends in jewellery fashion this season, Dhody said, were "timelessness, bling and style".
"The fashion pundits are predicting that the jewellery trend for the spring of 2010 should be timeless - exquisite pieces that can be passed down the generations and I agree. Big, bling and noticeable jewellery is in, along with translucent shimmering stones. Last year, women opted for glittering opaque stones. The designs this season are more earthy and glamorous," Dhody said. "However, rubies, diamonds and emeralds will be in fashion forever," she added.
The bottom line in jewellery business is diversity in terms of prices, the designer said. The prices of Dhody's collection ranges between Rs.100,000 and Rs.10 million. "There is something for everyone," she said.
Dhody has been influenced by antique Mughal jewellery and European art deco in her collection. "I have used uncut stones in bigger settings like the traditional Mughal designs and smaller stones for western art deco pieces," she said.
Gold is the metal of her choice. "Despite the shooting prices of gold, Indians still buy gold and I cannot imagine emerald and rubies set in silver," Dhody said.
When asked what is the jewellery she treasures the most, Dhody said: "It is memory - a diamond pendant that my father gave me; and I lost it."