Fresh & Buoyant
Pramiti Goenka’s quest for exquisite gemstones began when she was smitten by a lush Colombian emerald at the age of 10 and since then there has been no looking back for this jeweller says Vijetha Rangabashyam
Born in a family that has been into gemstone manufacturing, the art of jewellery making is in Pramiti’s DNA. Her penchant for fine and exquisite colour stones gave birth to her brand Athvya where old and the new are seamlessly married.
Tell us a bit about yourself – where does your passion for jewellery stem from?
I come from a family that has its roots in jewellery and colour stone manufacturing in Jaipur. My interest in jewellery has been there since childhood - it started with being surrounded by gemstones and growing up travelling to international trade fairs and having jewellery related discussions at meal times! In my stint at GIA (New York), I learnt a lot about gemstones; not just about emeralds, rubies and sapphires but also the more unusual variety like Benitoite and Alexandrite. I also was privy to the different techniques that are being used in the industry. I would say that it was a holistic experience – both inside and outside of the classroom. I knew I was always going to be a jeweller. I have been fortunate to have a strong foundation and the support of my family that has guided me in this direction but my drive for jewellery designing comes from a calling that is beyond my understanding. It just excites me
Athvlya is a relatively a nascent brand – why the decision of plunging into the world of jewellery design?The beauty of colour gemstones shines through only when they are set in jewellery pieces. A stone by itself is a chapter in a good book but when set in a jewellery piece it tells the complete story! I would like to tell the story of a stone- where is comes from, how it is set, what complements it, and most of all- what memory is associated with it! Each Athvlya piece tells its own story!
How would you characterize your brand?
Simplicity combined with elegance. Athvlya is all about the confluence of classicism and modernism. It is a blend of the Sanskrit word ‘athulya’ meaning incomparable and Latin alphabets. It represents the integration of Indian heirloom concepts with modern jewellery designing and finish.
Can you tell us about your latest collection?
My latest collection - “AMMV” (pronounced as ‘ammu’) celebrates motherhood! My little son calls me ammu when he is happy. This collection is inspired from my journey as a mother. I just didn’t realize how difficult it is for a new mother to wear jewellery – especially when your baby tries to yank your necklace or earrings! The collection mainly comprises of studs or ear tops with less metal. They are light weight, have a stronger omega back and are designed so that they can be worn at home or out for lunch or dinner! As a mother, one doesn’t have to keep changing her earrings or worry that they may be pulled off.
What is the most challenging bit about designing jewellery?
Each Athvlya piece is carefully designed using natural gemstones either in 18kt gold or in 925 sterling silver. The stones are bought from various trusted vendors through international trade fairs and the manufacturing takes place in Jaipur. When I first started Athvlya, my dad would give me a box of stones and ask me to design a piece of jewellery - initially I Nature. My last collection ‘JOKVLL’ meaning glacier was inspired from my trip to Iceland! Define the style sensibility of your audience. My pieces are born out of a concept- a classic design but with a distinct touch of modernism, while being affordable. An Athvlya wearer is someone who appreciates all those three qualities in a jewellery piece. A woman who is classic at heart and playful with her style- she is contemporary and confident.
What gemstones do you love working with and why?
I love working with all coloured stones! But if I had to choose it would be Colombian emeralds! I saw my first Colombian emerald when I was about 10 years old - I think. It was at Joseph Gad Emeralds at Basel- they had their booth across my family’s booth. All day I would go and look and marvel at the colours. I remember them being nice to me and showing me some of the important stones from their collection. I guess that did it for me. It was love at first sight and I still want to collect them and work with them. A rich Colombian emerald gives you the feeling of looking at a field of fresh green grass on a warm spring day!
How do you find the balance between satiating your own creative desire whilst giving clients what they want
Athvlya designs are created with a sense of wearability. The pieces are designed such that they can be worn with Indian and Western outfits. I personally feel that an Indian woman wants her traditional jewellery but also desires jewellery that is unique, that stands out and complements her personality. My designing desire is fulfilled by my passion to create jewellery that is classic, unique, lively and wearable!
How important do you think it is for a jewellery designer to be abreast of trends?
It is very important! Every industry is changing and evolving and one must definitely keep up with the trends to stay updated. They let us know what is relevant to us and which direction we are going towards. I recently heard about MIRRAR - it allows the wearer to see themselves in different jewellery pieces without physically trying them on using Augmented Reality. I think that is pretty amazing! It makes me realise how technological changes are influencing the industry in the coming times.
What are some of the up and coming trends in jewellery?
Young women are increasingly inclined towards buying fine jewellery – they want to know more about investment stones or pieces. They want to wear jewellery that is crafted in Colombian emeralds, Burmese rubies, Ceylon sapphires and fancy diamonds. Art Deco designs are also in demand. In terms of pieces, stackable rings, hoop earrings, eternity rings and statement cuffs/ bracelets are very popular at the moment.
In your experience of travelling, which country do you find most inspiring for your line of work and why?
Traveling is my main source of inspiration! The most inspiring city for me has been Basel -rather the Basel Watch and Jewellery Fair- I look forward to it every year! It is inspiring because of the exposure to well known international jewellery brands as well as relatively newer brands. I get to stay updated with trends, get an opportunity to meet young and new designers and interact with designers who are buying stones and jewellery for their brands. It is truly an inspiration to learn from fellow women - experienced and new - about their stories and their passion.
What would your advice be to an aspiring jewellery designer who wants to make it in the luxury fashion jewellery space?
Follow your instinct, create from within and believe in yourself- don’t give into creating a luxury brand overnight; take it one step at a time. Have a true foundation and never give up on your dreams. What is your prized possession when it comes to jewellery?
A Colombian emerald necklace gifted to me by my husband on our first anniversary.