THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For 31-year-old designer Preethy Vaidya, jewellery is both a passion and a dream, and something she couldn’t have learnt in a college. The Master of Arts graduate began dabbling with jewellery using base metal and clay, before graduating to selling handmade fashion jewellery back in the US, where she is based, in 2015. “Obviously the competition is from the Chinese makers, who have innovative designs, but I have found that people back in the US love jewellery that is handmade. So, I exhibited at a few trunk shows and pop-ups, and my designs really worked well with the crowd there,” begins New York-based jewellery designer.
It was important for the Kochi-born artiste to stay true to her roots, which is why when she started off her label, she also chose to collaborate with Indian designers. “One of the first designers I
collaborated with was Ambika Pillai, and the collection was a huge hit both back in the US and in India,” she shares. Aware that she needed to step up her game, Preethy says she spent about eight months in Jaipur, learning to make jewellery from local artisans. “There is only so much research you can do online, and coming to Rajasthan to get some hands-on experience was one of the most educative experiences I’ve had.
I set up a manufacturing unit in Chennai after that, where most of my orders are made to order,” says Preethy, who is currently in India, travelling with her latest collection to various cities including Mumbai.
Her latest collection, titled Passo, Preethy informs us, is inspired by footprints. “Symbolically, it represents leaving a mark behind. We were looking for something inspirational and we realised that we wanted to leave a mark behind that the world follows — something creative, out of the box. We also believe in pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones and creative boundaries, and Passo stands for moving forward as well,” she elaborates.
Expect earrings, ear cuffs and neck pieces in traditional and contemporary designs, crafted in base metal and finished with 18k gold plating.
“Our stones include ruby, onyx and other semi-precious gems, which we source largely from Jaipur, and China,” she says.
She added that she is working on her next collection which should be out by February next year.
`1,600 onwards. Available online.