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November 05, 2015

To Bling Or Not To Bling?

Text by Nisha Jhangiani. Illustration by Ameesha Timbadia

A modern-day Sindhi ponders giving up her gold…

The modern-day Sindhi’s Golden Rules: Own a set of relatives across the globe, especially in Lagos, Hong Kong and London, but never fail to lament that your true Aryan blood stems from the erstwhile rich lands of Pakistan. Proudly proclaim how anglicised your community is in thought, language and hair colour, whilst simultaneously championing your diverse background that includes a smattering of Sikhism as well as Arabic script. And above all, worship diamonds or practically anything else that sparkles shamelessly.

With a heritage like that, there really was no hope for me. I grew up craving for cut and carat, although eventually I went the vintage way. Then, I lusted for jadau; from breaking down my great-grandmother’s century-old emeralds to fashion out contemporary bracelets and working tirelessly to design a mammoth polki necklace that I now can’t fathom actually wearing to any occasion, I’ve ‘blinged’ out many a time, big time.

My heart beats fastest for the lustre of gold. Funnily enough, pearls are making a big headway with me too – funny because I still remember shunning what I called the ‘dowdy’ appeal of these ‘inconsequential white beads’. Today, a South-Sea string is way up there on my wish list. Until that happens, I’m having quite a moment with my Miu Miu crystal ballerina which dances along a double string of ‘timeless, classic and elegant’ pearls, a find I totally owe to Kangana Ranaut, who wowed me at a dinner in Paris with her more audacious version.

But, back to gold. For example, on this humid afternoon, I am layered with a Kenzo tiger bracelet, a yellow gold and diamond bracelet, a couple of flea market finds and my two talismans – an ancient mangalsutra that has been cut to size to fit my wrist and a delicate evil-eye wrap from Istanbul. Solitaire studs (lined with yellow gold, naturally), a ‘Love’ pendant from Amrapali and a flapper-style fringe necklace from Delhi’s Second Floor Studio store are completing the look.

Back home, there are piles of boxes stocked with Eina Ahluwalia’s kirpan designs, Suhani Pittie’s floral shirt collar pin, a Dior haathphool,  Chloe’s pearl and gold square ring, Rachel Zoe cuffs and lariats, Anna Rivka headpieces and my favourite traditional 22-carat gold filigree jhumkas.

Maybe more than the Sindhi vibe, I’m really just channelling the innate sense of being Indian and embracing our historic love for adornment and beautifully crafted baubles.

Footnote: While vigorously typing out this article, I noticed that I have been systematically divesting myself off most of the jewels I was laden with (other than the talismans). Am I subconsciously clamouring for a minimalistic approach, slowly ridding myself from the hold of gold? Oh wait, the urge to slide the bits on has returned again. All is well.

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