Neha Dani: Splendor of Indian jewelry!

By Nagmani
oday’s jewelry market is abuzz with amazing specimens of haute joaillerie bursting from all corners of the globe. What’s common among all of them inherently? Well, it’s not that difficult to guess. They all seem to have incredible, high quality and beautiful touches that no one can ignore. When it comes to this competitive field, India’s very young and bold jewelry designers are carving out a niche of their own. One such latest sensation to come out and turn heads with her enticingly designed jewels is the New Delhi-based fine jewelry designer Neha Dani.
Dani has always been intrigued by well-made intricate pieces of jewelry. After all, India traditionally has had many techniques of jewelry making from old cut diamonds cased in beautifully enameled gold to dye-struck and embossed temple jewelry. “I also traveled extensively as a child and was fortunate enough to experience some very beautiful pieces of jewelry in some of the most prominent museums. Thanks to my utter fascination with the designs as well as my overall curiosity towards the gemstones, I got close to the world of jewelry design and embraced it completely,” she says.

This interest promptly led her to study gemology, techniques of wax carving and jewelry designing at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). As she was determined to attain a degree of absolute perfection in it, she went on to take her knowledge about gemstones to another big level by qualifying from the Gemological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A). It’s no secret that her creations have unique flair. When asked what makes them so and how she tends to achieve it, she says, “My passion for it makes me create such tantalizing designs in the first place. I spend endless hours working and reworking my creations until it seems perfect to me. I’m always trying to exhibit that perfect balance which is responsible for bringing out the magical sheen I’m looking for in the metals and gemstones I work with.”
She draws inspiration mostly from the intricacies that one can visibly see in Indian architecture, Indian paintings and weaving of fabrics. “My designs are more contemporary in style, but with that same unequivocal detail,” she says.
Most importantly, human emotions are Dani’s very first vessel for inspiration in her real life. “I believe nature in the form of blossoming flowers, shrinking leaves, the moving clouds, flowing water, splashing of sea waves all seem to carry the same emotions that we humans often demonstrate in one form or another. This is the reason why I’m largely inspired by every form of nature and make sure to closely observe it,” she says. “It’s so enriching for my soul.”
Sourcing the stones, she tells us, is quite a tricky business and you need to be very attentive about it. “It depends on the gemstone as each one has a specific market and it’s best to source it from its country of origin if possible,” she says.
Historically, jewelry was worn mostly by aristocratic families and as a prime symbol of ritual and tradition. It was more customary to wear jewelry then. But in the 21st century, the major focus of it when worn is to reflect a style statement or a bit of one’s personality.

For women, buying jewelry isn’t just a fad. It’s something they feel emotionally attached to. So they look for extraordinary pieces that go well with their status quo. “I would say often times it’s that particular piece that speaks about her as a person, her personality, her style. This is what she wants to have for herself,” Dani says.  
And her jewelry is intended for women who are connoisseurs of fine works of art, and who would treasure as well as wear the pieces with the same passion she shows in creating them. It’s not surprising why. Dani doesn’t necessarily visualize a woman’s figure to design a piece – her emotion is enough to bring out the best in every creation. And for this reason, her magnificent creations are sought by women from the Middle East where the demand for such exquisite pieces is believed to be so high. As she explains, “Since mine is a new brand, I’m just getting started on my international business, but we had tremendous feedback from an event that we did in Abu Dhabi some years back with Moda Operandi. I believe that type of relationship sets the tone for great progress in the days to come.”
She also concurs that it’s quite important to showcase one’s creative work in high-profile exhibitions as it really has the right audience to appreciate all the hard work that has gone into the collection.
Her “Cadence” collection is inspired from aquatic plants, coral reef and the underwater world per say. “I tried to capture the fluidity and movement of the plants as they rhythmically sway along with water. Their vibrant colors (created with brightly-hued rhodium plating in blues, greens and purples) and movement also symbolize the essence of femininity,” she says.

In the meantime, Dani’s upcoming collection is dramatically different as it is all white – inspired by the ocean waves and splash. “I chose white to represent the calming rhythm of the sound of ocean waves, and a splashing wave is always poetic and romantic. The pieces are very detailed and minutely carved to bring out the wave effect and are further enhanced by white round rose cut diamonds,” she says.  
As to why she chose white all of a sudden, she put it this way, “I think the sequence of the underwater plant collection – so bright and colorful – followed by an all white, pristine ocean spray collection, is capturing how each one of us have a vibrant inner self and a composed personality on the outside. It’s a balance each woman strives for in her life.”
All in all, Dani’s relentless effort to add a regal touch to what she does best is proof that how much jewelry design means to her. “It’s a form of sublime expression for me and the wearer,” she says.