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September 20, 2010

In Dazzling Company

Text By Nazneen Harianawala. Photographed By Fabien Charuau. Styling By Nirali Mehta. All Jewellery, By Renu Mehra. For Mahesh Notandass

Renu Mehra, glittering in the company of friends and fellow divas, speaks to Verve about the art and artistry of her jewellery, and what to look forward to in the bridal season

Less is more’ – it’s not exactly what you would think of when you meet a jewellery designer. But minimalist class is what you see in Renu Mehra’s lush home and personal style. On the afternoon of our photo-shoot, Mehra, regal in an Anamika Khanna sari accessorised with a choker from her own collection, was accompanied by Perizaad Zorabian, stunning diva of arthouse Bollywood and Sunaina Puri, the young and feisty fashion designer. The camera captured the carefree threesome getting dressed for a wedding. The mood was friendly, festive and spirited, as the three women giggled and joked with each other.

“I studied fashion in London, but moved to designing jewellery pieces, initially for myself. Both are forms of art – different, of course – but still similar.” It has been 11 years since Mehra started her own precious label. On being asked about her inspiration, she says without a pause, “My mum – I’ve grown up watching her wear some fabulous pieces. I’ve always loved jewellery, but my flair comes from my mum.” Her most cherished moment was when one of the heads of Bulgari complimented her on a pair of pearl jhumka earrings that she had worn to a party. Mehra believes in being different and takes pride in the fact that it was she who introduced India to corals and turquoise, when she launched her first collection. Her association with Mahesh Notandas, four and a half years ago, gave her the platform to be a jewellery artist; even today her pieces are exclusively sold at his store in Bandra.

She is partial to emeralds but also likes to work with other stones. Her love for the exotic and rare takes her to places like Bangkok, Hong Kong and Jaipur, where she sources mother-of-pearl, carved jade and many more such rocks. In her next collection, to be launched before Diwali this year, she is introducing multi-coloured diamonds in her pieces. An assortment of ornaments in rubies, emeralds, diamonds and pearls will be exhibited as well. Her All Rose Cut collection set in rose-cut diamonds is elegant and luxurious, reflecting her strong belief in minimalism. With the wedding season around the corner, her advice for brides-to-be is, “I don’t believe in overdressing. On the main day, the bride can wear a large necklace, maybe go without earrings but instead, put on a stunning maang tikka and finish the look with loads of bangles. She can wear really long or voluminous earrings or my triple layered diamond jhumkas for the sangeet. Coral is a material that I love to use; a huge choker set in coral would look stunning at a wedding. Even a red lehnga with a turquoise necklace would look fabulous, but normally, Indian brides don’t like to experiment. I feel India still hasn’t developed that kind of understanding of jewellery.”

Perhaps it is time for a radical change. It is the season to mix and match, so for your special day, try out one of Renu Mehra’s unconventional combinations and make a sweeping statement.

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